Brooklynites looking to make a difference in their neighborhoods are in luck, as you have nine more days to apply to join your local community board.
Antonio Reynoso, the Brooklyn Borough President, announced that the application deadline would be extended until Feb. 23, giving concerned citizens a little more time to join the civic panels.
Community Board membership is an entry-level local government position, with little to no prerequisites — only a passion for helping your neighbors and your neighborhood.
Applicants are not required to have any prior governmental experience or connections. Instead, they are only asked to be 16 years or older and to have a link to the community district they would be serving in. This requirement is put in place to ensure better representation of the actual community.
Joining a community board is a simple process that includes interviews and written applications. The final decision and appointment of community board members is made by the Borough President, along with the local council member representing the area.
There are 59 total boards, 18 of them in Brooklyn, and each is designated to a community district of up to 250,000 people.
Community boards consist of a small paid staff, along with up to fifty unpaid members who all are connected to the community in some capacity.
The panels are tasked with discussing issues regarding improvements to community districts regarding education, transportation, health, land and public safety.
Full board meetings are held monthly to consider these subjects and are open to the public. The goal of these discussions is to consider and vote on issues in the community district.
When a vote has been cast, it is released to the public, to agencies, and to elected leaders as recommendations.
Despite Community Boards’ power being restricted to that of providing advice or guidance, which can technically be ignored, their recommendations are often taken into serious consideration by city leaders.
Additionally, board members have a lot of informal power through institutional knowledge as well as access to the first wrung on the governmental ladder at this grassroots level.