You are reading

Acting Queens BP Fails to Reappoint Denise Keehan-Smith, Chair of CB2, to the Board

June 2, 2020 By Christian Murray

Denise Keehan-Smith, who has been the chair of Community Board 2 since 2016, was dropped from the board last week without a vote being cast.

Keehan-Smith was tossed out of the position when Acting Queens Borough President Sharon Lee decided not to reappoint her to Community Board 2. Lee phoned her Sunday night to inform her of that decision.

Board members are appointed by the borough president and the council member of a given district. In this case it is Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, who has been at odds with Keehan-Smith in recent years– particularly over the protected bicycle lanes in Sunnyside.

The announcement caught many board members by surprise since Keehan-Smith has been a popular chair. She was elected chair five times during her tenure. And it is rare for a board member not to be reappointed.

Lee announced the names Tuesday of 339 people who had been appointed or reappointed to the 14 Community Boards in Queens for the 2020-2022 term.

The decision not to reappoint Keehan-Smith follows an equal opportunity employment complaint filed against her, which was first reported by the Queens Eagle.

Debra Markell Kleinert, the long-time district manager, filed the complaint that was submitted to the borough president on March 19.

The complaint, according to the Queens Eagle, accused Keehan-Smith of being “abrasive” and “abusive.” Markell Kleinert said she was specifically targeted due to her age, disability and religion especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Keehan-Smith was unaware of the complaint until she read about it in the Queens Eagle. She told the Queens Post that the allegations are “absurd.”

There is no word as to the status of that investigation.

Lee and Van Bramer were not immediately available for comment.

An earlier version of this story was titled: CB2 Chair Denise Keehan-Smith Thrown Off Community Board.

The headline has been changed for the purposes of accuracy. Keehan-Smith was not thrown off the board; instead she lost her position on the board when Acting Borough President Sharon Lee in consultant with Council Member Van Bramer chose not to reappoint her.

email the author: [email protected]

11 Comments

Click for Comments 
Joseph

I had similar experiences with her too. She was actively disrespectful and dismissive to residents who were not on the community board. The community is better off without her “leadership.”

3
2
Reply
CB2 Board Member

I’m a member of CB2, and just want to note that Denise was a great chair who did an admirable job running the board. We didn’t always agree, but she always gave room for debate on issues and was willing to hear out opposing views.

It’s unfortunate that her tenure was ended in this abrupt and questionable fashion. She’ll be missed from the board.

18
2
Reply
Mr. Seller

Keehan-Smith was PRO Amazon and ANTI bike lane, so it was only a matter of time before she got canned. It doesn’t matter if the anti-semitism and elder abuse charges are true or not. The mere accusation is all that is needed.

16
4
Reply
Leslie

JVB acts like he is a God. Get over it. Some people will disagree with you. This is your job, can’t handle criticism get out of the kitchen. Lee and JVB are acting more Trump like by the day. Getting rid of people who don’t agree with them.

21
2
Reply
Anonymous

Absolutely ridiculous. When eill the madness stop? When will 23 investigate jvb’s corruption? Mlk

24
Reply
RESIGN

There is a pandemic and civil unrest. Jimmy Van Brameer is a nasty do nothing who is paid a lot. He spends his time getting rid of good people. He won his bike battle. He just made the Community Board useless. Resign.

31
2
Reply
Joe

What are the positions taken on the bike lanes by Van Bramer and Keehan – Smith. This is incomplete info.

12
1
Reply
NYC the new Detroit

That’s the new routine now. Anytime you have a disagreement, arguement with or any other less than amicable relationship with a white person, just claim discrimination based on fill-in-the-blank.

No further discussion required.

22
Reply
To: QBP and CM Van Bramer

QBP Lee and CM Van Bramer should address the community this Thursday at the CB2 scheduled monthly meeting to explain their actions and the status of the investigation.

29
Reply
Joyce

I had called CB 2 several times and did speak to a Debra who was rude a few times to me. She was not helpful and always rushed me when I complain about the Hotel aka temp shelter on 53 St QB . I did not like her .

20
3
Reply

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

Popular places where you can watch the Super Bowl in Queens

Feb. 2, 2023 By Tammy Scileppi

Hey, football fans! Game time is fast approaching, and across the city and here in Queens, you can feel the excitement brewing as the two teams prepare to take the field on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 12. So, kick back and watch the big game, and don’t miss Rihanna’s exciting performance during halftime. 

Borough president hears from community members on budget needs throughout Queens

During a two-day public hearing on the mayor’s 2024 preliminary budget, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. listened to testimonies from 14 community board representatives, community stakeholders and members of the public on where the money should be spent in Queens. 

The public hearings were held both in-person and via Zoom on Monday, Jan. 30, and Tuesday, Jan. 31, at Queens Borough Hall. The testimonials will be used to develop the Queens Borough Board’s FY24 preliminary budget priorities in the coming weeks. 

‘He didn’t deserve to die’: Borough President Richards leads emotional candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards held a candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols outside Queens Borough Hall Monday, Jan. 30 after Nichols’ death at the hands of police officers in Memphis, Tenn., made national headlines for the brutality in which the officers beat him.

Almost immediately after news broke about Nichols’ death, the Memphis police officers who beat him to death were fired and charged with murder. The police department released the body cam footage of the fatal beating on Jan. 27, but many people, including some at the vigil, have refused to watch it due to its extremely graphic nature.

Op-Ed: This Year’s State Budget Must Prioritize Climate, Jobs, and Justice for New York

Op-Ed, Jan. 30, By Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas

In a time of rampant economic inequality and environmental injustice, it is easy to feel defeated.  Here in Queens and across New York State, however, communities are organizing for a better future. New Yorkers from different backgrounds and with different lived experiences are proving that we can build community, organize, and create a future that reflects our shared values.

LaGuardia Community College receives federal funding to expand vocational training for the unemployed

Jan. 27, 2023 By Bill Parry

LaGuardia Community College recently received more than $400,000 in federal funding to enhance and expand vocational training for underemployed New Yorkers in a city that is still working to recover from COVID-19 pandemic-induced job loss. The support was secured by U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez and former Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney.