The fate of the city’s 59 community boards will be in the hands of voters on Nov. 6.
The New York City Charter Revision Commission officially handed in its report this week containing recommendations on changing the City Charter, including a proposal to impose term limits on community board members.
If the New York City Board of Elections approves, the commission’s proposals will be listed as propositions on the ballot in November.
There are 18 community boards in Brooklyn, all of which would fall under any new provisions of the City Charter.
The commission is recommending that members appointed or re-appointed on or after April 1, 2019, be limited to serving four consecutive two-year terms.
Community board members, who are unpaid, are appointed by the borough presidents with input from city councilmembers and serve two-year terms. There is currently no limit on the number of years they can serve.
A membership turnover would be healthy for community boards, according to commission members, who pointed out that many boards have members who have been there for 20 years or more.
Under the commission’s proposal, members who are term-limited out of a community board could re-apply for membership after sitting out one full term.
Commission Chairperson Cesar Perales said the panel thought long and hard before coming up with proposals. The commission held a series of public hearings this summer to gauge public opinion.
“The proposals approved by the commission today will provide the voters with an opportunity to weigh in on changes that would impact several important aspects of civic life,” Perales said in a statement.
The City Charter is akin to a Constitution. It is the document that lays out the structure and function of New York City’s government.
The Perales-led commission was appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio and is not to be confused with the Charter Revision Commission established by the City Council earlier this year. The council’s commission, which began its work in July, will develop recommendations to present to the public for a vote in November of 2019.
Community boards are comprised of 50 non-salaried members. Their primary role is to serve as liaisons between residents and city agencies. The boards advise city agencies on land use matters and other issues. Each board represents a geographic area usually comprised of two or three neighborhoods.
The commission came up with other proposals, including a recommendation to create a Civic Engagement Commission and a series of proposed changes in how political campaigns are financed.
The mayor praised the work done by the commission.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that these measures will help us build a more fair and equitable city,” de Blasio said in a statement.