By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The mayor isn’t the only person in New York City who is term-limited. Community Board 10 Chairman Joanne Seminara has served for three terms and is prohibited by the board’s bylaws from running for a fourth term. But unlike Michael Bloomberg, Seminara will have a hand in picking her successor, albeit a small one. She gets to hand-pick the members of a special committee that will nominate the next chairman.
Seminara, a lawyer and Democratic Party district leader who has served at the helm of the Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights community board for three terms, recently announced that she has picked board members Judith Grimaldi, Liz Amato, Andrew Gounardes, Dean Rasinya, and Mary Quinones to serve on the nominating committee. The committee will meet at some point between now and the next board meeting on May 20 to select a candidate to be the next chairman. That candidate’s name will be placed in nomination at the May 20 meeting. At that meeting, Seminara will also accept nominations for chairman from the floor if any board members wish to put up a candidate different from the selection committee’s choice.
The board will hold an election for chairman at its June meeting.
Under Board 10’s bylaws, a chairman can only serve three consecutive terms.
Brian Kieran, chairman of the board’s Traffic and Transportation Committee, is rumored to have the inside track on becoming the next chairman. “It’s Brian’s if he wants it,” one board member told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.
The city’s 59 community boards each have their own bylaws listing the rules for the number of terms a chairman can serve. Community Board 11, Board 10’s neighbor in Bensonhurst, does not have term limits. Its chairman, Bill Guarinello has served at the helm for more than 10 years.
Community boards, which were created in 1977, operate under the New York City Charter as quasi-city agencies to assist residents in each neighborhood. The boards are composed of up to 50 non-salaried members appointed by the borough president and local City Council member. The boards serve as a sounding board for residents’ concerns and advise the city on land use and other matters. Each board is permitted to hire a salaried district manager whose job is to work with agencies to ensure the smooth delivery of city services such as sanitation and roadway repairs.
At the board’s April 15 meeting, Seminara spoke about health care and how the southwest part of Brooklyn is being shortchanged. “What we need here which is more emergency services 24 hour a day,” she told board members. Bay Ridge does not have hospital with an emergency room. The only large-scale medical facility in the community is SUNY Downstate at Bay Ridge, an urgent care center which closes at 9 p.m. each night.
Seminara stressed, however, her belief that the hospitals in southwest Brooklyn, including Maimonides Medical Center at 4802 10th Ave. in Borough Park and Lutheran Medical Center at 150 55th St. in Sunset Park, do an outstanding job. She said she recently went to Maimonides Medical Center for an orientation meeting the hospital held for community leaders to discuss their expertise in different medical fields. She found the session impressive, she said. “There are some very important cutting edge services provided there in cardiology, vascular and cancer treatments,” she said.