Brewer appoints 316 to Community Boards, including 90 new members

16- and 17-year olds join boards in first year under new law

NEW YORK – Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer today announced a slate of 316 appointments to Manhattan’s twelve Community Boards. The appointments will take effect on May 1, 2015, and include 90 new members, more than a quarter of the total appointments.

“On zoning, land use, and how government interacts with our communities, Manhattan’s Community Boards are at the center of it all,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “It’s exciting that so many New Yorkers want to volunteer their time, their energy, and their skills to help our borough and our city. With a great mix of new members, veterans, and more young people, we can expect great things from Community Boards this year.”

Brewer’s office continued its revamp of the Community Board application process by making Manhattan the first borough to accept community board applications online, scoring applications in a formal review process, and evaluating applicants’ participation in structured group problem-solving and discussion scenarios rather than one-on-one interviews.

The complete list of Community Board members will be made available on the Borough President’s web site today, at this page: http://bit.ly/ManhattanCB

Today’s announcement marks the conclusion of a 2015 appointment process that ushered in another major change: the inclusion of 16- and 17-year olds as regular applicants under a new state law passed in 2014 and supported by Brewer. The Borough President’s office received 25 applications from teens aged 16-17, and appointed six of these applicants to Community Board seats.

300 members were appointed to regular two-year terms and an additional 16 one-year vacancies were filled, out of a pool of 722 total applicants. New applications for Community Board membership increased by 43 percent in 2015, and applications increased by 21 percent overall through a combination of traditional community outreach tactics and a targeted Facebook ad campaign.

“I welcome and congratulate our two new community board appointees, Stephen Villanueva and Mahfuzur Rahman,” said Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “In a district with more public housing than anywhere else in the city, adding two NYCHA residents to the community board will provide representation for residents who most need it. I’m also proud that we’re adding a 16-year-old student to our board in Mahfuzur Rahman. Bringing young New Yorkers into the fold can help foster a lifelong commitment to civic engagement in the next generation of New York City’s leaders. I’m confident that these two new members will help represent the various needs of the community and help facilitate civic engagement for all everyone in our district.”

“All across New York City, Community Boards play a fundamentally important role in improving our neighborhoods and creating meaningful dialogue between local residents and city government,” said Council Member Margaret Chin, who served on Community Boards 1 and 3. “I thank Borough President Brewer for her ongoing commitment to making our Manhattan Community Boards as great as they can be, and I congratulate all of the new appointees.”

“Community Boards are an important part of our communities and they are the most local form of advocacy for our neighborhoods. The members know their community’s issues and the priorities to improve the quality of life for all New Yorkers,” said Council Member Inez E. Dickens. “I applaud Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer for her leadership to strengthen our Community Boards, and I congratulate all the newly appointed and re-appointed members to each of Manhattan’s 12 Community Boards. I know that this year’s appointments with the diverse qualities they bring are great additions to our Community Boards.”

"We are so happy to have such engaged, committed Community Boards in Manhattan, and these appointments will be great additions,” said Council Member Daniel R. Garodnick. “We thank Borough President Brewer for leading a comprehensive and thoughtful process."

“It is incredibly exciting to be announcing 316 appointments to Manhattan Community Boards today, and especially the six new 16- and 17-year old New Yorkers joining Manhattan’s Community Boards! The addition of these teens is a welcome change that I believe will only serve to more accurately represent our constituencies,” said Council Member Corey Johnson. “I can personally speak to the caliber and drive of the members appointed to Community Boards 2, 4, 5 and 7 in my Council District, and I am entirely confident in the dedication of all the New Yorkers joining Community Boards and volunteering their time to make this City a better place.”

“16-year-olds will be joining Community Boards, thanks to a resolution I introduced with Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer that become law last year,” said Council Member Ben Kallos, who served on Community Board 8 Manhattan. “Community Boards are becoming more representative of their communities because of a system of reforms implemented by Manhattan Borough President Brewer, including group interviews to see how new applicants and re-applicants alike work together when solving problems. We look forward to providing residents with a stronger voice through their Community Boards.”

"Community Boards are a critical forum for leadership at the neighborhood level in New York City, and they depend on the dedication of talented and active board members. I’m thrilled by the outpouring of interest we saw during this round of applications and even happier with the caliber of leaders we were able to select for boards 7, 9 and 12, including young leaders under the age of 18," said Council Member Mark Levine.

“Serving on a community board is a basic part of community and political activism,” said Council Member Rosie Mendez. “The people who have applied to be on a community board did so because they care about the community and want to make things better for the people who live in the neighborhood. These individuals have taken on this responsibility without remuneration.”

"Community Boards are vital to ensuring every member of our community is heard and empowered," said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez. "Thank you Borough President Brewer for your leadership and helping strengthen our community boards and thus our neighborhoods."

Background 
Community Board members are appointed to staggered two-year terms, with half selected by the Borough President and half nominated by the City Council members representing each community board district. There are 12 Community Boards in Manhattan and 59 citywide.

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