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Queens Community Board 2 to Continue to Hold Meetings Remotely

A monthly Community Board 2 meeting held at Sunnyside Community Services prior to the outbreak of COVID-19 in March 2020 (Photo: Queens Post)

Sept. 7, 2022 By Christian Murray

Queens Community Board 2 will continue to hold its meetings remotely when it restarts after the summer break on Thursday.

The board planned to resume in person meetings this month at Sunnyside Community Services, but many members and the public remain wary about the health risks pertaining to COVID-19. The board has not met in person since the outbreak of COVID-19 in March 2020.

Community Board 2 Chair Morry Galonoy said the board investigated holding the meetings on a hybrid basis but decided against it due to the high costs of doing so and the strict state requirements set by the Open Meetings Law.

Hybrid meetings, according to the law, would require at least half the members of the board to turn up in person, and those members who aren’t able participate in person would have to be seen on screen for the public to see.

“We don’t really have the budget to handle AV (Audiovisual) equipment and the technology to host hybrid meetings,” Galonoy said.

Galonoy said that it became clear that the board either had to choose between doing the meetings 100 percent in person or remotely.

“I had heard people say, ‘We really want to be back in person,’ and I was looking forward to it also, but we took a survey of the board to find out what the members thought.”

Community Board 2 Chair Morry Galonoy (Photo courtesy of M Galonoy)

Galonoy said that almost 60 percent of the board believed that holding the meetings remotely made the most sense at this time. He said 13 percent advocated for hybrid, if possible, with the remainder calling for in person.

“Some people are comfortable being in public and some people aren’t—and that is the challenge,” Galonoy said.

Galonoy said that he doesn’t believe that meetings will always be held remotely. He anticipates that there will be a way for them to be held in a hybrid manner when the cost is more manageable.

However, he believes that since the meetings have gone virtual, there has been an increase in engagement among the board members as well as the public.

“I would hate to see us lose that,” Galonoy said. “Whether it’s the public or the board members, it’s great.”

The board lists its meetings on its calendar page with the links to the Zoom meetings. Committee meetings are also held via Zoom and the public is permitted to listen in on them.

This Thursday the board is holding a hearing pertaining to a rezoning application at 58-02 Northern Blvd., where the applicant aims to build a 2-story Lincoln auto dealership.

The full board will also weigh in on the council redistricting proposal for District 26. A board task force has already announced its opposition to the new boundaries.

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10 Comments

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Dylan

They obviously fear facing people in person because they know their agenda is often unpopular. It’s easy to mute someone on Zoom, but not in person.

This a cowardly move. It is also arrogant and shows contempt for the community they are supposed to be serving.

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Right decision

This is the right move. It opens up the meetings to more people, including board members, to attend. I have noticed that a number of people on the meetings are indeed still in the office, or even not in the metropolitan area, and otherwise would not have been able to attend. Does this format favor young progressives? Yes, it might. But then again they vote in the highest numbers in the neighborhood, have a full slate of elected officials, and basically dominate the neighborhood anyway. I can say that young busy people were less likely to go to and stay at the in person meetings. So this is a positive and inclusive move by the board. Great decision!

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Call it what it is!

Are they really concerned of covid? With NYC having a high rate of vaccinated people, plus masks readily available, I’m sure this group has no problem going to work, going out to socialize with family and friends, grocery shopping, etc. It’s time for CB-2 members to be responsible, hold accountability, and stop being lazy. I know for a fact other Community Boards are meeting in person.

The irony? I know someone who was VERY well qualified who was turned down for CB-2. One of the requirements was supposed to be to be present IN-PERSON for monthly meetings. This includes everyone!

Also, for all those in CB-2 who read these comments, I suggest to stop letting developers build $2,000 “affordable” studios. It’s a joke developers are given permission to construct unnecessary buildings, which does absolutely nothing to improve the community.

Want to improve the community, put more lights in parks, including by the 52 train station, by the 48 street park, and along the cemetery, where drug use is rampant.

If CB-2 doesn’t want to show up in person to required monthly meetings, then there should be a new election for folks who actually want to make a difference…in person!

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Anonymous

Why? It’s more convenient and more people attend a zoom then can fit in the physical space. Are you trying to prevent the public from attending?

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Lela

Your comment is absurd. They are afraid to face the public. They have more control by building behind screens. They are b far the worst community board we’ve had in decades. They know only what their political hero’s tell them, having no actual life experience here in the community they disdain. They are like an episode of the little rascals, kids dressed up like adults pretending to know what they are doing. Funny on screen but despicable in real life. Yet mouthing anyone with knowledge and experience can change a thing, our former duplicitous leaders saw to that.

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NiNa

We don’t have to read it to know. They exhibit it with every disappearance behind a screen, every failure to include citizens and reach out to those without access to computers or lacking the skills to operate virtually. Blind moles with no contact except with the backside of the mole the follow.

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