Continues Illegal Crusade against Juniper Park Civic Association volunteers.
In March 2006, Councilman Dennis Gallagher removed long-time hardworking community board 5 and JPCA member, Tony Nunziato, from CB5. This year, Gallagher has written letters to each member of CB5 seeking reappointment, asking them to come to his office for an interview. The unprecedented letter was laced with implied threats mentioning term limits for board members, “change has its merits,” and “many new applicants seeking an opportunity to serve.”
In the weeks preceding the letter, Gallagher had mentioned to at least three city officials and to some CB5 members that he would not be reappointing 4 members who belong to JPCA. Gallagher has been waging a very public crusade against the JPCA because we have dared to question his tactics on several community issues. “Why is the councilman conducting an obviously sham interview process?” said Robert Holden, president of the JPCA. Holden claims that the entire interview scheme is meant to target JPCA members.
For over a year, the JPCA has been fighting to save the entire St. Saviour’s property in Maspeth, with our goal to have the 1.5 acre grounds converted into a park for the people of Maspeth. Meanwhile, Gallagher has been working with the owner of the property, a foreign corporation, to build 70+ units of housing on the grounds in return for saving only the small wooden church. The community board will eventually have to vote on the developer’s rezoning application should it get certified by the department of city planning.
Shockingly, some CB5 members who did agree to be interviewed by Gallagher were asked how they would vote on St. Saviour’s and other issues not relating to their qualifications to serve on the board. “To use the answer to the St. Saviour’s question as a litmus test for appointment is a perfect example of how far Councilman Dennis Gallagher will go to help his developer cronies and friends. He has betrayed his constituency plain and simple,” said Holden. After the JPCA learned of this, Holden called the NYC Law Department who in turn recommended that the targeted JPCA members bring an attorney with them to the meeting with Gallagher. Holden sent a certified letter to Gallagher dated February 17, 2007 requesting an outline of the interview process, and that certain JPCA members be permitted to have an attorney and stenographer present at the interview. To date, Gallagher has not answered the letter.
Since his last election in November 2005 where he ran unchallenged, Councilman Dennis Gallagher (who is term limited) has routinely abused his power as a member of the NYC Council. He has removed a hardworking volunteer from the community board, formed his own civic association (headed by his fundraiser pals) to compete with the JPCA, cut-off funding to the 69-year old Juniper Berry magazine and national baseball champion Midville Dodgers, had his cronies write several letters to local newspapers bashing the JPCA and its leaders and has illegally used his city paid staff and funds to carry out these attacks.
The Juniper Park Civic Association has contacted several city agencies to investigate the conduct of Councilman Dennis P. Gallagher.