It’s a do-over!
Community Board 17 members will be meeting on June 30 at the board’s office to choose a new chairman for the second time in less than two weeks, after the results of the first election — held during the board’s June meeting — were invalidated.
The run-off election was scheduled after the second-place candidate cried foul, consulted an attorney, and sent a letter to the borough president’s office registering his objection to the way in which the election was conducted.
At issue is the reading of the board’s bylaws, which direct that, “The person receiving the highest number of votes for each office shall be deemed elected. Where there are more than two candidates for a particular office, a candidate must receive a majority of all votes cast, excluding blanks, to be elected. Where no candidate receives a majority, a run off shall be held between the two person receiving the two highest votes.”
No run-off was held at the June meeting, despite the fact that Terry Hinds — the choice of the board’s nominating committee, who had been proclaimed the winner — received only 17 votes, a plurality but less than the majority (22) needed to win.
Coming in second was Barrington Barrett, with 13 votes, who will go head-to-head against Hinds in the upcoming run-off election. The third-place finisher, who will not be in the run-off, was Morgan Gabriel, who got 12 votes.
The winner of the election, once it is complete, will replace the board’s current chairman, Lloyd Mills, who is retiring from the position after four years because of term limits.
“They were supposed to call a run-off but they refused to do it,” fumed Barrett, who said that it was only after he sent the letter to the borough president’s office that the election was re-scheduled. “Their hands were forced. They didn’t want to do it.”
Gabriel, too, said he had concerns about the way the election was conducted. “It could have been a deliberate attempt to manipulate the results,” he suggested.
Not so, said Terrance Joseph, the chairman of the board’s Nominating Committee, who said it was a “misinterpretation” of the bylaws that was to blame.
“No one got up and say there was a misdeed at the time,” Joseph recalled. “It went off as if Terry had won. That’s where the confusion came from. If Barry had gotten up at the time and brought it to the floor that there should be a run-off, it would have happened then.”
Mills agreed. “It was an oversight on everybody’s part,” he said. “The bottom line is a run-off is what was requested, and a run-off will be conducted.”
The situation is an unfortunate one, said Hinds. But, he added, it “makes sense this way,” because it enables the new chairman to start out with majority backing.
“To his credit, Mr. Mills is trying to do this in as honest a fashion as possible,” Hinds stressed. “There was an oversight. Once he realized there was something wrong, he did the most intelligent thing and called for the run-off.”
CB17 election meeting June 30 at 7:30 pm at 39 Remsen Ave. (718-467-3536)