34th Precinct Council Cancels December Meeting Even as NYPD Schedules It

By Nigel Chiwaya on December 4, 2013 9:21am 

 Communicty Council head George Espinal and the 34th Precinct have been sending out differing messages about December's monthly meeting.
Communicty Council head George Espinal and the 34th Precinct have been sending out differing messages about December's monthly meeting.
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DNAinfo/Claudio E. Cabrera

WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — For the second consecutive month, the head of the 34th precinct and its community council are clashing over the monthly public meeting — with one side saying December's meeting is cancelled for the holidays and the other saying it will go forward as planned.

On Friday, embattled 34th Precinct Community Council president George Espinal posted a message on the group's Facebook page telling locals that the council would not be holding a public meeting in December, citing the end-of-year holidays as the cause.

"In past years we did not hold meetings in December due to the major holidays at the end of the year," Espinal wrote. "Majority of Precinct Community Council's throughout the City do not hold meetings in the month of December."

But the 34th Precinct sent out a different message on Monday, telling residents in an email that the community council would be meeting on Dec. 18 at the precinct's 183rd Street headquarters.

The email noted that there would be no public session in the meeting, but that precinct head Inspector Barry Buzzetti would be on hand to listen to concerns after the meeting.

The feud between the precinct and community council reached a boiling point last month, when both groups held dueling meetings at two different locations on Nov. 20, prompting Buzzetti to direct officers to escort residents from Espinal's meeting to the precinct.

Last month Buzzetti told residents that the he was the definitive source of information on the precinct council, saying that the precinct can schedule meetings if the council fails to set a location 10 days prior to the meeting.

Community Council guidelines provided to DNAinfo by the precinct say that the council is required to hold at least eight meetings per calendar year and that the president must preside at all of them.

The council's October meeting was marked by a prayer to Jesus that sparked a shouting match between the council's recording secretary and community members.

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