William Rivera has assumed the duties of Community Board 9 district manager, rising through the ranks, first as a board member, then the board’s chairman and now the individual in charge of running the board’s day-to-day operations.
A recent vote by board members confirmed Rivera as the new district manager, and perhaps the youngest in the city, at only 32-years old.
“I am happy to serve all the board members who want me here as district manager,” said Rivera, adding “I have some big shoes to fill.”
The new district manager said that in his personal opinion, his experience as a CB 9 board member since 2011, and as a chairman when he and other members initiated reforms and founded a planning committee, put him over the top in terms of being selected for the job by his peers.
“Chairpersons are in a leadership role already, and if the board members trust you and elect you as chair, it is not uncommon to apply and maybe become district manager,” said Rivera.
He cited Councilman James Vacca, who began as board chairman and was subsequently elected district manager of CB 10, as another example of this dynamic. He said he hopes to follow Vacca’s example.
Rivera was born and raised in the district, calling it home for his entire lifetime, he said.
Prior to serving as a board member, Rivera had a career with the Fire Department’s Emergency Medical Service, doing ambulance runs to Jacobi Medical Center from the board’s service area.
This helped give him an extensive knowledge of the area, he indicated.
“If you give me your address, I can tell you the cross streets and the side of the street you live on,” he said.
In the course of his FDNY career, which he began when he was 18, Rivera also worked with specialized EMS units in Manhattan that responded to major incidents, he said.
He is an NYPD Auxiliary Police Sergeant volunteering at Transit District 12 on Morris Park Avenue and East 180th Street, patrolling the IRT 2, 5 and 6 lines.
Civic engagement began early for Rivera, he added, saying that as a youth he was a Cub Scout, Boy Scout and NYPD Youth Explorer.
Rivera began work on Monday, June 15, and is currently overseeing a renovation of the board’s district office at 1967 Turnball Avenue. The new office will help the board function better, he stated.
The most pressing needs in the district include dealing with crime, specifically an increase in shootings, he said.
He will be working closely with the 43rd Precinct, and has met with its new commanding officer, he added.
He also said that he wants to tackle youth crime.
Crime certainly affects everything, he said, but development is also likely to change the board in the coming years.
This includes the development of affordable housing, the possible construction of the largest film studio on the east coast and instances where commercial spaces are being redeveloped with some push back from the community.
“We want it to be smart growth,” said Rivera of the development, adding that he wants the board members to be able to make smart, well-informed decisions.
But whatever the challenge, the district manager seems proud that he has been chosen to serve CB 9 in this role.
“You don’t work a day in your life if you love what you are doing,” he said of his new position.
Rivera replaces former CB 9 district manager Francisco Gonzalez, who served more than two decades.