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More Melodrama at Board 9 Meet

District Manager Feels ‘Harassed’

The district manager of Community Board 9 said the board’s chair is harassing her and the district office staff.

District Manager Mary Ann Carey alleged during the board’s meeting last Tuesday, Jan. 14, in Richmond Hill that Board 9 Chairperson James Coccovillo is micro-managing her office.

According to Carey, Coccovillo has been spending time in the office, looking over her shoulder and the shoulders of her staff.

“We feel threatened-our jobs feel threatened,” said Carey, who explained that she and her staff have contacted their union representatives. “We don’t need to be harassed, and that’s what’s happening.”

Coccovillo was not present at last Tuesday’s meeting due to illness, according to Vice Chairperson Ivan Mrakovcic.

In published reports, Coccovillo denied the charges and stated he did not intend to create animosity.

Carey’s charges came just a few months after the board debated firing the long-time district manager, instead voting to give Carey remedial training and ongoing performance reviews.

In a separate matter, the district manager clarified remarks she made to the New York Daily News about Ozone Park mobster John Gotti.

When the Daily News ran a story about vandalism in the neighborhood, several long-time residents claimed such petty crimes did not happen when Gotti was alive and active in the neighborhood.

Among those quoted was Carey, who told the Daily News: “We never had any problems when he was there, I can tell you that. This all started a year ago or two.”

Carey claimed the quote was taken out of context and that she was not speaking for the board, as indicated in the article. Board 9 voted to send a letter to the Daily News seeking a retraction.

Board member Alex Blenkinsopp said he was happy to hear that the quote was taken out of context.

Not long after the story was posted, Jan. 13, Blenkinsopp took to Twitter, saying: “Correction to this @NYDNQueens article: Community Board 9 absolutely did NOT ‘weigh in with support for Gotti.'”

Compost news

Representatives from the Queens Botanical Garden were also on hand to talk about a composting program the garden hosts.

The NYC Compost Project offers compost-related classes and workshops for families, community groups and schools, according to Project Coordinator Jeremy Teperman.

The program also gives technical support to urban composting programs and distributes Sanitation Department compost and mulch.

He explained the botanical garden’s Master Composter program, which trains and certifies 15 to 20 individuals per year as master composters.

The master composters can go on to form community gardens or work at gardens that have already been established, it was noted.

The program includes 24 hours of classroom instruction, two off-site field trips and 30 hours of community service helping advance small-scale composting in the city. Course materials cost $40 and the classes are open to those ages 18 and up. Limited scholarships are available, according to information from the Queens Botanical Garden.

NYC Compost Project is not affiliated with the curbside compost collection pilot program, it was noted.

Liquor licenses

The board voted to approve three liquor licenses and one cabaret license.

Board 9 issued support for a new liquor license for Fusion NYC, located at 124-12/14 101st Ave. in Richmond Hill.

It voted to support renewals for Richi Rich Place NY Inc. at 110- 17/19 Atlantic Ave. and Richmond Hill Restaurant at 123-07 Jamaica Ave.-both in Richmond Hill.

The board disapproved an application from El Rey (a billiards hall) at 75-16 Rockaway Blvd. after community members complained of problems at the site. It was noted the location was under different ownership at the time, and members of the 102 Precinct’s Community Affairs Unit confirmed there have not been issues at the site lately.

Finally, the board supported a new cabaret license for Maracas Club and Restaurant at 121-08 Jamaica Ave. in Richmond Hill.

Community Board 9 generally meets on the second Tuesday each month at 7:45 p.m. at locations across Kew Gardens, Ozone Park, Richmond Hill and Woodhaven. For further information, call Board 9’s Kew Gardens office at 1-718- 286-2686.

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