Brooklyn Community Board 1’s longtime district manager is retiring, position could be vacant until next summer • Brooklyn Paper

The longtime district manager of Brooklyn Community Board 1 retired from his post on August 31, possibly leaving the board without a leader until next summer.

Gerald Esposito, who had served as district manager for more than 45 years, tendered his resignation in August, said CB1 President Dealice Fuller at an executive committee meeting on August 31 and would retire on September 1.

“I feel broken, and I’m shocked and everything, but I know people have to move on and do what’s best for them,” Fuller said. “I know it hasn’t been easy. So we’ll see what happens with that.

The announcement came as a surprise to most committee members – the community council has been on summer recess since June and council members were not told of Esposito’s retirement ahead of the meeting.

The District Manager is primarily responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of the Community Council – hiring staff members, receiving complaints from residents, and helping to facilitate communication and services between the city and the community. They also host community council meetings, which can last several hours on weeknights from September to June.

Find a new District Manager for Community Board 1

There were no immediate plans to replace Esposito. The Brooklyn Borough President’s Office, which is responsible for appointing community board members and maintaining planning and budget offices, is aware of Esposito’s departure, Fuller said.

“I guess they’ll tell us what the procedure is, and then we’ll take it from there, as soon as I find out what the procedure is,” she said. “With hiring as it is, I don’t even know how long we’re going to be without a district manager.”

She hadn’t heard anything from the borough president’s office as of Aug. 31, Fuller said. In the meantime, Johana Pulgarin, the council’s community associate, will be the only staff member running the office.

A crowded meeting of Community Council 1 in January 2020. The District Manager is responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of the council and facilitating regular council meetings. CB1 may find itself without a district manager for the next eight months if it is unable to secure funding to hire a replacement for Esposito. File photo by Kevin Duggan

The council had previously voted to make Pulgarin an assistant district manager, but the request was denied by the mayor’s office of management and budget, Esposito said. She received a raise, but not a new title.

“She knows all the policies and procedures, she knows all the city programs, the passport, all the purchasing programs, and she would be a great candidate for district manager,” Esposito said.

Regardless of who takes over, it will likely be some time before decisions can be made, Fuller said during a Sept. 6 meeting.

“I have contacted the borough president’s office and, due to budget constraints, we cannot do anything with this position until the end of the fiscal year in July 2023,” she said.

The salary that had been allocated to Esposito cannot be used to hire a new district manager, Fuller said, it must be used to pay the money still owed to Esposito.

According to the city charter, the council is authorized to appoint district managers, said Stephen Chesler, council member and chair of the environmental protection committee. Other community boards hired and fired their district managers, wrote job descriptions, shortlisted candidates, and recommended finalists to the borough president’s office.

True, Fuller said, but none of this can be done without the borough president’s office.

Ask the Brooklyn Borough President for help

“Everything with the borough president’s office — they’re not responding, I feel like something is missing here, something’s broken, and that’s frustrating for me,” Sonia Iglesias said. , recording secretary of CB1. “We have this charter and we can’t do what it says because the Brooklyn Borough President’s office won’t let us.”

Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso promised reform and revitalize community councils, including ensuring that advisory councils, which represent local politics at the smallest scale, are more representative of the neighborhoods they represent.

Antonio Reynoso, Borough President of Brooklyn
Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso is committed to revitalizing and reforming Brooklyn’s community councils, and CB1 hopes his office can help them as they face eight months without a district manager. Board members hope Reynoso can step in to help fill the position at least temporarily. File photo courtesy of the Brooklyn Borough President’s Office

“Using his powers, Borough President Reynoso has reformed boards of directors ensuring they are diverse and truly representative of the communities they serve in his appointment and renewal standards since taking office. of function earlier this year,” said a spokesperson for the beep in Brooklyn. Paper. “It has also exercised its other Charter powers to support community councils in their public service by providing training and resources, and connecting them with appropriate city agencies.

Ultimately, all budget and personnel matters in the city are overseen by the city’s legal department and the citywide offices of management and budget and administrative services, according to the representative.

Executive committee members at the September 6 meeting discussed drafting a beep letter expressing their frustration, asking for help, and inviting them to the September 13 meeting of the full board.

This letter will ask if council can see the full budget allocated to CB1 by the city, express concern about Pulgarin’s workload, and if she would be able to do the job without being officially appointed and paid for the role of district manager, and more. Fuller and Pulgarin will work to put the letter together based on feedback from the executive committee.

“We’re all in this together, and my thing is we can do it, we can do it, we can get through it,” Fuller said. “We can make this council work as well as possible, but we all need to step up and start taking on more responsibility than the tasks that are given to us.”

The issue of the controversial community council car was slightly less urgent. In 2019, CB1 infamous spent $26,000 from the city council on a Toyota RAV-4. Fuller said at the August 31 meeting that she didn’t think Pulgarin would be able to service the car on her own. The council, at some point, will have to decide if they want to keep the vehicle or have the city come and collect it, she said.

No one else is allowed to drive the car, although Pulgarin said at the Aug. 31 meeting that she would be willing to take the course required by the city to become certified.

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