Brooklyn Community Board 1 (CB1) purchased a Toyota RAV4 Hybrid SUV at the cost of $26,000 with funds intended to help NYC community boards. CB1 “was the only one of the city’s 59 community boards to use any of the $42,500 budget-booster to buy a vehicle,” a new report from THE CITY claims.
The Toyota purchase, which is “the board’s single largest expense outside of payroll” was cleared by CB1’s executive committee. The board’s base budget is $288,000.
THE CITY goes on to explain that CB1 board manager of 40 years Gerald Esposito whose salary last year was $123,535, lives four blocks away from where the SUV is parked in a designated space at the corner of Graham Avenue and Frost Street.
The eight-member executive committee’s decision to spend $26,000 on an SUV from a one-time $42,500 city grant raised questions from other CB1 members, as THE CITY reports:
Earlier this week, some board members said they were surprised and dismayed when they learned of the vehicle purchase during a recent CB1 meeting. The SUV marks the board’s largest single expense outside of payroll.
“What? A vehicle? What is it used for?” board member Ryan Kuonen recalled asking at the May 14 board meeting.
“To go different places,” replied Dealice Fuller, the board’s chairperson, according to Kuonen and two other people who attended the meeting.
I still can’t believe #BKCB1 bought a car. I heard it with my own ears. I can remember exactly how the chair sounded when she said “go different places” to explain why they needed a car. But it just seems unreal.
— Mike Cherepko (@mikecherepko) May 15, 2019
New limits that were approved by NYC voters last fall took effect this April to cap the number of terms members can serve. Under the new rule, community board members are limited to four consecutive two-term limits, and borough presidents are encouraged to find “persons of diverse backgrounds” to serve.