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CB9 Votes to Boot Board Member for Non-Attendance

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska | April 10, 2013 2:03pm

QUEENS — A Queens community board voted Tuesday to remove one of its members after he missed seven consecutive meetings, the board said.

Albert Cohen, a Forest Hills-based lawyer, whose company focuses on estate planning, has been a member of the board for about two years serving, on the land use committee, according to CB9, which covers Ozone Park, Woodhaven Richmond Hill and Kew Gardens.

A woman reached at his office Wednesday said that Cohen recently had two surgeries which had prevented him from attending the meetings.

But Community Board members were apparently not aware of his health problems.

“He missed many meetings and he didn’t communicate at all with the board,” said CB9 chairman James Coccovillo, adding that Cohen missed seven meetings, including Tuesday.

“We expect participation,” Coccovillo said. “He is supposed to have an interest in the community and in order to do that he should be present.”

The final decision will be made by the borough president, who appoints all the board members. 

Cohen, who in 2009 unsuccessfully ran for City Council, was not immediately available for comment. According to his law office website, he received a community-leadership award from Sen. Charles Schumer and the City Council gave a proclamation for his contributions to the city.

Only one board member, Maria Thomson, voted against the motion to remove Cohen. “There have been other people absent many times and they have never been brought to a vote,” she said.

Several board members said they barely knew Cohen. “He showed up once in a while and that was about it,” said one member, Richard Smith.

Dan Andrews, a spokesman for Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, said that “based on their vote the likelihood is that she will go along with the wishes of the board.”

“It’s a voluntary service and no one is appointed for life,” Andrews added. “For one reason or another — and attendance is a big one — a board member can be taken off the board.”

Community Boards meet 10 times a year and the position is unpaid.