Staten Island Community Board Members Told to Learn About Local Government

By Nicholas Rizzi on June 12, 2014 4:16pm 

 Borough President James Oddo announced a two-hour seminar on how the city's government works for all current and new community board members in the borough. In the future, all new members will be required to take the class, Oddo said.
Borough President James Oddo announced a two-hour seminar on how the city's government works for all current and new community board members in the borough. In the future, all new members will be required to take the class, Oddo said.
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DNAinfo/Nicholas Rizzi

STATEN ISLAND — Staten Island's borough president wants every community board member to get a lesson on local politics.

Borough President James Oddo announced all new members of the island's three community boards need to take a two-hour class on the basics of the city's government and the role the boards play.

"Serving on a community board is an important way for citizens to get involved with their local government and I take my job of appointing community board members very seriously," Oddo said in a release.

"The reality is that effective community boards have members from a variety of backgrounds and fields, which means that many members don’t have extensive government experience. This workshop is meant to fill in the gap by providing community board members with an understanding of the responsibilities of each level of government, including the role of community boards."

To school the members, Oddo worked with the College of Staten Island to create a seminar for all board members in the borough on Sept. 13, with a makeup session for observers of the Jewish Sabbath.

"We will examine their legal powers and responsibilities under the City Charter, and how they have evolved over the past several years," said Richard Flanagan, chairman of the Department of Political Science and Global Affairs at the college.

"The boards play an important role in city government. We hope the workshop gives the community leaders who serve on the boards an opportunity for learning, reflection and discussion."

The seminar will be held repeatedly as new members join community boards in the future, Oddo said. He wants to expand the plan to other civic groups.

And for people or groups who just want to be more informed about the workings of the city's government, Oddo plans to share the curriculum for free.

Oddo recently put out a call to boost the number of new applicants for seats on Staten Island's community boards, which netted more than 70 potential members.

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