2015-04-29 / Front Page

Donato, Hartmann To Retire


The year was 1972. Richard Nixon, Nelson Rockefeller, John Lindsay and Donald Manes were, respectively, President, Governor, Mayor and Borough President. It was also the year Vinicio Donato joined Community Board 1.

“The first time we had a meeting, there were eight people,” recalled Donato in his announcement he would step down after 43 years, 39 as Chairman, from the board in August.

Coming at the very end of the April 21 meeting, Donato prefaced the news of his impending absence by first announcing CB 1 District Manager Lucille Hartmann was retiring as of July 1, and therefore, is leaving as well.

In that instant, 80 years of combined institutional service by Ms. Hartmann and Mr. Donato flashed before a stunned and silent board membership and remaining at- tendees in the ballroom at the Astoria World Manor.

Keeping the business of the board in mind, Donato said the process of advertising for and selecting a new district manager would be the first priority.

“The new district manager comes first. Then you have to decide whom you want as your new chair,” he said.

“I have been blessed,” said Hartmann, who has been with CB 1 since 1978, becoming the district manager in 2008 after the retirement of George Delis. “I thank you all for the opportunity.”

Asked what role the board has in filling the vacancy, Donato said board members on the personnel committee receive the applications (for district manager) and meet. “I do not make a decision,” he said.

In January 1972, a subway token went up a nickel, from 30 cents to 35 cents on the BMT, IND and IRT lines. This year the fare increased a quarter, from $2.50 to $2.75.

Spanning all that time, Vinicio “Vinny” Donato has served, as all members of the city’s 59 community boards do, in an unsalaried capacity.

“It’s really been a pleasure,” Donato said.

State Senator Michael Gianaris said of Donato and Hartmann, “Vinny and Lucille deserve our thanks for their long and dedicated service to our neighborhood. I have worked hand in hand with both of these community leaders throughout my career in public service, and am proud to have stood side by side with them as we fought to make Astoria the wonderful place it is today. I wish both Vinny and Lucille the best in all that they do in the future.”

Councilman and City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer also released the following statement, “I thank Vinicio Donato for his four-plus decades of public service with Community Board 1, and acknowledge him for his commitment as an educator while at IS 10, where I attended as a kid. I commend Lucille Hartmann for her dedication to the communities of Community Board 1. Together, Vinny and Lucille cared deeply about the communities they served and worked hard every day to make Western Queens a better place.”

Donato was a member of the Astoria Civic Association Board of Directors; President of the Queens Museum from 1986 to 1988 and Chairperson from 1988 to 1990.

In other business, CB 1 Parks & Recreation/Cultural Affairs Chair Richard Khuzami said the city Landmarks Preservation Commission is moving toward granting the clock tower building in Queens Plaza landmark status.

“It looks like it will be approved,” said Khuzami.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission will vote on May 12, and CB 1 has sent a letter in support.

CB 1 Transportation Committee Chair Robert Piazza said the city has appropriated $55 million for a ferry dock at the Hallets Point development site.

“The ferry is coming to Astoria,” Piazza.

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