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Shake up on Bronx community boards

Bronx Times
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More than 100 new people have been appointed to the Bronx’s 12 community boards, but many old-timers remain, despite a push by the Council for term limits at the lowest level of government.

Some council members are pushing community boards — locals’ first line of defense on issues such as land use and littering — to adopt term limits to change membership more often, but other borough officials are crowing that the changes they’ve already made this year are enough.

Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.’s office is touting the 106 fresh faces it appointed this summer to the local boards, made up of community volunteers who meet monthly to get the first say on city land-use changes such as new bike lanes and housing developments.

Half of the Bronx’s 12 community boards now have at least 10 new members — and all but two boards have at least five new volunteers joining the team.

The changes come months after a Council resolution urged boards citywide to adopt a 10-year term limit and involve an independent screening panel, among other changes aimed at refreshing membership more often to better reflect changing nabes.

But borough officials say they’ve got the process covered.

“The idea that we aren’t appointing new people to community boards is simply not true,” said John DeSio, the Beep’s communications director.

One east Bronx board, however, is staying basically the same this time around. Just one new member — Michael Rivadeneyra — was appointed this year to Community Board 11, which covers an area including Morris Park, Van Nest, and Pelham Parkway.

The board includes the city’s longest tenured board member, Ruth Burko, who was appointed to the board in 1963.

But the board’s chairman stressed that the volunteers still back up the community even in their golden years.

“Ruth is still sharp,” said Tony Vitaliano. “We’ve got some elderly people, but I’ll tell you what, they contribute, they show up every month and they voice their opinions.”

The raw numbers, from the Beep’s office:

CB1 (Mott Haven, Port Morris, Melrose): 13 reappointed, 10 new members

CB2 (Hunts Point, Longwood): 10 reappointed, 10 new members

CB3 (Crotona Park, Morrisania): 17 reappointed, 10 new members

CB4 (Highbridge, Concourse): 14 reappointed, 12 new members

CB5 (Fordham, University Heights): 12 reappointments and 10 new members

CB6 (West Farms, Belmont): 11 reappointments and 6 new members

CB7 (Norwood, Bedford Park): 18 reappointments and 18 new members

CB8 (Riverdale): 19 reappointments and six new members

CB9 (Parkchester, Soundview): 10 reappointments and nine new members

CB10 (Throggs Neck, Pelham Bay, Country Club, City Island): 18 reappointments and seven new members

CB11 (Morris Park, Van Nest, Pelham Parkway): 22 reappointments and one new member

CB12 (North Bronx): 21 reappointments and four new member

Posted 12:00 am, June 21, 2014
Reach Reporter Ben Kochman at (718) 742–3394. E-mail him at bkochman@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @benkochman.
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