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BY COLIN MIXSON
The Battery Park City Authority’s only resident board member, Martha Gallo, announced her resignation on Thursday, leaving Battery Park City residents to be ruled over by a dwindling group of state-appointed out-of-towners.
Battery natives weren’t satisfied having just one resident on the board, but not having any locals is intolerable, according to BPC resident and Community Board 1 Chairman Anthony Notaro.
“Even though we were happy to have Martha as a board member and resident, we never felt that was enough, so now it’s really a problem,” said Notaro. “Now we have no resident representation, no one who has our perspective or voice.”
Gallo’s resignation leaves the BPCA board with only four out of seven seats filled — Lester Petracca, Hector Batista, Donald Capoccia, and Chairman Dennis Mehiel — all of whom live well beyond the borders of the 92-acre neighborhood they’re responsible for governing.
Rules require the BPCA to field four members at any given board meeting to make a quorum, meaning that, in the event any of the remaining Cuomo appointees call in sick, no business can be decided at a given board meeting.
In a public statement prepared for her resignation, Gallo described her six-year career on the BPCA board as simply having run its course, and that she ended up staying far longer than she originally had planned.
“My intent was to serve the three-year term of my initial appointment. After twice that time, I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished, and even more confident in the future of Battery Park City,” Gallo’s statement read.
State Sen. Daniel Squadron praised Gallo’s service, while also describing her position as the sole Battery Park City resident on the oft-maligned board as “unenviable.”
The senator, along with assembly members Deborah Glick and Yuh-Line Niou, introduced legislation in Albany requiring the BPCA board to include a majority of local residents, and he took Gallo’s resignation as an opportunity to reiterate the need for reform.
“I urge the Senate to pass my legislation requiring local representation on the board, along with assembly members Glick and Niou. And I continue my call to the Governor to fill vacancies on the board with local residents,” Squadron said.
Gallo’s service to the BPCA board was highlighted by her work on the group’s Audit and Finance Committee, which Mehiel credited for recent reaffirmation of the board’s “AAA” bond rating.
Mehiel also gave Gallo credit for recent changes in BPCA policy resulting in greater transparency and the ability for locals to comment during public board meetings, which was requested by a coalition of local lawmakers led by Squadron since April 2016. After initial resistance from the board, the public comment period was finally instituted in October.