If the last time they ran against each other is any indication, the Community Board 12 chairwoman race between incumbent Jacqueline Boyce and Education Committee leader Adrienne Adams is going to be a tough call.
In May 2011, only one vote separated the two women. Boyce garnered 14 to Adams’ 13. Some board members felt that Adams should have campaigned more, while others said it was her excellent job as Education Committee chairwoman that did her in. Voters didn’t want to see her vacate that position.
“I am very flattered that people love the job I’m doing as education chair,” Adams said. “It makes me feel terrific. It has given me so much, but I would like to continue that work in a broader way. Education is always going to be my passion.”
The election, which is to be held at the Dec. 12 CB 12 meeting, is already off to a rocky start. Adams said at the November meeting an argument broke out when Boyce initially refused to take nominations from the floor, without an explanation.
“There were nominations from the floor and the chairwoman objected,” Adams said. “It got ugly. I don’t know what the objection was about.”
Boyce told the Chronicle on Tuesday that it was because the body’s bylaws state that nominations are to be accepted during the last meeting of the year. But the disagreement could be seen as symbolic of the direction the board has been going in since Boyce took over. Though her theme has, and continues to be, unity in the community, the body just doesn’t seem to be following that path — and different interpretations of the bylaws have often been a factor.
In April, for example, there was a blowout during the general board meeting, with nonstop bickering when Boyce suggested changing the body’s bylaws, after forming a committee to examine them, without giving all board members an opportunity to join. It got so out of hand that in the weeks following the meeting, Boyce was summoned to Borough Hall to discuss what happened.
Keeping the agenda on schedule and ending meetings on time also became a problem for Boyce for a few months. She appointed board member Glenn Greenidge as timekeeper, to help move things along more smoothly, but neglected to announce that he had been given the position — one that had not existed previously. He just appeared in the seat formerly occupied by parliamentarian Herlema Owens, who had resigned at the prior meeting.
When it comes to what Boyce’s vision for the board will be if she is re-elected, the CB 12 leader was unwilling to say.
“I’m not going to share my plan at this particular time,” Boyce said. “I’m going to continue doing what I have been doing. I think we need to work together as a community and support each other.”
Adams, meanwhile, only spoke about her agenda in a very general way.
“There should be a focus on the urgent concerns affecting the community,” Adams said. “We need healthcare. There are no hospitals in CB 12. There are many public safety and quality-of-life issues. We need to look at education — resources, testing, school closures — among other things.”
Both women have plenty of experience in civic affairs and community service.
Boyce has been a member of CB 12 for nearly two decades, serves as a Democratic district leader, and is chairwoman of the J-CAP social service agency, executive member of the Elmer H. Blackburne Regular Democratic Club, a member of the National Council of Negro Women for 30 years and a lifetime member of the NAACP.
Boyce was CB 12’s first vice chairwoman and stepped in as interim chairwoman when City Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans) decided against reappointing Adjoa Gzifa to the board in 2011.
Adams got her seat on the panel three years ago. She is an executive committee member of the Jamaica branch of the NAACP and the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, serving as cochairwoman of its scholarship committee. She has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Spellman College and is an award-winning member of the Toastmasters International public speaking club.
“I wish I had a crystal ball, but I have learned in my quest for elected positions with this board to not second-guess what they do and respect their choices,” Adams said. “Even if I don’t win, I’ll definitely stay on the board.”
Also competing at the December meeting for a seat on the executive board are C. Princess Thorbs and Billy Mitchell, who are both seeking the position of second vice chairperson.