Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer announced the appointment of 76 new members to Manhattan’s 12 Community Boards last week, including seven new faces to Community Board 7.
New appointments to Board 7 are: Matthew Holtzman, Meisha Hunter, Madelyn Innocent, Brian Jenks, Genora Johnson, Jaye Bea Smalley (whom Stringer noted is a “a longtime advocate for children and adults with disabilities” and “the co-president of the Citywide Council on Special Education and a member of UJA Federation Taskforce on People with Disabilities”) and Howard Yaruss.
According to Stringer’s office, this year’s appointees continue the trend of increased diversity among board members and include small business owners, including those recovering from Hurricane Sandy, NYCHA residents, clergy members, parent leaders and a fifth generation New Yorker.
“This year’s appointments are the culmination of nearly eight years of work on Community Board reform and empowerment,” said Stringer in a statement. “I am proud of the enormous strides we have made to strengthen Community Boards as the first line of defense for Manhattan neighborhoods. I want to thank the Manhattan delegation of the City Council for their partnership and the existing members of our 12 Community Boards for the hard work they do each year.”
Stringer has also instituted a training series which helps new members learn about the city’s land use procedure and budgetary process, conflicts of interest and equal employment opportunity law. He also spearheaded an Urban Planning Fellowship Program that pairs every Community Board with an urban planning graduate student to increase the board’s planning capacity.
Boards have become more efficient, but also more diverse: Membership among LGBT, Latino, African American and Asian American communities has grown 40 percent, and boards have more young people serving than ever. Thirty-four of this year’s 76 new appointees are in their 20s and 30s.
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