The perk stops here.
The city is yanking the decades-old parking permits that allowed the 59 chairpersons of its community boards the right to park for free on metered city streets.
Starting next month, those that hold the unpaid position will have to give up the parking perk and beginning looking for — and paying for — street spaces like the rest of us. And that doesn’t sit well with some of them.
“I found it very disappointing and disturbing,” said Community Board 10 chairwoman Joanne Seminara. “We’re volunteers, and we spend countless hours every week traveling throughout the district to attend different meetings.”
Seminara and her peers have lorded it over regular motorists for years by routinely displaying two parking permits from the Mayor’s Community Assistance Unit, one for the unpaid chair and another for the salaried district manager, allowing free parking at most metered spots in the city for up to three hours.
But that’s all coming to an end on Feb. 1, and the grass roots gladiators are cringing at the thought of having to cut short their civic meetings because they have to move the car.
“If I park at a meter that only takes an hour’s worth of quarters, I can’t stay at the meetings the whole time,” said Community Board 15 chairwoman Theresa Scavo.
Community board members are largely toothless tigers appointed by council members and borough presidents to field community complaints, provide permits for block parties and street fairs, and manage special projects, including organizing tenants associations and coordinating neighborhood cleanups.
District managers, who get to keep their passes, said the city was victimizing folk who gave their free time selflessly to their neighborhoods.
“They’re doing the community a favor,” said Community Board 18 district manager Dorothy Turano. “I’m doing it as part of my obligation, and there’s no question I deserve to have this pass, but so does [Community Board 18 chairman] Sol Needle.”
One affected activist wasn’t too bothered about getting dumped, claiming that he didn’t have much use for the freebie pass anyway.
“I never used one,” said Community Board One chairman Chris Olechowski. “I’m very close to the community board and when I drive, I always find a parking spot.”
The mayor’s press office didn’t respond to calls for a comment.Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cn