In a unanimous vote, Community Board 11 approved a new district manager to replace John Fratta, who retires at the end of January.
Starting on February 1, 2011, Jeremy Warneke, who beat out at least 30 applicants vying for the position, will take over the post after being approved in a full-board vote on Thursday, December 16.
He replaces Fratta, who served for 15 years as district manager. Warneke, a staff member of Councilman Jimmy Vacca, is a Pelham Parkway resident. He served in the U.S. Army in Iraq and learned about the needs of the communities and the board under the tutelage of Vacca, who was district manager at Community Board 10 for 26 years.
Fratta will stay on as Warneke eases into his new job, board members said. Warneke said that he believes he has been preparing for the job for his entire life, working in the service of others even before he joined Vacca’s staff in February 2008 as a constituent aide.
He eventually became Vacca’s district manager. He got to know most of the board by attending community association meetings in CB 11, including the Morris Park Community Association, Pelham Parkway South Neighborhood Association, the Chester Civic Improvement Association, and many others, Warneke said.
“I always felt that I had a good shot at the job, because I know most of the board and have a good or great relationship with most of the members, including all those I have come to know,” Warneke said. “That includes knowing about their community problems.”
Joining Vacca’s staff after graduating from Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, N.Y. and working briefly on the presidential bid of U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton, Warneke has developed an extensive list of contacts in city agencies, including the N.Y.P.D., Department of Environmental Protection, and Department of Finance. He has assisted constituents, many in CB 11, on issues including taxes, traffic control issues, and department of buildings concerns. He also diligently works to report graffiti and other quality-of-life concerns to the proper city agencies, he said.
Warneke is a tenacious fighter for the community, said Al D’Angelo, MPCA president. D’Angelo also said that Warneke also has youth on his side. Warneke is 30.
“I think he will bring an exuberance to the job, because he is young.” D’Angelo said. “He does not lie down; he is a tenacious fighter. John Fratta will be around a while longer, and he will learn a lot from John.”
He was described as a “common sense” appointment by Van Nest and Morris Park community leader Joe Bombace. Bombace voiced his complete support.
“I wanted someone who was young, aggressive, and already in government,” Bombace said. “Jeremy is all three. I am going to be walking behind him, alongside him, and in front of him.”
Joe Thompson, who was on the selection committee, has worked with Warneke on providing aid to families burned out of a Pelham Parkway building and on securing abandoned buildings. Thompson said he was impressed by his work at Councilman Vacca’s office.
“He is a hard working and diligent person who has a lot to offer,” Thompson said. “I think his military background put him a step above many of the other choices.”
Before the official vote approving Warneke, Fratta was honored by the board with a cake in recognition of his years of service. He and CB 11 chairman Dom Castore have a father and son type of relationship, board members said. Bombace said the addition of Warneke will be like adding a grandson.