2008-03-26 / Features

Delis Announces Retirement


Delis has been a mainstay in the community, both professionally and personally, for more than three decades. Delis has been a mainstay in the community, both professionally and personally, for more than three decades. On May 1, 1972, George Delis started at Community Board 1. He recalled John Lindsay was mayor of New York City.

For some perspective, the subway fare went up to 35 cents from 30 cents, the New York Police Department assigned female police officers to patrol for the first time and the Long Island Expressway opened its final section, out to Riverhead that year.

Coming full circle, Delis announced his retirement from Community Board 1, effective May 1, 2008. He has been its district manager since August 1977.

"I've watched this community grow and I've been very pleased to be part of this community," Delis said at the March meeting of Community Board 1.

"Through the years, we've done a lot of great things, the list is so long," Delis said. "But it's time to wrap it up."

After a stunned silence, members of the board and the audience broke into an extended round of applause to show their appreciation to Delis.

Delis has been a mainstay in the community, both professionally and personally, for more than three decades. He ran, unsuccessfully, for the state senate in 1998. He gave no indication of future plans.

Delis, who shortened his name from Deligianis, made his announcement one week before the celebration of Greek Independence Day on March 25. Astoria has the largest concentration of Greekspeaking residents outside of Athens.

Among his many accomplishments, Delis has been very closely associated with Athens Square Park, of which he is both a founder and committee member. In 1990, a $1 million capital reconstruction of the park was funded by the city.

"We wish you good things," said Board Member Rose Marie Poveromo, while fellow Board Member Mary O'Hara welcomed Delis "to the other side of the hill".

George Stamatiades, summing up the sentiment of the board, said, "Thank you for everything, George. We love you and God speed."

The main responsibility of the Community Board 1 district office is to receive and resolve complaints from community residents, according to the Mayor's Community Assistance Unit, which oversees all 59 community boards in the city.

Community boards also assist with senior citizen rent increase exemption forms, housing assistance applications, and halffare applications. In addition, they process permits for street fairs, and applications to the Department of Consumer Affairs for various licenses.

Each community board has its own office, district manager and staff. The district manager and community board staff are hired by the community board and serve at the board's pleasure.

District managers play many different roles. They are municipal managers, information sources, community organizers, mediators and advocates.

Assistant District 1 Manager Lucille Hartmann has worked with Delis for almost all of his tenure. Chair Vinicio Donato said the board will follow a procedure outlined by the Borough President's Office to fill the impending vacancy.

A motion in support of Hartmann, was unanimously approved by the board.

The Community Board 1 district office will temporarily relocate from its offices at the Museum of the Moving Image at 36- 01 35th Ave. during the expansion and renovation project the museum is undertaking.

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