CROWN HEIGHTS — Another contentious Community Board 9 meeting for the record.
This time three members of the executive board walked out of the monthly general board meeting. The gesture subsequently killed quorum for what should have been an opportunity to hear from four candidates in the long-vacant district manager’s position.
The search committee — a group of five responsible for presenting the final cut of district manager candidates to the board — received 61 resumés of which six were chosen for an interview. Committee members then chose four candidates to move forward to the May 29 general meeting, according to Committee Chair Rashidah Siddiqui.
Andrew Kunkes, Charles Jackson, Rose DeStefano and Michelle McClymont made the cut. But before members could hear from the candidates, half of the executive walked out. Vivia Morgan, Eve-Lynn Williams and Stuart Balberg gathered their belongings and exited stage left.
The hoopla began when Williams accused members of the search committee of being bias towards certain candidates although she did not say whom.
“This is not going to happen tonight,” Williams said with Balberg shaking his head in agreement. “It’s going to go on until the right people know how to move this community forward,” she added but not without telling another audience member to “shut up.”
Williams, who has served on the board since the 1970s, capped off her eight-minute scolding with an audience plea. She advised everyone to ignore everything said at Tuesday night’s meeting.
Siddiqui detailed the months-long process of how the committee came to their selections and refuted all claims of corruption.
“I took my position very seriously, and to say that I’m a phony is a hundred percent inaccurate,” she said.
The battle around the absent district manager’s seat comes three years after a judge struck down CB9’s decision to hire Carmen Martinez as the district manager behind closed doors. Then, board members were looking to replace ousted district manager Pearl Miles who was removed from the board in October 2015.
The seat, barring Martinez’s short stint, has remained empty.
This is the fourth search committee to review candidates for a new district leader. In 2018, the same board members objected to the selection process. The meeting ended similarly.
Tuesday’s windfall ended when Board Chair Patricia Baker called for a motion to adjourn after two of the members came back in to vote for the 2019-2020 executive board nominations. Breaking with the board’s bylaws, by not holding board member nominations at the May general meeting, the meeting ended.
The executive board must now hold a special meeting, 14 days before the June and final meeting of the year. There, board members can nominate members of CB9’s executive board.
Worth mentioning that in the middle of all of the chaos, Alicia Boyd of The Movement To Protect The People (MTOPP) served executive board member Warren Burke with what she called a restraining order for harassing black women.
“You have now been served publicly and you need to stay away from the black women in this community,” she said walking to the rear of the room.