By Paula Katinas
Bay Ridge — Entering her third and final year in office, Community Board 10 Chair Joanne Seminara has decided to shake things up by shuffling the various committee heads on the board.
Seminara is flexing her muscle by replacing nearly all of the committee chairs on the board for 2012, including the more high-profile Zoning and Land Use, Police and Public Safety, and Traffic and Transportation committees.
She tapped Ann Falutico to head up the Zoning and Land Use Committee, replacing Stephen Harrison. George Fontas, who impressed many of his board colleagues last year with his detailed analysis of the neighborhood’s most dangerous corners for pedestrians as chairman of the Select Committee on Pedestrian Safety, was picked to chair the Police and Public Safety Committee. He takes over for Susan Pulaski. Brian Kieran is the new chairman of the Traffic and Transportation Committee, succeeding Doris Cruz.
Seminara will officially announce the new chairs at the next meeting of the full board on Jan. 23. She called each of the former chairs by phone to inform them of her decision to appoint new people.
This year will be Seminara’s last as the board’s chair. She has served two terms in the post. Under the board’s bylaws, a chair is prohibited from serving more than three consecutive terms. Each term runs one year.
Seminara said she made the changes because she wanted to bring fresh blood to the committees.
“After two years of having tremendous talent chairing the committees, this was just an opportunity to build more leadership on the board,” she said, adding that she gave each post careful consideration.
While the full board meets once a month, much of the board’s work is done at the committee level, she said. Committees meet on their own, vote to take a stand on a particular issue, such as whether a restaurant should be granted a liquor license, and then bring their recommendation to the full board for a vote.
Sandy Vallas is the new head of the Education, Youth, and Library Committee. Pastor Khader El-Yateem is the chairman of the Senior Issues Committee. Liz Amato is the chair of the Communications Committee. Bob Hudock will head the Environmental Committee. June Johnson is the new chair of the Parks Committee.
“I’m very happy Joanne chose me for Parks. I feel I can bring a lot to the table,” said Johnson, who is a member of the Bay Ridge Garden Club.
Seminara’s last year at the helm of the board is shaping up to be a busy one.
“There are a lot of issues the board will be working on this year,” said Seminara, who has been a board member for 17 years.
Seminara wants the board to take another look at bicycle lanes.
“It’s on the table. We’re going to take it up again,” she said.
The board is also conducting a study of parking issues with an eye toward convincing the city to create more spaces. The study, called the Parking Fairness Initiative, also includes an investigation of illegal curb cuts, Seminara said.
The chair is also concerned about an increase in the use of motorized bicycles on neighborhood sidewalks and said she will ask the board to address the issue.
Another goal is to improve a program in which the board works with local schools on such projects as cleaning the parks and conducting food drives for food pantries, she said.
“And there are two new schools being built in our community. We will monitor the progress of the construction,” Seminara said.