You are reading

Queens BP Richards Calls on State Legislature to Allow Community Boards to Meet Remotely

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards (Queens Borough President’s Office)

Aug. 9, 2021 By Allie Griffin

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards is calling on the state legislature to allow community boards to meet remotely for the duration of the pandemic.

Richards penned a letter to Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie Thursday requesting that they pass legislation that would allow community boards the flexibility to meet remotely.

Community boards have been required to meet in person since June 25, when Governor Andrew Cuomo ended his executive order declaring a state of emergency due to COVID-19. The expiration has meant that meetings must again be hosted for the public to witness in person, as part of the state’s Open Meetings Law (OML).

“Amid the rise of the dangerous Delta variant, Queens’ Community Boards have rightfully expressed concerns about meeting in-person again,” Richards wrote. “As leaders of the New York State Legislature, we respectfully request you consider revising the Open Meetings Law for the duration of the pandemic.”

Richards’ letter, which was signed by several Queens community board chairs, follows an earlier letter sent out by Queens Community Board 6 Chair Alexa Weitzman to elected officials.

Weitzman informed lawmakers that CB6 would not be holding its meetings in-person and would continue to hold them remotely. She cited concerns over the highly contagious delta variant.

“The executive order might have ended, but the pandemic is not over,” she told the Queens Post last week.

The variant has driven up cases of COVID-19 across the city, leading health officials to strongly recommend all people wear masks indoors regardless of their vaccination status. The city also will require customers to be vaccinated to enter restaurants, bars, gyms and entertainment venues starting next week.

Chairs from 12 of the borough’s 14 community boards signed onto Richards’ letter, along with several community board managers.

The concern follows an in-person Manhattan community board meeting on July 26, which was the source of two fully-vaccinated attendees testing positive for COVID-19.

A bill has been introduced in both the Assembly and Senate that would allow public bodies like community boards the flexibility to either continue to hold virtual meetings or hold a hybrid of in-person/virtual meetings in accordance with the Open Meetings Law.

The legislation has yet to be brought to the floor for a vote since the legislature is currently not in session.

email the author: [email protected]

3 Comments

Click for Comments 
Johnny Deng

If the vaccines and mask work these individuals have nothing to worry about. If the world is reopening and people are returning to work then these politicians should as well. If they can have their food delivered or their packages or can go out to dinner or attend concerts then these individuals can certainly return to the office. If you feel you cannot then find another job or career.

Reply
Catherine

If average Jane and Joe
must be vaccinated and
are encouraged to take
public transportation,
The same should apply to elected officials

Reply
Jorge Melendez

Absolutely. If people are returning to work then the individuals who are elected to represent them should as well. Enough remote. Time to go back to real life. If you are not able to then step down so we the people may elect individuals who are not afraid to their job and are willing to do it properly.

Reply

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

QBP Richards, advocates rally to demand Mayor Adams restore funding to City’s libraries

May. 17, 2024 By Gabriele Holtermann

A rally was held at the Queens Public Library at Forest Hills on May 16, during which Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, Queens Public Library President and CEO Dennis Walcott, union reps and library advocates called on Mayor Eric Adams to reverse the proposed $58.3 million budget cuts to the New York Public Library (NYPL), the Brooklyn Public Library (BPL), and the Queens Public Library (QBL) for Fiscal Year 2025, which begins on July 1, 2024.

Queens elected officials secure $70 million from New York State Budget for school safety equipment in religious and independent schools

May. 17, 2024 By Anthony Medina

Religious and independent schools throughout the city will soon receive additional funding for school safety equipment, thanks to Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi and State Senator Michael Gianaris, who, after extensive advocacy efforts, successfully secured $70 million from the New York State Budget for 2024-25 for Non-Public School Safety Equipment (NPSE) grants.

Decomposing body of adult found outside Rego Park apartment building: NYPD

Police from the 112th Precinct in Forest Hills made a gruesome discovery Sunday after residents of a Rego Park apartment building complained of smelling noxious fumes. Officers found the badly decomposed body of an adult lying in the bushes near scaffolding at 92-40 Queens Blvd. just before 1:00 p.m.

EMS responded to the location and pronounced the victim dead at the scene. There were no visible signs of trauma and no identification on the body, police said, adding that the sex and age of the victim has not yet been determined, according to an NYPD spokesman, who added that the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner will determine the cause of death.