Over the summer, longtime district manager of Brooklyn’s Community Board 1 Gerald Esposito stunned the board and locals alike after suddenly resigning from the position in which he served for 45 years, without a clear transition plan or advance notice to his colleagues.
On an August 31 call, Chair Dealice Fuller made the announcement on Esposito’s behalf. Esposito chimed in to say that he had given his notice to Chair Fuller two weeks prior, and his retirement would be effective immediately. Board members clamored to know why they hadn’t been informed once Chair Fuller knew of Esposito’s decision. She replied that “it didn’t occur to me that we should inform the whole board.”
At a later meeting, the Board ultimately learned from the office of the Borough President that the current budget did not currently include money to hire a new district manager until the fiscal year 2023. As THE CITY reported, Esposito accumulated so much vacation time which needed to be paid out before the Board could even hire a new person in the role.
The situation came up again during last night’s Public Hearing and Executive Board meeting. During the public session of the meeting, two community members spoke out against what they felt was a lack of transparency and competence in handling the situation.
“I’m feeling like the community board that I’ve been really trying to be a part of, it just doesn’t feel like I can be a part of it. It feels like a lot of decisions are very opaque, and I just don’t really understand how the executive board works,” said local Kim Fraczek, who called for the chair and vice chair to step down.
“This has been an embarrassment to our neighborhood and our community, the way that this has been handled. The fact that the chair knew for two weeks prior to letting the Executive Board know is shocking,” said local activist Kevin LaCherra, who called for the Board to take accountability and also asked that the chair and vice chair step down.
Board member Giovanni DAmato introduced a motion of no confidence in the chair and first vice chair, for their failure to carry out their duties as outlined by the bylaws, specifically in terms of failing to inform the board immediately of the intention of the district manager to retire. DAmato also mentioned that the chair had never provided the executive board with a monthly report on the work of the district manager, which he said was outlined in the bylaws.
According to the Board’s bylaws, a vote of confidence is largely symbolic and does not directly lead to anyone’s removal from office.
The vote failed, with 9 in favor of a vote of no confidence, 15 against, and 6 abstentions.
Chair Fuller said when Esposito told her about his intentions to retire, she was going through a family crisis and did not have the energy or time to alert the rest of the Board.