Community Board 7 hired its fifth district manager in five years.
On Tuesday, December 19, the board voted 16 to 3 with nine abstentions to approve Ischia Bravo as its latest district manager.
However, her hiring came with some controversy.
“I’m happy that people are aware there’s a change in the district manager position and that there’s someone here now,” said Bravo, who has been an on and off member of the community board.
“I think the [board] backlash wasn’t so much against me. I think they had had an issue with what they assumed is a lack of transparency [in the process to select new district manager],” she rationalized.
According to one CB 7 member, the process for selecting the district manager was the exclusive responsibility of the executive committee of the board. It picked the final applicant, though some members of that committee were excluded from the process this time around.
However other board members had a different take on the DM voting process. The way the process is supposed to run is once resumes for the position are received, the search committee picks the top five candidates and then rates them after they are interviewed, according to one member.
From that group, two are selected to go before the executive committee, which is comprised of the chairs of all the board committees, who then selects a finalist, that is presented before the board for an up or down vote, according to the member.
“I think the abstentions were more upset about what they consider a non-transparent process versus me. These board members didn’t know me,” Bravo explained.
“It’s not the full board that gets to weigh in on the finalists for DM and I think they had an issue with that. Mostly new members [of the board] and rightfully so. I think that the process needs to be thoroughly explained before these things happen so they can be aware,” Bravo said.
Bravo was born and raised in the Kingsbridge area where she currently still resides.
In 2016 she ran a failed Democratic Party primary race for NYS assembly against Assemblyman Jose Rivera.
But her career in politics extends much further back, which raised some concern over her hiring, as it presented a conflict of interest to some because the staff of elected officials are not allowed to serve on community boards.
“I served on the board, [but] not consecutively [because of different professions positions I previously held], for a period of 6 to 8 years, possibly more.”
Bravo’s resume included a stint as executive director of the Bronx Democratic County Committee, the chief of staff for Senator Jose Serrano and a member of the 52nd Precinct’s Community Council.
“I know this community like the back of my hand. I’m honored and humbled to serve as the new district manager of the community board. Being in board 7 will give me the opportunity to continue serving the community because public service is very important to me,” Bravo added.
“My focus now is the board, its members and the agenda and to move forward. It’s nothing political. This is strictly community, rolling up my sleeves, and putting in the work.”
Her relationship with different local and government individuals and agencies, Bravo said, can help advance some of the community board’s agenda.
“I’m looking forward to working with the new DM and we’ll all be working to serve the community the best way we can,” said Adaline Walker Santiago, chair of CB 7. “She’s been on the board twice before and I know her. I’m pretty sure that she’ll step up to the plate and do a good job.”
Bravo replaces Andrew Sandler, who passed away August 2017 from cancer.
She will begin officially as the new district manager at the end of January.