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]
No comments yet

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

Former Queens cop indicted for conspiracy to commit wire fraud, swindling investors out of millions: Feds

A former city cop from Bellerose was arrested by federal agents on Wednesday and indicted for conspiracy to commit wire fraud for allegedly swindling investors out of nearly $5 million they put into the foreign exchange-focused investment fund he founded in 2020.

Jason Rodriguez, 37, was named in an indictment unsealed in Brooklyn federal court for allegedly promising investors in his forex-focused fund that there would be a “loss reserve account” that could be used to repay investors if the company lost money trading. Rodriguez, the Chief Operating Officer of Technical Trading Team, LLC, also promised investors that he would never risk more than 1% of assets under management on any single trade and would not hold positions open overnight, according to the indictment.

Southeast Queens man killed in collision with tractor trailer on Van Wyck Expressway in Jamaica: NYPD

A Southeast Queens man was killed when he crashed into a tractor trailer in Jamaica on Monday morning.

Ray Holman, 67, of 220th Street in Brookville, was behind the wheel of a maroon 2015 Infiniti QX8 SUV traveling southbound on the Van Wyck Expressway when he struck a 2016 International 18-wheeler that was also traveling southbound, police said. The incident took place near the Linden Boulevard exit shortly after 10:35 a.m.