Maurice Muir, a longtime Community Board 12 member slammed for his poor attendance record, but still elected third vice chairman last month, missed the group’s very next meeting, leaving some to question his commitment to the new post.
“That’s Maurice. That’s his modus operandi,” said Adjoa Gzifa, three-term immediate past chairwoman of CB 12. “He’s been getting away with it, and he’s going to continue to get away with it because they have never reined him in on his attendance. Why would he change now?”
Gzifa said she heard Muir was out of town and that’s why he missed the last meeting held March 21, but she said that as an elected officer, he should have made it his business to be there. “It’s the first meeting after you get elected, and you don’t show up?” she said. “Come on.”
“It was absolutely predictable, given the history of his poor attendance,” a current board member, who asked to remain anonymous, said of Muir’s latest absence.
Muir defeated Education Committee Chairwoman Adrienne Adams in a special run-off election held at the board’s monthly meeting on Feb. 15 by a vote of 16-13.
“I believe it was an injustice that she didn’t win,” said Pamela Hazel, a Jamaica community activist, who attends CB 12 meeting regularly. “She was definitely the better person for the position. She always attends the meetings and gives us good information.”
There were also those who defended Muir and did not want focus placed on his attendance record. “Why don’t you let that die? Why are you making it into an issue?” asked Cardinal Sandiford, chairman of the Land Use Committee of which Muir is a member. “He is available when we need him, and many evenings he goes to night court. I don’t imagine he has control over that.”
In her pre-election speech Adams harshly criticized Muir for what she considered his lackluster participation in community issues. “If [he] won’t come out to our meetings as a general member — how could [he] be trusted to come out, to be present as an officer?” Adams warned.
She attended all 10 CB 12 meetings last year while Muir was present only half the time, according to the Borough President’s Office.
Muir, of Jamaica, did not returns calls inquiring about why he didn’t show up. He has been a member of CB 12 for 10 years and also serves the community as senior attorney for Queens Legal Services Corp., specializing in landlord-tenant disputes, real estate litigation and foreclosure prevention.
City Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans), who appoints half of CB 12’s members, praised Muir for his contributions to the community through his legal work. Comrie added that all the meetings Muir missed last year were excused absences. “There are many evenings when he is doing outreach and community presentations,” Comrie said.
CB 12 District Manager Yvonne Reddick said Tuesday that Muir had a reasonable excuse for missing the meeting — an emergency that forced him to leave town, and she said the community is facing many problems, bigger than Muir’s attendance. And she advised those with concerns about Muir to contact the board’s chairwoman, Jacqueline Boyce, but Boyce did not return calls.
Asked how he could help address those bigger issues if he doesn’t come to meetings, Reddick replied, “He’s being kept abreast in regards to the board and the community.”
“He won the election,” she added firmly. “Case closed.”