CB 12 chairwoman loses her post

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Community Board 12’s former chairwoman said she was shocked that she was removed from the board unexpectedly but will not let her firing diminish her drive to improve the quality of life for the community.

Adjoa Gzifa, who has served as the chairwoman of the board for the last three years, was taken off CB 12 by City Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans). Gzifa, who was on the board for 16 years and had been outspoken on several community issues, said she initially wanted to fight to retain her position on the board, but had a change of heart.

“I don’t want to be put back on,” she said. “I had a plan that I would be there for another two years, then leave .... I was hoping to be able to groom someone to take the position.”

Comrie declined to comment about his decision to remove her from the board. Board member Jackie Boyce will serve as interim chairwoman until a special election during next month’s meeting.

Boyce is the Democratic district leader for southeast Queens and has been on Community Board 12, which covers the neighborhoods of Jamaica, Hollis, St. Albans, Springfield Gardens, Baisley Park, Rochdale Village and South Jamaica, for several years.

Several board members refused to comment about the situation.

But Gzifa, who was voted chairwoman after her predecessor, Gloria Black, died in 2008, said she was surprised by Comrie’s decision and indicated that she and the councilman had a disagreement and he took it out on her by not renewing her membership. In the past, she has taken strong stands on several issues, including the proliferation of homeless shelters in southeast Queens and the hiring of community-based businesses for the Aqueduct racino project.

She sounded off against her board members when the family of Sean Bell requested that the street where he was killed be named after him. Not only did Gzifa vote down the proposal last year, she also created a new rule for street renamings that streets can only be renamed for people who lived in the district for at least 10 years.

Comrie expressed disapproval over Gzifa’s new rule when the board passed it in May.

“We have to work with them to understand all people who impact the community board may not be permanent residents of the board,” he said.

Gzifa, who works as the director of LaGuardia Community College’s Workforce Education Center and runs the nonprofit Future Scholars of the World Inc., which helps out children in Ghana, said she would continue to fight for southeast Queens in other ways.

“I wish the board well and hope the next board person will do the job well and be a voice for the community that they are supposed to be and not a puppet to the politicians,” she said.

Meanwhile, the board said it was doing well despite not having the presence of its longtime district manager, Yvonne Reddick. Reddick was still recuperating at Jamaica Hospital as of press time Tuesday following an auto accident she was involved in two weeks ago.

Her cab was struck by an SUV, she was ejected from the vehicle and suffered broken ribs, a lacerated liver and hip damage. The driver fled the scene and has not been arrested as of press time, a police source said.

Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at ipereira@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

Updated 11:00 am, October 12, 2011
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