Community boards are a system of local representative bodies in New York City. They hold monthly, public meetings and advise other city agencies on land use, budgetary, and service delivery matters. Each of the 59 community boards represents a geographically defined Community District and is made up of up to 50 unsalaried members, all of whom are appointed by the Borough President. Community boards were created in an early attempt to foster community-based planning, but their effectiveness as vehicles of proactive community planning is questionable.
Board members are intended to convey community interests to their Borough President (often in opposition to business or development), and yet are entirely beholden to him or her for their appointment. The reality is exactly as lacking in checks and balances as the theory. C. VirginiaFields served as Manhattan Borough President during her 2005 campaign for Mayor and was accused of "using her community board appointments as a kind of political club, selecting people who supported her in her race and firing those who did not,". City Council attempts to reinstate some of these unjustified dismissals were thwarted as Fields had the power to reject them again. Still worse, in May of 2007 Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz "purged" community board 6 (CB6) of nine members who had voted against the Atlantic Yards development he supports. After an even more dramatic purge of Bronx CB6 surrounding the Yankee Stadium (Sports Stadium) proposal, Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion was quoted to have said, "My very clear expectation is that these appointees are there to carry out a vision for the borough president and the leadership of this borough, and that's simply what I expect".
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