By Madina Toure
Community Board 7 bid farewell to District Manager Marilyn Bitterman, who will be retiring from the board in August after 40 years.
Bitterman was honored at CB7’s monthly board meeting at Union Care Plaza Center in downtown Flushing Monday night. Her last district service cabinet meeting is June 24. CB7 Chairman Gene Kelty announced her retirement in a memo. Bitterman also wrote a letter to board members.
Kelty credited Bitterman with training board members and showing them the ropes.
“It is nice being the chairman at this time when she was the district manager,” he said. “It was a privilege for me to have her have my back.”
Bitterman joined CB7 in January 1976 as a part-time employee but increased her hours over the years. In 1984, she became a full-time employee as the assistant district manager and then assumed the role of district manager in 1998.
She said the main factor leading to her decision to retire is that she is executor to her brother-in-law’s will and estate and she has to take care of his nephew.
“I’m speechless,” she said as board members and elected officials applauded for her. “Actually it was not an easy decision to make.”
Councilman Peter Koo (D-Flushing), who gave her a proclamation, congratulated her for the time she has devoted to community service for CB 7, which covers Flushing, Whitestone, College Point and Bay Terrace.
“It’s not easy to serve as a district manager for so many years,” Koo said.
Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Bayside), who gave her a certificate, remarked during the meeting that Bitterman was still doing her job.
“She’s taking attendance while we’re honoring her!” Vallone said. “She never stops, she never stops. She’s there all the time. She’s in my office.”
State Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Flushing) said she had a big responsibility given that CB7 is one of the largest community boards in New York City.
“I had to make sure I stopped by this very special evening, our last community board meeting with our very dear Marilyn Bitterman,” he said. “She’s been with us for so many years.”
A representative for City Comptroller Scott Stringer also read a statement on behalf of Stringer praising Bitterman.
She has a husband, Jack; two children, Noel and Tracy; and three grandchildren, Gabriel, Sadie and Cassidy.
She is currently co-president of the Bay Terrace Garden Jewish Center. She served on the Borough President’s Flushing Meadows Corona Park coordinating committee, the turning point initiative that addressed health care priorities for Queens as well as the Queens Traffic Safety Board.
She also worked on the Flushing Fantastic, an international street festival that raised funds for youth programs in the community. She served on the Northeast Queens Network with the Administration for Children’s Services on programs dealing with domestic violence, foster care and culturally sensitive projects.
She currently sits on the Community Advisory Boards of Flushing Hospital as well as NewYork/Presbyterian-Queens and is involved with the College Point Corporate Park development, the Cooper Cary Study for the redevelopment of downtown Flushing and waterfront and the Willets Point neighborhood.
James Cervino, chairman of the Environmental Committee, provided a health update on the Zika virus, saying that the virus could make its way to northeast Queens by late summer.
Detective Kevin O’Donnell of the 109th Precinct updated board members on the precinct’s community policing program launched in April that breaks up the precinct’s coverage area into six quadrants, each of which has 10 dedicated police officers. There was also a presentation on the North Shore Marine Transfer Station in College Point.
Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtour