COMMUNITY BOARD BOOST

Community boards, long understaffed and under-funded, got a boost this year when Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer promised to close the gaps. He announced last week the results of a massive recruiting effort, which filled all 12 Manhattan community boards to capacity. Each board in the city is allowed up to 50 members, and vacancies make things difficult, said Julie Menin, chair of Community Board 1, which covers Tribeca, Battery Park City, and the Financial District. “We depend on all members for input,” she said. New applicants this year totaled 385, almost twice as last year’s 172. Altogether, Stringer's office received 624 applications, and appointed 123 new members to Manhattans 12 community boards, including high school students for the first time. Throughout January and February, representatives from Stringer's office made presentations throughout the city to community groups and religious institutions. “We wanted to let them know that this is open to anyone,” said spokesperson Maibe González-Fuentes. The office is also developing an ongoing training program for new members, in areas such as land use and the city budget process. The training will complement a mandatory two-hour orientation, provided by in-house experts and staffers from different city agencies and nonprofits. (J.E. Mendez) [4/10/06]