Feb. 23, 2021 By Christina Santucci
The number of applications for a seat on a community board in Queens went up by more than 56 percent this year.
The borough president received 931 applications for the unpaid positions, up from 595 in 2020. The number this year was an all-time high, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards said.
The surge included 698 people looking to join a community board for the first time—with the remainder being existing board members looking to stay on. Last year, 252 people applied to be on a board for the first time.
The borough president will now review the applications and appoint roughly 350 applicants to two-year terms that begin April 1. Half of those appointed are also nominated by City Council members.
There are 14 Community Boards in Queens, each with about 50 members
Each year, 350 spots are available—since each board member serves two years and has to reapply for their seat. Traditionally, existing members who have a good attendance record are reappointed—resulting in a limited number of spots for newcomers.
Members, however, can now only serve up to four consecutive terms—following the introduction of term limits that went into effect on April 1, 2019. Term limits are expected to increase member turnover.
“Democracy works best when it hears the voices of all the people it serves,” Richards said in a statement.
The borough president credited the new online application process that was introduced this year — as well as efforts to attract a diverse group of candidates from college campuses and elsewhere — for the increase in applications.
“Having a community board membership that truly reflects the diversity in Queens will help ensure our city government hears what our borough’s residents have to say,” Richards said in a statement.
Community boards, each capped at 50 members, hold hearings and act in advisory roles for elected officials and government agencies in their respective districts.