CB 9 Members Ask Katz to Reconsider Evangelista Ouster

CB 9 Members Ask Katz to Reconsider Evangelista Ouster

Photo: A majority of CB 9 members on Tuesday voted to send a letter to Borough President Melinda Katz, requesting that she change her mind and reappoint long-standing member Dr. Vincent Evangelista (with microphone). File Photo.

An overwhelming majority of Community Board 9 members Tuesday night voted in favor of sending a letter to Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, requesting that she revisit her decision to decline Dr. Vincent Evangelista’s reappointment to the board for the 2015-2017 term.

Evangelista, an Ozone Park podiatrist, reapplied last month to his seat on the advisory body that represents the communities of Richmond Hill, Woodhaven, Ozone Park, and Kew Gardens, and was officially denied by Katz.

Some board members and observers have speculated that the denial was politically motivated. Evangelista was the chairman of the CB 9 District Manager Search Committee, which was formed last September and tasked with selecting a candidate to replace the retiring Mary Ann Carey. The selection process was fraught with allegations of impropriety, with Katz at one point advising the board to scrap the search until after April 1. However, a majority of members voted to allow the process and final tally to play out. Lisa Gomes was named district manager in March.

Upon completion of the search for a new DM, Evangelista, who has a perfect CB 9 attendance record, said he believed the committee “acted with wisdom, integrity and complete transparency.”

At the CB 9 general meeting on Tuesday, Board Member Nick Comaianni indicated that he had drafted a missive on Evangelista’s behalf and that it had been passed around and edited by several members.

“In my opinion, [Evangelista] just did his job,” Comaianni said, “but obviously, that got him in trouble.”

Board Member Sylvia Hack read the letter, which characterizes Evangelista as one of CB 9’s “most respected and effective members,” into the record on Tuesday. It also states, in part, that “it was the board’s decision as a whole to move forward with the [DM] vote,” and “postponing the vote was not in the best interest of the board and the communities it serves.”

Asked about the possibility of reexamining Evangelista’s application, a spokeswoman for the borough president said, “Under this administration, all appointments to the Queens Community Boards are issued once a year; all appointments for the 2015-2017 term have been issued and are final. Every appointment is reviewed as a new appointment, and anyone qualified is welcome to apply next year for the 2016-2018 term.”

Katz added, “Under its new leadership, Community Board 9 has been afforded an opportunity for a fresh start. There are very real community issues that Board members were appointed and are entrusted to address. Let’s get to work and move forward together.”

By Michael V. Cusenza michael@theforumnewsgroup.com


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