Community Board 6 district manager Ivine Galarza is set to retire from the board after nearly 21 years of service.
According to CB 6, Friday, July 29 marks her official last day as the board’s district manager.
Originally from Puerto Rico, Galarza and her family emigrated to America in the early 1950s and settled down on Boston Road in the Bronx.
Galarza graduated from Lehman College earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1972.
Following college, Galarza embarked on her governmental career serving as liaison to community boards 4, 5, 7 and 8 during former borough president Stanley Simon’s administration.
After working for the borough president, she founded and served as executive director for the now defunct non-profit housing organization, the Housing Workshop from 1985 to 1995 where she implemented a program providing legal representation to low-income tenants in housing court and formed a housing education program added to all public school’s across community school districts 10 and 12’s curriculum.
Appointed CB 6’s district manager in 1995, Galarza has since demonstrated excellent leadership and commitment toward improving the community and residents’ lives throughout her career.
As district manager, her responsibility was to observe and make recommendations ensuring city services and programs were delivered in a timely and sufficient manner to the community.
She also served as an arbitrator to NYC municipal agencies and elected officials while advising the community board on the city’s capital and expense budget.
Since the late 1990s, Galarza has worked closely with the families of the victims of the Happy Land Social Club Fire by organizing an annual Mass at St. Thomas Aquinas Church and a vigil at the Plaza of the Eighty-Seven to remember the 87 victims who perished in one of New York’s worst tragedies.
“A lot of the families didn’t know each other, but they became bonded through this terrible tragedy,” said Galarza.
To ensure this tragedy is never repeated, Galarza led the effort to have domestic violence and fire prevention forums for the community and to have the FDNY properly inspect local bars. She noted the district does not house any nightclubs following the Happy Land incident.
“She’s an excellent worker and professional,” said Wendy Rodriguez, CB 6 chairwoman, adding. “Whenever there’s an issue in the community, she will not stop until it is resolved.”
A retirement Mass and reception event were held for Galarza on Wednesday, June 29 at St. Thomas Aquinas Church and St. Thomas Aquinas School.
In recognition of her many years of service to the borough, Galarza received proclamations from Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr.; Councilman Ritchie Torres and 78th Assembly District State Committeeman Kenny Agosto representing outgoing Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson.
The Throggs Neck resident was also awarded a citation from the NYS Assembly by Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda and a commendation from Ashley Torres representing NYC Comptroller Stringer.
Galarza has received many accolades over these two decades most notably being named as the 2012 Woman of Distinction by Senator Hassell-Thompson.
Upon her retirement, Galarza said she intends to continue working with her parish, St. Thomas Aquinas Church by teaching English as a second language classes and introducing workshops to explain to recently arrived immigrants how the government operates and the services available.
Galarza’s successor has not yet been named.