Longtime Community Board 18 district manager Dottie Turano will step down from her post later this month, marking an end to her nearly four decades of community service.
“During the last several weeks I have been procrastinating in writing this email,” Turano wrote in an email to board members. “After 38 years of public service, the majority of which has been with the Community Board, originally as the Youth Coordinator and subsequently as the District Manager, I and my family believe that it is time to close this chapter in my life and retire.”
Turano, who raised her children in Canarsie and now resides on Mill Island, began her longstanding career in civil service advocating for southern Brooklyn’s school children as an elected member of the local school board, and as the leader of parent associations at both of her son’s schools.
“During the course of my involvements in our community, I have worn many hats,” she wrote, adding that she is “proud that Canarsie was the launching pad” for her career in civil service — and in her sons’ careers as physicians.
Turano eventually became a member of Community Board 18, and first took on a leadership role as the board’s youth coordination. She then went on to succeed Frank Seddio as district manager in 1985, citing the former Kings County Democratic Party Boss as a good friend and an inspiration.
Turano has remained beloved in her community — even amid turmoil. At her first public appearance following her implication in a bribery scandal with her close friend and at-the-time roommate, disgraced State Senator Carl Kruger, the longtime community leader received a bouquet of flowers with a note saying “We Love You” from board members.
While Kruger and Turano’s co-conspirator son, Dr. Michael Turano, were hauled off to jail, Dottie Turano said she had no plans to leave her $154,725 a year job as the borough’s highest-paid district manager, where she will remain until she officially retires on Oct. 18.
In her retirement, Turano said she will continue to advocate for her community as one of its residents while making more time for her family and friends.
“My letter of retirement is not the conclusion of my involvement in our community,” she wrote. “The years ahead will give me an opportunity to join with you as a strong advocate advancing our shared agenda, while allowing me to spend more time with my family and friends.”
Her regular attendance at community board meetings will be missed by her the board’s chairman who described her presence as irreplaceable.
“We had a mutual understanding and we worked well together. I have learned a lot from her during this time she was very knowledgeable with dealing with community issues,” Community Board 18 Chairman Gardy Brazela told Brooklyn Paper. “I am not sure we’ll find someone like her.”
While having only served alongside Turano since he was elected in 2018, their friendship goes back three decades when they lived just a block away from each other in Canarsie, and will continue as Brazela says he plans to still turn to Turano for guidance on a plethora of community issues.
“I have known Dottie for 30 years,” Brazela said. “I will be calling her whenever I am not sure with an issue. She will be greatly missed. I wish her good luck during her retirement and her wonderful life journey ahead.”