Civic leaders from across the Bronx are mourning the loss of one of their own who passed away much too soon.
Andrew Sandler, the district manager for Community Board 7, died Saturday, August 5, after a long bout with an unspecified cancer. He was 31 years old.
Sandler was hired to lead CB 7 in January of 2016 but had been absent for much of the time due to an unspecified probationary issue and later the debilitating effects of his illness.
He returned to work briefly in June before he was forced to leave again as his illness progressed.
“Community Board 7 is very saddened by the premature death of Andrew Sandler. Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers go out to his family during this very difficult time,” said CB 7 chairwoman Adaline Walker-Santiago.
Sadler was remembered Monday at a memorial ceremony at Riverdale Temple in the part of the Bronx where he got his start.
A lifelong Bronx resident, Sandler attended Manhattan College and interned with Congressman Elliot Engel.
He was then hired by Councilman Oliver Koppell to oversee community affairs.
Koppell said Sandler could be tough with city officials, but was always fighting in the best interest of his constituents.
He recalled issues with The Majestic apartment building on Waldo Avenue where the landlord was not properly maintaining the building and letting drug dealers live there.
“He actually managed to get the city to have a receiver appointed instead of the landlord, and eventually the landlord was under such pressure he sold the building,” Koppell said.
Sandler also fought tirelessly when the Riverdale Temple needed to get a new permit to renovate its kitchen after the old permit became invalid, he added.
“It was a tremendous battle with the city, the building department as well as the fire department and Con Edison,” Koppell said. “He worked on that for many, many months, maybe a year. Finally, working with an architect and a plumber, we were finally able to get the kitchen certified. I helped, but it was mostly Andrew’s work.”
Fellow district manager George Torres of Community Board 12 was among those who attended Sandler’s memorial services.
He recalled the kitchen debacle Koppell spoke of from his time working in the NYC Department of Buildings.
“That was probably the beginning of our relationship working together – he was relentless,” Torres said. “He was never nasty to anybody, but he was relentless and a good guy and I think the Bronx lost a great public servant.”
When Koppell was replaced by current Councilman Andrew Cohen, Sandler stayed on with the new councilmember to help with the transition. Cohen also recalled Sandler fondly.
“The Bronx lost one of its most dedicated public servants with the passing of Andrew Sandler,” Cohen said. “Andrew touched so many lives in our community and he will be sorely missed.”
CB 7 will begin interviewing candidates to fill the position in the coming weeks, Santiago-Walker said.