I think most of us are aware of our elected officials and the job they do on behalf of our communities. But we should also recognize the contribution our community boards and civic associations make in affecting conditions in our neighborhoods.
As a member of Community Board 11, I work alongside 49 other volunteers who operate in an advisory capacity when it comes to matters such as zoning issues, variances and other land use applications. We also have several committees which work on education, transportation, environmental, parks, and health issues, among other important community matters. Sometimes we address citywide issues as well. Board members may not always agree with one another, but I believe that we all respect each other and focus on our commitment to our communities. We are lucky to have a phenomenal office staff headed up by District Manager Susan Seinfeld.
At our March meeting, we had a change in leadership due to term limits. Jerry Iannece, who was our chairman for many years, did an outstanding job in conducting our monthly meetings and representing the Board at various meetings and functions. Our new leaders include Chairwoman Christine Haider and Vice Chairwomen Laura James, Ocelia Claro and Eileen Miller. I look forward to working with our new dynamic team of leaders.
Also in the forefront of community leadership are the local civic associations. This is the ground level where community issues and problems are discussed. Working with city agencies, our elected leaders and the community board, those issues and problems are looked into and addressed. Many civics are affiliated with the Queens Civic Congress, an organization with considerable influence because it represents more than 100 civic and community groups countywide.
I would urge all residents to join their local civic group and participate in meetings and discussions. If possible, attend monthly community board meetings, especially if there are issues on the agenda concerning your area. Board members want to hear the concerns from the community. It helps us decide how to vote on the various issues that come before the board. You may also consider joining the board. We particularly need more representation from the Auburndale community at the present time.
We are lucky to live in a wonderful area. Yes, there are problems, especially, in my opinion, with overdevelopment and education matters. But if we all work together, we can make a difference.