Live From Community Board 1: Our District Manager Speaks
Filed under: 11211, 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic, Williamsburg, Williamsburg Brooklyn
Some of you might recall last month I posted a letter from a concerned parks user about the deteriorating conditions at McGolrick Park. Well, I have some good news on that front: this individual will be meeting with our Parks Supervisor— among others— to discuss the matter in person.
And now the bad news: in the process of making this happen she received a less than helpful response from our local Community Board. More specifically: its District Manager. She was informed that while she was welcome to attend the Parks & Waterfront Committee meeting to “observe”, alas she could not speak. This matter was brought to the table by a Community Board member (and Parks and Waterfront Committee member, it should be noted) during last night’s proceedings. What she got in the way of an answer from Gerry Esposito and the Chair of the Parks & Waterfront Committee is rather interesting. Watch for yourself. Hearing is believing!
As you can imagine yours truly found what Manager Esposito had to say quite interesting. Especially in light of the following piece of correspondence from his office…
and what the charter granted to Community Boards by our fair city has to say about the matter of public speaking segments at board meetings.
Perhaps you are not troubled by this, gentle readers. You should be. Here’s the deal:
- First, I and many others in attendance last night found Mr. Esposito’s conduct juvenile, arrogant and of questionable veracity. Is this how a public servant should deport himself?
- Secondly, I found Mr. Esposito’s stating that the person in question should take the matter up with OSA (Open Space Alliance) curious. OSA is a parks advocacy group. While OSA’s Executive Director, Stephanie Thayer, is in fact also our Parks Supervisor; the matters outlined by the woman in question are Parks Department matters, not those of advocacy.
- Is it not the role of Community Boards to be an advocate for the community they serve? If, for example, an issue between a citizen and a municipal agency (let’s say the Parks Department) is not being resolved to said citizen’s satisfaction, is it not the board’s job to “lend an ear” and moderate a dialogue so the matter can be resolved? Merely referring the citizen (back) to the Parks Department (for example, once again) is ludicrous.
- We as a citizens have a right to speak at any and all public meetings conducted by the Community Board. This is why they are called “public meetings” in the first place.
We are all adults here, folks. I and many of my fellow constituents of Community Board 1 neither need nor desire someone to be our “mommy and daddy”. We simply want our civil servants to do their job and follow the rules. Is this too much to ask? If the conduct of Community Board 1’s General Manager and Parks & Waterfront Chair last night is any indication, I’d say the answer is “yes”. Last night Mr. Esposito opined:
…as like everything else online, it was inaccurate…
In the clarity that is hindsight (and after a cursory review of Community Board 1’s web site), I have to confess he might just be onto something!