61st Pct Community Council Looks to Revamp Elections – QNS.com

61st Pct Community Council Looks to Revamp Elections

By Charles Hack

The 61st Precinct Community Council has a new team, but members say it’s time to change the regulations because one army reservist — who recently returned Iraq — was disqualified. The vote took place at the June meeting, held at the Bainbridge Adult Daycare Center at 3093 Ocean Avenue. Joe Foy was re-elected as president while Yves Ettienne was re-elected as vice president. Theresa Scarvo was re-elected treasurer, but handed her second job as recording secretary to Uzma Harris. Bill Glassman was elected sergeant-at-arms. Two candidates, whose names were added in onto the ballots by voters because there were no official nominations for assistant secretary and corresponding secretary, both declined to stand. Twenty-six people voted. Reservist Staff Sgt. Eric Rasmussen, who was sent to Iraq last year, was unable to attend a minimum number of meetings to qualify for office, even though he consistently attended meetings both before and after serving in Iraq. To qualify as a council member, a member must be present at a minimum of three meetings between April 1, 2004 and March 31, 2005 Rasmussen said that he had the regulations and had withdrawn his name voluntarily. But some declared this to be unfair, when jobs and benefits are protected by law for reservists who serve. “Someone who has served in our country during a time of war under the law can keep their benefits when they return,” said a member of the public. Foy said that the council consulted the NYPD headquarters at One Police Plaza for clarification. A determination was made that the regulations apply to service men and women. “This goes to a bigger problem; the counsel regulations are vague in certain situations,” said Foy, who said that the community council generally has a very cooperative relationship with the Police Department. “We have a sub-committee which is looking at these items and trying to identify those weaknesses.” Another area of the regulations that lacks clarity relates to where a council member leaves mid-term, or is absent. Each council member must move into a higher position. This could lead members taking positions for which they are not qualified. Foy also said that he was concerned that these rules might discourage reservists from volunteering in the community. “Members at large were very distressed by this,” Foy said. “How do you encourage people to become actively involved, if they serve their military duty and come back and then they find they cannot be a board member any more, and are also ineligible to cast a vote?” Foy who thanked all the outgoing members, also paid tribute to Rasmussen’s work for the community. “This guy has always been into community work,” Foy said. “He never has been outside community work as long as I have known him. He has an interest in pursuing other things in the community.”

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