Saturday, April 30, 2011

Longtime Community Board 12 Head Adjoa Gzifa Gets the Boot by Clare Trapasso - NY Daily News

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The controversial head of a southeast Queens community board has been tossed from her post by a local councilman.
Adjoa Gzifa, 64, of Jamaica, speculated that City Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans) decided to end her 16-year run on Community Board 12 due to disagreements on various board issues.
Comrie declined to comment on why she was booted. "I'm not airing that in the paper," he said.
Gzifa, who served as the chairwoman of the board for three years, made headlines when she refused to support renaming a Jamaica street after slain police officer John Scarangella. The board shot down the renaming, which the Council then overrode.
She was also one of only two board members who voted against renaming a swath of Liverpool St. after Sean Bell, a bridegroom killed in a hail of police bullets.
"It stinks," Gzifa said of not being reappointed to the board. "I believe I served my community well. The fact that [Comrie and I] can't agree to disagree is disturbing to me."
Gzifa was quick to point out that she was reelected as chairwoman by her peers in December.
She found out about Comrie's decision on April 8, she said, a day after Community Board 12 District Manager Yvonne Reddick was involved in a car accident. Reddick is recuperating from non-life threatening injuries at Jamaica Hospital.
Jacqueline Boyce, the interim chair, said Gzifa will be missed.
"I'm saddened by the fact that she was not reassigned to the community board," Boyce said. "She proved to be a good leader and a good organizer."
But Gzifa had her detractors.
Valerie Bell, 55, the mother of Sean Bell, said the board could benefit from more sympathetic leadership.
"I know you can't name a street after everyone who's done something in the community," she said. "But it's time to have a heart for these things."
Board members are volunteers who can influence local projects and city budgets. Half of the Queens members are appointed by Council members, while the others are picked by the Borough President.
Gzifa, who is the director of the Workforce Education Center at LaGuardia Community College, said she doesn't plan to fight Comrie's decision.
"Just because I'm not on the board doesn't mean I'm going to shut up," she said. "I'm going to continue to speak out against everything that's ill in our community."