Report: Community Boards Citywide Resisting Mandated Return to In-Person Meetings

Posted on: August 23rd, 2021 at 5:03 am by

Community Board 3 Zoom meeting, June 2021

There is a mutiny of sorts forming among leaders of the city’s 59 community boards regarding a mandate that in-person meetings resume next month. Some chairs are even vocalizing plans to defy state law to keep sessions online and COVID-safe.

After Governor Cuomo suspended in-person government meetings last year as part of his coronavirus state of emergency declaration, community boards migrated to internet video platforms such as Webex and Zoom to keep the process alive. It enabled the public at large to attend meetings from the comforts of home, without having to slog to some dimly-lit community room.

Once vaccination made such congregating safer (or so we thought), the state lifted the emergency order on June 24. Community boards were again required to follow the state’s open meetings law, which mandates public access to the physical premises of an official gathering.

Which brings us to the revolt.

With the return of full-time board meetings in September following summer break, many board members, all of whom are volunteers, are pleading with city and state officials to extend the online meetings. Citing the increased risks of in-person gathering.

Indeed, the risk is real. Two members of Community Board 2 – who were fully vaccinated – tested positive for COVID-19 days after the full board meeting in July. Board chair, Jeannine Kiely, revealed that info to Cuomo in an August 2 letter.

According to a report in THE CITY, all but one of Manhattan’s 12 community board chairs signed a letter to Cuomo, calling the open meetings law “antiquated” and requesting the governor work with the legislature to allow boards and other public bodies to continue to meet remotely.

Recent Stories

One Year Later, ‘Fiore Escape’ COVID Sessions Still Captivate

One year after first captivating passersby at Essex and Grand Streets, the free fire escape concert series is back for another. Indeed, musician Jill Fiore will perform anew from the second floor of her Essex Street tenement (above Delancey Car Service). The next so-called “Fiore Escape” show is slated for October 15, as announced on […]

Parks Department Installs Fence at Allen Mall Bathhouse in Response to Nadja Rose Madder

The Parks Department is upping the ante on deterring a homeless artist from painting and gathering at the Allen Street Bathhouse. Earlier this week, the city began assembling an eight-foot chain-link enclosure to (partially) fence in the sidewalk plaza. It is on this spot that transgender artist Nadja Rose Madder has been transforming the brickwork […]

Extell Residents in Cherry Street Tower Bark Foul Over Abundance of Dogs Despite No Pet Policy

Residents of Extell’s “affordable tower” at 227 Cherry Street are barking foul over the proliferation of pitbulls, despite the no-pet policy. We are told by current tenants that leases contain a strict stipulation prohibiting pets in apartments, and that management (Wavecrest) seems deaf and/or slow to act about the apparent violations. By some estimates, there […]

Aggro Panhandler Hurls Brick at Pickle Guys Worker in Brutal Attack

An aggro panhandler outside Pickle Guys on Grand Street attacked an employee after he was asked to move away from the store entrance, cops said. The suspect had been aggressively begging at around 8:20am last Wednesday when the 63-year-old worker told him to disperse. That didn’t sit well; the pugilist picked up a nearby chair […]

Educational Alliance Executive Becomes New Head of Manhattan JCC

From the Lower East Side to the Upper West Side. Rabbi Joanna Samuels, the sitting executive director of the Manny Cantor Center at the Educational Alliance, is set to become the new chief executive director of the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan. Her new gig begins early next year, marking a significant transition at one of […]