Kenneth Kearns, the longtime Community Board 10 district manager, has resigned. He replaced James Vacca.
The embattled but affable district manager, who served for over a decade, resigned amid what board members described as an increasingly contentious climate among the members and the community.
Martin Prince, CB 10 chairman, read a resignation letter from Kearns at a hearing on Monday, June 27.
The brief letter had a conciliatory tone and expressed thanks, according to CB 10 members present.
The chairman and the district manager had meet earlier that day to discuss options for the future, said Prince.
“I think for the board we need to make some changes and go in another direction in terms of interaction with the community and the way we run our office,” said Prince, adding that he believes criticism from the board contributed to Kearns’ decision.
Kearns will remain on the job until Saturday, September 3, he said. The vacancy period will stretch into the spring of 2017 because of Kearn’s accrued vacation time.
Prince said he appreciates the service Kearns has given to the board, and praised the outgoing district manager.
Kearns’ replacement should be proactive in heading off potentially confrontational situations, technologically savvy and a strong communicator who can get out into the community with energy.
“Lack of communication is a real issue for the board,” said the chairman.
Lewis Goldstein, a CB 10 member who resigned after 46 years of service on community boards, said that over recent months bickering and disputes among the members has become more evident through text, social media and email postings.
Goldstein sees Kearns as someone who tried to bring people together and whom he believes was forced out of his position.
“I am not optimistic as to what is going to happen with this community board,” said Goldstein, adding that a sense of cohesion is lacking and the current situation is the worst he has encountered in all his years of community board service.
Outgoing CB 10 member Annie Boller said that during her two years on the board Kearns had been helpful and that she found him extremely intelligent.
“Any time I had a question he was always quick to answer,” she said. Other board members had told her that they had difficulty obtaining documents from Kearns.
There was also a miscommunication about CB 10’s intentions regarding a liquor license for an East Tremont Avenue restaurant called Casa, said Boller, which some board members felt Kearns handled poorly.
According to a document supplied to the Bronx Times, a March 4, 2015 letter written by Kearns to the State Liquor Authority on CB 10 letterhead, Kearns stated that the board lacked a quorum and was unable to vote on the liquor license for the establishment at its February 2015 full board meeting.
According to Boller and other board members, the board had voted to disapprove the liquor license for this particular establishment.
Boller said that during a subsequent board meeting Kearns acknowledged his mistake and apologized.
At a recent meeting, a board member requested that a clarification be sent to the SLA about the mistake made in the March 4, 2015 letter signed by Kearns.
Kearns was not available for comment before this story went to press.