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Queens Chronicle

Chancellor blasts CB11 over threats

Walcott claims chairman let things get out of hand at May meeting

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Posted: Thursday, May 16, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 10:25 am, Thu May 23, 2013.

Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott blasted Community Board 11 and its Chairman Jerry Iannece for allegedly allowing reps from the School Construction Authority endure verbal abuse during a contentious May 6 public meeting.

The gathering featured heated exchanges regarding the proposed creation of a school at what is currently the site of the Keil Brothers Garden Center and Nursery at 210-11 48th Ave. in Bayside. The board ultimately voted it down, but not before angry exchanges occurred between the public and SCA reps Christopher Persheff and Monica Gutierrez.

Walcott claims the duo were “shouted down by an out of control group” during the meeting, adding Iannece “enabled this behavior by not drawing boundaries to the abuse.”

The chancellor goes on to claim one person threatened to break an SCA reps’ legs, saying he advised the reps to file a report with the 111th Precinct.

Iannece shot back a strongly-worded letter, saying he is “shocked and appalled by the false accusations.”

“I have been Chair of Community Board 11 for over 10 years and my reputation for fairness and my ability to conduct open, transparent and orderly meetings with difficult issues is impeccable,” he wrote. “I take great umbrage by your remarks and am very surprised that you would levy them without a complete and thorough investigation.”

Iannece noted the CB records all of its public meetings, typically to take accurate minutes. The chairman said nobody at the Department of Education requested the recordings.

The meeting before the full board did erupt in bouts of shouting, though any threats to break legs were not made during the public exchanges, while a Chronicle reporter was covering the proceedings.

Iannece went on to shoot back that a staff member, Gutierrez, “outrageously stated, with clear intent to intimidate, that if not a school, a drug rehab center, crack house, or homeless shelter could be built at the location.”

CB 11 ultimately voted against the school, 25-3.

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