Community Board changes election rules

By MIAWLING LAM

Members of the nominating committee will no longer be allowed to run for office now that a series of ballot rule changes was approved by Community Board 8.

The tinkering of by-laws comes seven months after an election controversy erupted, leading to a heated debate over the ethics of the five-member nominating committee.

Under the changes, “a member of the nominating committee may not be nominated by the committee for a position of officer.”

With respect to committee chairpersons, “a member of the nominating committee under consideration for a committee chair shall recuse himself or herself on discussion and vote for that decision,” the amendment states.

The change also stipulates that in the event of a tie in the nominating committee, both candidates shall be presented to the board.

Board members voted 25 to 1 to approve the by-laws at last Tuesday’s general board meeting. There were three abstentions.

CB8 chair Robert Fanuzzi said the changes, which are effective immediately, represented a huge change in the way the board operates.

“I’m really glad we had this clarified,” he said after the motion carried.

“People have waited for this clarification, and it will give us guidelines that will set elections on a very clear and transparent path.”

The guidelines were developed after Maria Khury, a member of the five-person nominating committee, endorsed herself for the position of vice-chair during the board elections last spring. She was eventually elected unopposed.

Under the by-laws at the time, Khury did not break any rules, but a number of board members believed she should have either resigned from the nominating committee or abstained from voting for that particular position.

At the time, several board members were concerned about how Khury’s actions would affect the board’s reputation.

“In my view, what they have done discredits this board and discredits the individuals involved,” CB8 land use chairman Charles Moerdler was quoted as saying in June. “This is a pure, unequivocal breach of the decency standards and the credibility of this board.”

CB8 law, rules and ethics committee chair Irving Ladimer said the three resolutions were designed to achieve transparency. He stressed that the change was merely a guideline and was “intended to be taken in a spirit of flexibility.

“Its purpose…is essentially to make a better management organization for this board,” he told members. “To make this a more manageable, more efficient and more democratic organization.”

The law, rules and ethics committee was charged with clearing up the confusion and has been developing language for the by-law amendments since fall.

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