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Lazy Or Just Careless? Brooklyn Community Board 6’s District Office Fails To Post Meeting Minutes In A Timely Manner On Web Site And Why It Matters

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Community Board 6  Chair Peter Fleming
Mike Racioppo District Manager of CB6

According to its web site, one of the functions of our Community Board 6  district office, located at 250 Baltic Street in Cobble Hill, is “maintains all the public records of the activities of the Community Board.”

One would think that function would include posting the approved meeting minutes in a timely manner on its site. After all, there is a dedicated page to those minutes on the site and it would be the most logical place to make them accessible to the community.
However, that does not seem to be the case.
When I recently found myself looking for some CB6 information, I was surprised to find that the meeting minutes had not been updated for months.
For example,  the 2019 minutes for the Permits and Licenses Committee meeting only showed those for the monthly meetings in  January and February 2019. The ones for the Land Use/ Landmark Committee only included those for January, February and March 2019.
The other committees did not fare any better.
Even more curious, only minutes for the  January 8, February 13 and March 13 2019  general meetings of the Full Board appear on the web site. 
(The January 2019 meeting is mislabeled 2018)
There is almost no excuse for the fact that minutes for the year 2018 remain incomplete on the web site as well. (See photo above)
Almost every CB6 General and Committee meeting usually begin with the approval of the previous  meeting minutes.  So why aren’t they posted on the site shortly afterwards? A delay of a month or two would be understandable, but not providing the community with timely minutes is unacceptable.
Curious as to what Community Board 6  by-laws state regarding minutes, we looked it up. They were last updated in 2009  and say that the “minutes shall be kept in the district office and forwarded to all public libraries within Community District #6 and shall be available to any person or organization requesting same.”
We called the Carroll Gardens Library on Henry Street, which would be the closest to the Community Board office to check. We were told that no CB6 committee or general minutes were kept there.

We are aware of the fact that Brooklyn CB6 was selected to participate in the Live-Streaming Program, through the City Council’s Digital Inclusion and Literacy Initiative and that indeed, some meetings have been taped and are still  accessible on You Tube.

There are no links to the live-stream videos anywhere on the CB6 page. It is important to note that only general meetings have been videotaped, none of the committee meetings.

Considering that many important discussions and votes happen during those committee meetings, those minutes should have been posted. 
In our opinion, the approved meetings of ALL Brooklyn CB6 meetings should always be posted.
Why does this matter? CB6 represents the neighborhoods of Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Columbia Waterfront, Gowanus, Park Slope and Red Hook.  There have been many issues being discussed in the past few months,  none more important than the massive proposed rezoning of the Gowanus Canal area, which will bring more than 20,000 new residents to the area and will undoubtedly affect many within the Community Board boundary.
Presentations on the rezoning have been given by city agencies and comments made by the public at the general and committee meetings.  In their advisory capacity, members of Community Board 6 will cast their vote to either approve or disapprove the plan. 
It is therefore important that a complete, timely meeting record and complete minutes be made available to the community. 
It is not too much to ask for. CB6 and its district office need to do better.
If you are wondering how quickly other community board web sites post meeting minutes here is a link to Community Board 6 in Manhattan. THAT board seems to be pretty up to date on that front



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