It has been about four months since the 2012 Presidential election in which President Barack Obama was re-elected to another four year term. Did you know that in 2013 there is yet another election for President? This time it’s for the office of Queens Borough President.
2013 is a very important year for the City of New York. This year voters will elect a new Mayor, Comptroller, Public Advocate, City Council Members and Borough Presidents. Queens County residents will elect a new Borough President as the current Borough President Helen Marshall is term limited out of office after serving three consecutive terms. In fact the next Queens Borough President will be the 19th Borough President in Queens County history. Did you know that Frederick Bowley was the first Queens Borough President serving from 1898 – 1901.
Not many people know what the Borough President does. According to the Green Book (official directory of the City of New York) “The Borough Presidents are the executive officials of each borough. The City Charter gives them authority to: work with the Mayor in preparing the annual executive budget submitted to the City Council and to propose borough budget priorities directly to the council; review and comment on major land use decisions and propose sites for city facilities within their respective boroughs; monitor and modify the delivery of city services within their boroughs; and engage in strategic planning for their boroughs. Each Borough President appoints member of the City Planning Commission. Each Borough President is a trustee of the New York City Employees Retirement System. The Borough Presidents appoint members of the Community Boards, who serve without compensation, and each chairs a Borough Board. Each Borough President maintains a topographical bureau”.
About three weeks ago, I had the chance to meet the next Queens Borough President. The Bay Terrace Community Alliance, of which I am the second Vice President, held a Queens Borough President candidates forum. All of the declared candidates attended. The candidates for Queens Borough President in 2013 are businessman Everly Brown, State Senator Tony Avella, City Councilman Leroy Comrie, Former Queens Deputy Borough President Barry Grodenchik, Former City Councilwoman Melinda Katz, State Senator Jose Peralta and City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. All of the candidates are very passionate about Queens County. They all seemed to have a vision for Queens and they all would make a great Borough President.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy it is clear that Queens County needs a strong and effective Borough President. All of the other boroughs besides Manhattan often don’t receive the funding and resources we need from City Hall. We need someone who is going to work tirelessly to ensure that we receive our fair share from City Hall. Except for Mr. Brown, whom I just met, I’ve known all these candidates for a very long time. I think very highly of all of them. I have absolutely no idea who is going to win this race but I do know that whoever wins will be a terrific Borough President.