2017-09-13 / Front Page

Community Board 1 Elects Torniali Chair

By Richard Gentilviso

Community Board 1 got right down to business, electing Marie Torniali board Chair at the board’s September 12 meeting.

Torniali topped fellow board members Norma Nieves-Blas and Daniel Aliberti on the first ballot negating any repeat of the tie vote that occurred back in September 2015, between Joseph Risi and George Stamatiades.

The final tally was Torniali 23 votes, Nieves-Blas 17 and Albierti 3.

Risi, who stepped down as board chair in June after his appointment to the bench of the New York Court of Claims, was present for the vote at the Astoria Manor to “say hello to my former colleagues and lifelong friends. Keep doing a great job,” he said.

Torniali, the Executive Director of Central Astoria Local Development Coalition (CALDC) and a resident of Astoria for 40 years, was appointed to Community Board 1 in 2010. In a May 25, 2016 interview, she told the Gazette, “(Astoria is) home to the young and old, families and singles (and) Astoria’s character speaks of a neighborhood where people know and look out for each other.”

John Katsanos, Chair of the Legal, Legislative & Parliamentary Committee gave a presentation prior to the election of the revised, updated Community Board 1 Queens’ bylaws, which now include provisions for term limits of Executive Board officers.

Katsanos said the bylaws are a revision of the previous laws based on input from Risi and the board’s membership. “It’s a collaborative effort,” he said, adding, “(The board) will continue to amend as they evolve. (They’re) not meant to be perfect.”

Under the updated bylaws, board officers, namely the chair, first vice chair, second vice chair, third vice chair, executive secretary and sergeant-at-arms are elected “at the full board meeting in January of the calendar year” and serve a two-year term, beginning January 1, following the board officer’s election and ending on December 31 of the second calendar year.  

Katsanos said this provision requires another election for board chair in January 2018.

In addition, no board officer “shall serve as such for more than three (3) consecutive two-year terms” under the revised laws. The bylaws were approved by a vote of 42 to 1 and take effect immediately although the term limits provisions don’t go into effect until January 2018.

With Torniali’s election, Nieves-Blas, a member of the board since 1987 and Chair of the Capital/Expense & Budget/Financing Committee, returns to her previous position as First Vice-Chair. “I congratulate Marie and will remain working with you,” she said.

Aliberti, a board member for almost 20 years, is Chair of the Access and Disability Committee, which he began as a CB 1 standing committee about 10 years ago.

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