An ongoing feud between a northwest Bronx community board and its district manager ended in a victory for him – for now – after the board failed to get enough votes to fire him.
It truly was a dark and stormy night Monday, Sept. 18 when members of Community Board 7 braved heavy rains to attend its monthly meeting at the Bronx Library Center in Kingsbridge.
District manager Fernando Tirado, who survived a similar outster vote in June before the board’s summer break, once again survived an ouster after members voted 15 to 10, with three abstensions to keep him.
Tirado, whose board covers Kingsbridge, Bedford Park, University Heights and Fordham, dealt with a string of criticisms from the board chairman and some members on a number of issues stretching back to last year.
Some board members who back Tirado, have called him a creative leader. But others saw him a rogue, who ignored the board’s requests on certain issues.
In documents obtained by The Bronx Times, board chairman Paul Foster sent Tirado a July “final warning” letter on his work performance.
Foster blasted Tirado for his alleged lack of communication, behavior and for talking out of turn to the media.
In one example, Foster alleges Tirado mishandled a $15,000 grant meant for community projects in 2011 that resulted in the board losing the grant.
Tirado recently responded to Foster’s letter calling the mishandling of funds a “fabrication.”
The funds, Tirado explained, had to be used that fiscal year. But Foster rescinded the contract “due to his understanding” he wrote, from City Councilman Fernando Cabrera’s chief of staff “that this money could be rolled over into the next fiscal year.” They could not.
Tirado concluded in the letter that he has always followed community board rules.
Board loyalties divided, forcing a rift between Tirado loyalists and a board faction that wanted him out.
CB7’s sole order of business was whether to keep Tirado as district manager.
His chances of staying at his post appeared grim in June. Just before the summer break, members voted 13 to seven in favor of relieving Tirado of his DM duties.
But the meeting was a closed-door session, violating City Charter rules stating personnel decisions must be publicly voted on.
Tirado’s victory comes as developers compete to revitalize the long-vacant Kingsbridge Armory.
The board has not officially supported either of the two projects vying for approval by the New York City Economic Development Corporation.
But Tirado’s near firing could be a wake-up call for him, said a source close to the board.
“You hit the reset button to see if you can do things differently.”
Tirado isn’t the only embattled district manager in the borough.
The job of longtime Soundview Community Board 9 district manager Francisco Gonzalez is in jeopardy right now after Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. removed a large chunk of members supportive of Gonzalez.
Among the ousted members was longtime chairman Al Heyward, who believes he and fourteen others were axed after questioning a proposal to build a Soundview complex at an empty parking lot.
Reach reporter David Cruz at 718-742-3383.
David Cruz can be reach via e-mail at DCruz@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3383