Under Cover, week of Jan. 14, 2016

Managing expectations

Community Board 1 members tried to keep their expectations realistic last week when drafting a resolution calling on Gov. Cuomo to revamp the board of the Battery Park City Authority.

Given the increasing dissatisfaction with the authority’s leadership, members of CB1’s Battery Park City Committee all agreed on the need for more residents on the board. The only point of contention was how much BPC residents could really expect the governor to listen to them when appointing the people who run their neighborhood.

The resolution called for sweeping change on the authority’s seven-person board, where two seats are vacant and two members’ terms have expired — including that of Dennis Mehiel, the chairman. The committee’s original draft not only asked for those seats to be filled with a voting majority of BPC residents, but dared suggest that Cuomo consult with the committee on prospective appointees.

“We also call on the governor to work in consultation with CB1 and our elected officials in the selection of candidates for these positions,” committee chairman Anthony Notaro read from the draft during the discussion.

“We don’t want to see somebody who moved in last week or rented an apartment for the sake of being a board member,” he explained.

But not everyone thought asking Cuomo to actually speak to anybody on CB1 was such a good idea.

“I do wonder about calling on someone as into-his-power as the governor to work in consultation,” said Jeff Mihok, to approving murmurs from his fellow committee members. “I just feel like that’s gonna be a deal-killer, strategically.”

After some debate, the committee agreed to change the phrasing to merely request that Cuomo work with local elected officials to pick new board members, or at least to establish a pool of candidates.

Members did hold out some hope of formal consultation with the governor’s office, in the suggestion from the audience by BPC resident Pat Smith to at least ask Cuomo’s Manhattan Regional Representative to talk with the committee.

“I like the idea of inviting the governor’s representative to sit with us and discuss this process,” Notaro said.

“That makes it easier,” agreed Justine Cuccia, a public member of the committee. “Because I don’t expect him [the governor] to show up.”

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