Friday, June 21, 2013

More shake ups by Borough President Ruben Diaz at troubled Community Board 9

Bronx 

Beep allegedly wants District Manager Francisco Gonzalez fired. He lacked the votes last year, so he sacked six Gonzalez loyalists.

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In happier times. Here’s Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. (left) with Community Board 9 District Manager Francisco Gonzalez. Gonzalez is apparently on the outs with the Beep, who is allegedly packing the board until he has enough people to get Gonzalez fired.

Alvarez, Enid/New York Daily News/Alvarez, Enid/New York Daily News

In happier times. Here’s Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. (left) with Community Board 9 District Manager Francisco Gonzalez. Gonzalez is apparently on the outs with the Beep, who is allegedly packing the board until he has enough people to get Gonzalez fired.

BY DENIS SLATTERY
The borough president has again shaken up one of the most troubled Bronx community boards, angering both residents and board members.
Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. declined to reappoint six apparently disloyal members from Community Board 9 in Soundview — and another seven, allegedly fed up with the turmoil, did not apply for reappointment.
The move comes a less than a year after Diaz fired and replaced almost half of the board.
“He is obviously loading up the board with people that he believes will best represent him,” said City Council candidate Walter Nestler.
Others say Diaz is trying to stack the board with members who will vote to ouster longtime District Manager Francisco Gonzalez.
In December, the board put forth a motion to remove Gonzalez but failed to get enough votes for the ouster.
Next time, Gonzalez will likely be sacked from his job as district manager, a paid employee who runs the board's office and day to day operations.
And Diaz opponents call his moves Machiavellian.
“The Borough President has to understand one thing: the community boards are there to represent the people, not the politicians,” said Nestler.
In the latest bloodletting, Diaz let go of Ahia Muhammed, Lydia Bauza, Mohammed Chowdhury, Mary Goytia, Hector Osorio and vice-chair Steven Rivera — all of who either abstained from voting or voted to keep Gonzalez.
On top of the rotating number of members, Gonzalez, who has been at the helm of the board office for 20 years, is currently under investigation by the city for possibly violating conflict of interest laws.
Since the December vote, meetings have been riddled with infighting and outbursts from the public.
Diaz spokesman, John DeSio, said the Borough President's decisions are based solely on what he thinks is best for the community.
“We have a long internal process,” DeSio said in a statement. “In the end, we make the selections based on how we believe people will represent both our office and their respective communities.”
Community Board 9 also covers Castle Hill, Unionport and Parkchester.
Board member Sheik Moussa Drammeh said Diaz had no one but himself to blame for the turmoil.
“The machine tries to appoint people that will be yes-men — and we wind up with nothing,” Drammeh said.
“If we actually had people on the board that wanted to advocate for the community we might be able to get something accomplished instead of fighting.”
Gonzalez has been out of the office for several weeks after having surgery to install a pacemaker.
Bharati Kemraj, who was appointed to the board last August, believes the moves made by the borough president are a positive step for the community.
“I feel that a lot of the newer members have a lot to offer the community,” Kemraj said. “The area is changing rapidly and I think the changes on the board reflect that.”
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