LIC Chamber Approves Bylaws, Adds Board Members
At the April Long Island City Chamber of Commerce luncheon, Victor Clavie, a member of the chamber’s board of directors, questioned the wisdom of voting to approve bylaws before everyone could look them over, and was supported by a majority of the voting members. Brent O’Leary, board member and counsel to the chamber, opened the May meeting by reading the bylaws and explaining the changes and corrections he had made to them and hoped that now the bylaws could be put to a vote. Clavie disagreed, saying that O’Leary’s revised version was submitted too close to the May meeting for adequate assessment. Eventually a vote was taken on the bylaws and also on three nominees for the board, over Clavie’s objections. Finally he read a statement that further questioned foregoing procedures and lamented that the new chamber was essentially undemocratic. Chamber Chairman of the Board Arthur Rosenfield, at one point, commended Clavie for his spirit of inquiry but still set himself against him.
Rosenfield said the past year and a half, during which time he has tried to get the chamber of commerce created and functioning, has been hard. He has had to talk to persons in two community board districts and two business improvement districts (soon to be three, reportedly), trying to persuade those with territorial and other opinions that a chamber reaching from Long Island City to Astoria would be of benefit to them. He said that at the moment, the new chamber has no membership fees set—and consequently, no bank account. Getting bylaws approved and a board of directors fully formed is necessary and shouldn’t be delayed, he said.
Clavie, in a statement passed around to attendees and read aloud by him after the meeting was adjourned, commended Rosenfield for his dedication, but said also that the board Rosenfield selected has been in existence “many months” and has shown no sign of activity. Adding three more nominees to such a board would be no improvement, he contended. Rosenfield said that current and proposed board members are businesspersons who are too much concerned with their own enterprises to have much time to carry out chamber tasks and issue committee reports in the democratic atmosphere that Clavie idealizes. Clavie, viewing the nominees Rosenfield proposed, tried to add a nominee of his own, attorney Edward Horn, but Rosenfield called the action out of order and Horn himself declined, saying that the standing process was better than the insurgent one.
The motion to approve the vote on the bylaws was passed and the bylaws were then approved by everyone except Clavie. The three nominees proposed by Rosenfield for election to the board were Elias Psarros of the Sheraton Four Points hotel in Dutch Kills and UTOG car service; Debra Guthrie M.D., an ophthalmologist with an office in Sunnyside, and Raquel Salas of Big City Graph-x. These too were approved by everyone except Clavie. After the meeting was adjourned, Clavie read his statement.