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New District Manager for Queens' CB1 Rose Up From Assistant Position

By Jeanmarie Evelly | September 17, 2015 8:45am
 Florence Koulouris, the new district manager for Queens Community Board 1.
Florence Koulouris, the new district manager for Queens Community Board 1.
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DNAinfo/Jeanmarie Evelly

ASTORIA — Queens Community Board 1 has a new district manager.

Florence Koulouris, 52, started the position last month after working for years as an assistant to the board's former district manager Lucille Hartmann, who retired from the post in June.

Koulouris comes into the role during a time of change for CB1, which includes Astoria, parts of Long Island City and Woodside. The board's chairman for close to 40 years, Vinicio Donato, stepped down in June, as did Hartmann, who'd been involved with the board for decades.

"It's a huge transition," said Koulouris.

A native Astorian who spent her childhood eating spumoni at La Guli's Pastry Shop and getting slices at the now-shuttered Frankie's Pizza, Koulouris later moved to Long Island. She now lives in Douglaston, Queens — though she spends most of her time in Astoria.

"I do everything but sleep here," she said. "My life is here."

Before working for CB1 as Hartmann's assistant, Koulouris worked in marketing, and spent several years selling ads for the Queens Gazette, often to businesses in Astoria. That experience helped her get to know the local community, and served as a good primer for her job with the board. 

"I'm a people person. I like working with the public," she said. "I knew the restaurants, I knew the business owners, I knew what was going on in the community, I was familiar with the politicians. It was a very clean transition."

She worked in the CB1 office for eight years, answering phones, typing up letters, and sitting in on meetings when Hartmann was out. It was an obvious next step to apply for the district manager job when Hartmann vacated the post, Koulouris said.

"It's been really exciting," she said of her years working for the board. "It's been inspirational watching the board members do what they do."

Since taking over as district manager last month, she said she's looking for new ways to help the board engage with the community, including creating Facebook and Twitter accounts for the board for the first time.

Community board district managers play a number of roles: they field complaints from residents in the district, process permits for streets fairs and block parties, and help carry out the work of the board members.

"We help the neighborhood to rectify problems with city agencies. We're a middle man if you will — a liaison between the community and city," Koulouris said.

"I love that part of the job," she added. "It's very rewarding to be able to help people."

The next Community Board 1 meeting will take place Monday, Sept. 21 at the Astoria World Manor at 25-22 Astoria Blvd. A public hearing on the board's capital budget will take place at 6 p.m., with the general board meeting starting at 7 p.m.