Community Board 7 Chairman Adrian Joyce, whose term expires this year, said he made the suggestion to paper over the concerns of some board members who may have thought that he wanted to amend the term-limits articles of the by-laws so that he could run again for chairman in the January election.
"There was an undercurrent as though this may have been orchestrated to extend my term," said Joyce, who is serving his fifth term and is ineligible to run again for chairman in January. "Nothing was said directly to that effect. So I wanted to clear up the perception real quick."
Chairmen of Community Board 7 are allowed to run for re-election each year, for a maximum of five consecutive years, a provision added to the board's bylaws in the mid-1980s. In addition, any board member serving as an executive officer - there are four such positions - can serve consecutive terms for not more than three years. This is not to say, however, that after those three years, one executive officer cannot run for another executive officer's position.
In general, each of the 59 community boards throughout the city is comprised of 50 board members - including the chairman and executive officers - all of whom are appointed by the borough president. The board members do not receive a salary, and their appointments are reviewed every two years by the borough president. As far as their legal ambit stretches, the board has the power only to recommend, not enact, changes to the city legislation.
Joyce said in a phone interview that he thought he had made it plain originally that he would not be seeking a sixth term as chairman of the board. He also said the board should thoroughly examine rather than impetuously review all of the articles of the current by-laws, which he said were last visited two years ago.
"I think the whole process should be changed," Joyce said. "Let's really sink our teeth into it and come up with some new procedures that would be fair and equitable. Let's be a model for other boards to look at and say, 'Hey, we like the way they do things over there.' "
John Liu, a board member and candidate for the City Council next year, expressed reservations about term limits.
"I thought it was very admirable for Adrian to stand up and say that," Liu said, referring to Joyce's recommendation to defer a decision on the bylaws until after the elections. "Conceptually, I don't think term limits are a good idea. I view them as a restriction on choice."
Liu, like Joyce, said he thought the bylaws should be re-examined periodically to ensure that they in fact "make sense" and that the recommendation to do so in February was the most circumspect.
"I think we need to examine the whole set of bylaws," Liu said. "And it's natural and perfectly good to do that. It's always good to review the normal rules to make sure they make sense."
©2000 Community News Group
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