When we speak of community involvement in civic matters pertaining to the preservation of our neighborhoods, Frank Skala stands out as a civic leader who has consistently worked for these goals. From his positions as president of the East Bayside Homeowners Association for the last 37 years and as a member of Community Board 11 since 2003, he has worked tirelessly to preserve community standards.
His contributions to society also include being an active member of All Saints Episcopal Church in Bayside. It is there where he serves as a eucharistic minister by administering communion to church members.
He also serves as president of the Bayside High School New Alumni Association and has done so since 1991. It should be mentioned that he has served on the PTA executive boards of various schools, including JHS 218, IS 25 and JHS 158 from 1961-92.
Skala grew up in Bayside, having lived in the same house since 1940.
He is a graduate of Bayside High School and Queens College with a master’s in education. He taught for 33 years at local public schools. His daughter is also a school teacher and his son works for the federal government in Washington, D.C.
Skala is proud of his accomplishments over the years. He believes he represents the residents of the community, so the East Bayside Homeowners Association zoning issues have been important to him.
He has opposed most building projects that increase density in the community and detract from the residential environment.
On CB 11, Skala serves on the Zoning, Transportation and Group Homes committees. He mentioned that there are continual requests to change numbered streets to names of people who have served the community in government and other professions. He has continually opposed that and believes that for the most part numbered streets should be maintained. He has opposed having elected officials speak before the community board. He suspects that some of them will be speaking to help their re-election bids.
Interestingly, one issue he mentioned is his attempt to keep bleachers from being installed in Crocheron Park for sporting events, since he believes this kind of structure would be abused when not in use.
When I asked him what has been his biggest success as president of homeowners group, he said the candidates nights her sponsors just before fall general elections have been successful. Most of the candidates who are invited attend. They are subject to tough questioning, which he believes is beneficial to the voting public.
Skala over the years has received various awards for his community service. He singled out a Community Service Award from Steven Blank, the former publisher of the Bayside Times.
When I asked Skala to sum up his community efforts, he said, “Tell it like it is. When I say something, it is what I believe and mean.”
So it has been with Skala over the years.
He at times has been controversial but totally dedicated to working for what he believes is in the best interests of the community at large.
Skala has no plans to retire. He indicated that he intends to continue on with his work as long as he is able to do so.
Whether people agree or disagree with his positions on issues, no one can doubt his commitment.
During these times of serious economic and social difficulties, we need more community leaders with the drive and determination of Frank Skala.
©2011 Community News Group
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