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Queens Chronicle

Sweeping changes on Queens CB 6 exec board

Alexa Weitzman is Chairwoman after winning vote over Hennessy

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Posted: Friday, September 13, 2019 12:48 pm

Members of Queens Community Board 6 cleaned house Thursday night in an election that saw six of their seven officers come up on the short end of the votes.

Alexa Weitzman was elected new chairperson, with Gail Gordon winning re-election as first vice president.

In a brief campaign speech prior to the vote, Weitzman indicated a desire for greater community involvement, suggesting social media could be used more effectively as a means to achieve it. Among her plans is to move the public forum, which has been held near the end of the monthly meetings, closer to the top, assuring that more board members will still be on hand to hear the testimony.

Weitzman defeated Joseph Hennessy, a fixture at the board, who congratulated her following the vote and said, “I’m available. I’m still a board member.” To the entire board, he added, “I respect you. I will work with you.”

Soumaly King defeated Robert Silver as vice chairman of scoping; Prameet Kumar defeated Norman Leibowitz as vice chairman of land use; Bruce Grossberg defeated Gregory Carlson as vice chairman of finance; Mark Laster defeated Naomi Altman, who was out on a family emergency, as vice chair man of secretary.

Steven Goldberg, the second vice chairman, withdrew his name from consideration after Peter Beadle was nominated for the position. Gordon ran unopposed after another board member declined to accept a nomination.

Following the votes, Weitzman told Hennessy, “I respect your expertise,” calling for a meeting with the outgoing chairman next week. She asked the board members to “be patient with me” as she learned the ropes.

Gordon, a board member for 36 years and the lone holdover on the executive board, told the Chronicle “I guess they wanted somebody who has the experience.”

“They want good things for the community,” Gordon said. “They want to move forward and advance the board’s relationship with the community.”

Weitzman, who has lived in Forest Hills for 12 years and is in her third term on the board, told the Chronicle Friday, “I just felt like I have the energy and drive to really move forward in a new way.”

She said she had met with a number of board members over the summer to get to know them better.

“Everyone joins the community board for a reason and without knowing what those reasons are, it was just having one committee meeting every month, you’re not really developing a relationship that you can collaborate effectively,” she said.

Weitzman said she looks forward to working with the board’s district manager, Frank Gulluscio.

“He’s such a wealth of information and expertise in so many arenas,” she said.

Beadle also spoke highly of Gulluscio, telling the Chronicle in a Friday interview “He’s a professional that really knows how everything works in this city.”

Beadle said the group of new officers had been pushing for changes in how the board is run, including increased social media presence.

He said Hennessy indicated last September it would be his last year as chairman.

“That got people thinking about what would succession look like?” Beadle said.

They organized amongst themselves and explored with board members if they would support other candidates.

It turned out Hennessy ran again.

“He’s a been a great service to the community,” Beadle said. “I really don’t begrudge him that, but by this point we had now become serious about wanting to bring our vision to the board. So we went ahead.”

Beadle says the board will focus on increased transparency.

“A big part of our thinking really is focused around making this board more accessible, meaning more people know what a community board is, more people know what this community board is about, where it meets, when it meets so they can come and participate,” Beadle said.

He also said the library at 91-41 63 Drive is a priority.

“It’s time to get the Rego Park Library rebuilt,” Beadle said. “It’s been two years since the mayor promised the money. I’m not exactly sure why it takes more than two years to plan and organize the construction of a two-story square building. So we need to become activist and push for these things in our community.”

Weitzman said she as someone who walks, rides her bike around the neighborhood and is raising a kid who is also riding as bike, pedestrian safety is vital.

She said she wants to “figure out how to make the final stage of Queens Boulevard safer for everyone.”

Weitzman, speaking Friday, said she hopes the board will “harness the passion that we have for our community so that we can reach the potential for the Rego Park and Forest Hills neighborhoods.”

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1 comment:

  • Linnster posted at 5:47 pm on Mon, Sep 16, 2019.

    Linnster Posts: 10

    Now, if we could only have as much success with the Board of our Co-Op! Congratulations to the new members. Hopefully, you will make a difference because it's for sure the old one didn't make much effort.