Community Board 10 selected a seasoned veteran board member to serve as its new chairperson.
Joseph Russo of Spencer Estate and a member of the board for over two decades, was elected the new chairman of CB 10 by a wide margin in a three-person race at the general monthly board meeting on Thursday, June 20.
Russo, who in 20 plus years on the board headed up CB 10’s Youth Services Municipal Services committees, said he is focused on continuity rather than large changes. He plans to follow in the footsteps of previous effective chairpeople that have categorized the board, he said.
“You look at things, try to make improvements and leave it in good hands by being a good steward,” said Russo when asked about his own leadership philosophy. He compared the task ahead to that of being a committee chairman, but on a larger scale.
“It is always a fluid situation,” said Russo of the issues the board faces, adding that there is never a point where you have a total victory in terms of the community board’s priorities.
Each success is followed by another challenge or hurdle to overcome, he said.
Russo said that CB 10’s board members know a great deal about their communities and are very passionate in seeing them improve.
He said that he joined the community board because he saw the volunteer opportunity as a vital part of the process that ensured that the community remained strong, he said.
“I have always been involved in what is going on in the community,” said Russo. Early on in his tenure on the community board he chaired the youth committee in part because he and his wife of 27 years, Lucia, were raising three daughters.
He said that when he was chairman of CB 10’s Youth Services committee, he rotated the monthly meetings to different locations throughout the board.
Russo’s been active with the Spencer Estate Civic Association and the Our Lady of Assumption School Parent Guild over the years
Russo originally lived on Edison Avenue but spent a great deal of his formative years living in Country Club/Spencer Estate.
His parents still reside in the community and one of the challenges, which he believes CB 10 can address, is its aging population.
Other challenges upcoming in the board’s service area – which includes Co-op City, City Island, Pelham Bay, Country Club, Spencer Estate, Waterbury-LaSalle, Throggs Neck, Westchester Square and Zerega – include road projects slated for Shore Road, Interstate 95, Westchester Avenue and the Unionport Bridge.
The chairman acknowledged that there will be pain during the construction phase, and the board should be there to alleviate that pain or serve as a resource. He believes that when the construction projects are done, the finished products will be an asset to the community.
A primary concern of the board is the onslaught of substance abuse rehabilitation facilities attempting to locate in the community board, said Russo.
Russo, an insurance broker for very large construction projects, said he will use some of his business negotiating skills – in terms of handling competing interests, making compromises and finding solutions – at the community board.
Russo will serve an 18-month term.