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Op-ed: Councilman Dromm introduces legislation calling for community board term limits


Dec. 26, 2014 By Council Member Daniel Dromm

Term limits are important to ensure democracy. That’s why I am proposing to limit community board members to serving six, two-year terms for a total of 12 years.

I recently introduced legislation, co-sponsored by Council Member Ben Kallos from Manhattan, that would set term limits for community board members at six two-year terms or 12 years in total.

Members currently serving on boards would not be affected by this legislation. Only new members elected after April 1, 2016 would be limited. In any government or decision making body it is important to be challenged and checked by new points of view.

I have great respect for our neighbors that have volunteered on community boards for decades but I believe that communities change and so should community boards. A larger turnover of members will ensure that new ideas, cultures and backgrounds will be represented.

In the City Council, members are limited to two four-year terms. Why shouldn’t community board members also face term limits? For all the same reasons I believe in term limits for elected officials, I believe in term limits for community board members.

Community boards have important jobs to do. They approve liquor licenses. They review land use proposals. They respond to constituent quality of life issues. They do many other things that I find very helpful to my office. But, in the end, I believe limiting the power of a few helps the majority.

When term limits was first instituted in the City Council people predicted the city would fall apart especially because we had just suffered the tragedy of 9/11. But that didn’t happen and the new City Council got us through the crisis.

Twelve years of service as community board member doesn’t mean a person can’t continue to serve the community. In fact, they could and should continue to serve on board committees. I would urge any member of the community to volunteer in this capacity. There are also many civic, educational and community based groups that could use the expertise that community board members have cultivated during their time of service.

Before being elected as a City Council Member I was very involved in the Jackson Heights community. It’s helped to get me elected to public office. I urge residents to support this effort to bring added transparency and democracy to our community boards by supporting my community board legislation in the City Council.

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Also Anonymous

There is a huge difference (in what can be accomplished) between an elected position which is full time salaried with staff, budget, and real legislative power versus volunteers with zero budget meeting one or two times every four weeks. 12 years is not a bad idea. Less than that IMO will reduce the board’s already limited advisory power.


12 year term limits do not exist in the executive or confessional branches in any state or federal government, because it is obvious a 12 year limit is too long to be meaningful.

The point of a term limit is to give voters recourse for dealing with poor leadership. Too short, and you end up with perpetual campaign cycles. Too long and you enable politicians to ignore popular will.

Try two four year terms.

Also, as a white man, I’d like to point out how absolutely absurd it is that the board is made up of so many crusty old, white men. These boards should represent the ethnic diversity of Queens. You’d think we were in Des Moines.


While I agree that the leadership has been in office for far too long, I believe the members themselves get better the longer they serve. A friend of mine was appointed and said the issues facing the board are so varied and complex it took her quite a while to figure out how it all works. She is in her seventh year now and just feels she can build a coalition, have influence with local merchants and see when others are abusing power. Perhaps there is a middle ground that would balance things out.

I work in another organization where the leadership turns over so often the organization itself can be said to be brand new, even though it is 80 years old. New people make the same neophyte mistakes over and over and over again. It is pitiful.

Ted Dibiasse

all these freeloaders should serve four years and that’s too long. Get rid of Van Bramer too while your at it. Useless as can be.


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