Wakefield Area News
By Mary V. Lauro
We don't know why, but every 10 or 15 years the NYPD decides to change the format (By-laws of its Precinct Councils). We don't know whether it is because all organizations have a tendency to break down, becoming more and more deliberate and less and less structured as they age or whether money finds its way to the wrong places. We thought of that possibility when we realized that Chief Phillip Banks III, Commander of NYPD Community Affairs Unit does not want Precinct Councils to fund raise more than $50,000 each year.
Fifty thousand is a nice sum. One would like to know which Precinct in this City can collect all that money in one year. In the Bronx it would take at least 10 years. It hardly seems fair.
Membership in the Council is free so long as one is over 18 years of age, crime free, lives or works in that particular precinct and applies by filling out the Personal Data Sheet. In order to have voting privileges, one must have attended 4 meetings prior to the vote. This is decidedly different. It used to be 3 meetings. Attendance is marked by one's signature on a special NYPD hard cover book which is kept at the Precinct.
Interestingly, we note that the new By-laws are being repaired especially where they were last time. This time, instead of seven executive members, Councils will have a choice of five or seven. They are President, Vice President, Treasurer, Recording Secretary, Sergeant-at-Arms, (Corresponding and Assistant Secretary are not required for executive boards having less than seven members).
Now here is a nice touch and different. We have term limits. The president and other board members can only be chosen for consecutive two year terms. Even so, after a hiatus of a year, should that person want to run again and the members wish to re-elect him, that individual may run again.
Another interesting twist is the role envisioned for the Sergeant-at-Arms should partner with the president to keep order during the meeting and enforce any rules that seem to be going astray. The Sergeant-at-Arms will also be the bearer of Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised 11th edition.
Much in fact, most of the previous adjustments to the Precinct Council By-laws remain central in the newly revised By-laws. We understand that currently there are 85. Precinct Councils in the City. We have come a long way since 40', 50's and 60's. At that time it seemed rude to criticize the police and besides we didn't have as much crime then.
The entire set of new rules is available from the internet or by calling, the Community Affairs Unit.