Chair of Queens Community Board 2, Pat O’Brien, steps down to focus on family

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Less than two years after taking the job, Queens Community Board 2 Chairperson Pat O’Brien announced on Thursday he would be stepping down from the post.

O’Brien was elected in December 2014 after Joe Conley, who served in the position for two decades, stepped down. Community Board 2 (CB 2) serves the neighborhoods of Long Island City, Woodside and Sunnyside.

“The commitment and time is incredible and as many of you know I have my own business, I have my own family and with some of you who I’ve had the great privilege to know I’m an all-in guy,” O’Brien said. “There are 24 hours in a day. That’s not enough time to do all the things that I want to do or should do to the standard that I expect of myself.”

O’Brien is also the owner of his own law office and chairs the City Services and Public Committee. Though he is stepping down as chair, O’Brien said he would still like to remain on the board.

He added that he contemplated resigning for months and ultimately realized that he had to prioritize his family. O’Brien said he timed his departure to coincide with the summer board schedule, which is slower. This way, his replacement will face an easier transition.

“We have done great work. I followed somebody who has done it for decades [former CB 2 Chair Joe Conley] with great results,” O’Brien said. “I tried to do the best that I could. We accomplished a number of good things, but we certainly have more to accomplish.”

He also said that he confided in several board members before his announcement and was disappointed to hear that a board member leaked the news to a local blog.

“The only regret I have in the trust that I placed in a handful of people is that one of them apparently chose to share it with the media,” O’Brien said. “I’m not disappointed in the media that they would do that. Those are the games that sometimes get played. I don’t like them. I think depending on the motivation behind it it can be despicable.”

The board will take nominations at CB 2’s next meeting on June 2 and will also vote then. Two board members nominated Secretary Denise Keehan-Smith, who is also the chair of the CB 2 Transportation Committee.

Whoever is elected in June must also be elected during official board elections, which take place in November.

“I hope that as we move forward, we’re going to be in good hands, and I’ll do anything I can to help the next chair along,” O’Brien concluded.

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