By Betsy Scheinbart
After more than 26 years as a city councilman, Deputy Majority Leader Archie Spigner (D-St. Albans) said “goodbye” to Community Board 12 members and other southeast Queens organizations in December, but promised not to be a stranger in the neighborhood.
Spigner, 73, cruised into the community board meeting Dec. 12, shaking hands along the way before taking his seat in the audience and taking his turn at the podium in his last appearance before the group as a city councilman.
He was unable to run for re-election this year due to term limits and will be succeeded by his longtime chief aide, Leroy Comrie.
Fresh from a road trip to Florida earlier in the month, Spigner was in good spirits and positive about his transition to post-city council life.
“We have over the last number of years done a lot to improve our community,” Spigner said, noting that compared to 1974 — the year he was elected — the Community Board 12 neighborhood “is a better place to live in and a better place to work in.”
The board covers many of the neighborhoods Spigner represented, including Jamaica, St. Albans, Hollis, South Jamaica and part of Springfield Gardens.
In the 27th Council District, Spigner also represented Cambria Heights and parts of Queens Village and Rosedale.
Spigner said he was happy to have Comrie “as the one to pass the torch to.”
At an event in Jamaica Dec. 20, Spigner told the audience, “the greatest thing you ever did for me was to elect Leroy Comrie to succeed me.”
Comrie will be officially installed as a city councilman Jan. 4, he said.
Spigner joked about running for election to the community board, but said in all seriousness that he would not fall off the neighborhood map. “I’m not moving,” he added.
Before his tenure in the Council, Spigner worked at a shoe factory in Manhattan. He later got a job with the Fifth Avenue Coach Co. driving a bus and then moved to the Transit Authority, where he worked from the early 1960s until 1969.
As people repeatedly asked him what he was planning to do next year, Spigner said he has begun to answer “not much,” jesting that he will take some time to relax after 27 years in the Council. That leaves him plenty of time to attend community board meetings and civic events, he said.
Reach reporter Betsy Scheinbart by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 138.