- See more at: http://blogtimenow.com/blogging/automatically-redirect-blogger-blog-another-blog-website/#sthash.Q6qPkwFC.dpuf Community Board 5 elects new Chair | Bronx News Networkbronx

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Community Board 5 elects new Chair

Community Board 5 board members voted, this evening, to oust current chairperson, Beverly Smith, and replace her with Bola Omotosho, a Nigerian-born doctor currently working out of Jacobi Medical Center. Omotosho officially takes over in September. He won by 16 votes to 4.

Smith, who works for the civilian arm of the NYPD, has been on the Board for 17 years and the chair, an unpaid position, for the last two. Her future plans include running for City Council. She says she has her eye on Council Member Helen Diane Foster's District 16 seat in the South Bronx. (Due to term limits, Foster's time is up at end of 2009.) Smith says she'll quit the Board for good in January to start campaigning.

Omotosho, a quieter less authoritative figure than Smith, describes himself as a good listener. Prior to the vote, he talked briefly about the "desperate need for new leadership," and how he wants to "work with everybody" and bring back "dignity and trust." Later, he said he had great respect for Smith, who he described as an "encyclopedia of this community." (Smith has lived in the neighborhood for four decades.)

The margin of victory suggests Omotosho has the Board behind him. He may have a harder time winning over the core group of local residents who attend the Board's monthly public meetings. Several, clearly disappointed to see Smith go, talked over his acceptance speech. "He doesn't have the experience," lamented Louella Hatch, the 46th Precinct's passionate (and outspoken) community council president. "He'll do whatever they tell him do to." By "they" Hatch said she meant the Board's district manager, Xavier Rodriguez.

Community Board 5 serves Mount Hope, Morris Heights, and parts of University Heights and Fordham. They'll be more about Omotosho, and his plans for the district, in the next print edition of the Mount Hope Monitor coming out July 25.

Community Board 7, in the northwest Bronx, is also going through a transitional period, following district manager Rita Kessler's recent decision to retire. Tomorrow's Norwood News looks back at her 17 years at the helm. We'll link to the story when it's on-line.

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