During the recent Village election and unprecedented school year, many residents have expressed concerns about transparency, accountability and “being heard” by their elected representatives on the Village and School Boards.
Please be assured that the POAs have a tradition of advocacy and support for residents and their concerns. While the POAs have always had an important role in identifying residents who would volunteer to serve on these boards, the opportunity and ability for other groups or individuals to appear on the village and school ballots have always existed by following the required legal process and obtaining the required number of signatures.
Garden City has a unique form of government stemming from the Community Agreement put in place at the time of Village incorporation, which is meant to be free from political partisanship. The candidates nominated by the four POAs appear on the village ballot as the “Community Agreement Party” or “CAP” by tradition. Please note that over the past 100 years, CAP has simply been the way the POA candidates are presented on the ballot.
The POA nominating processes are designed to ensure equal representation from each of the four geographical sections of the Village – two Village trustees and one School Board trustee each from the West, the Estates, the Central and the East. The Nominating Committees are bound by their applicable POA by-laws, which put forth established rules to be followed by the Committee members. The four POAs’ by-laws are similar but not identical. Over the past six months, each of the POAs has been reviewing its by-laws with the objective to update and refine its Nominating Committee responsibilities. An effort is being made to conform the nominating committee processes among the four POAs.
The POA Nominating Committees will soon start the 2021 process of soliciting candidates for four Village Board trustee positions (one from each section) and two School Board trustee positions (one each from the Estates and the Western Sections).
This year, the four POAs are introducing changes for their Nominating Committees to enhance the process, which would include:
September 2021: Announce Open Positions and Publish articles in the Garden City News on the process residents should follow in submitting resumes and letters of interest for Village and School Board positions
Early October: Host a joint Information Session for residents who are interested in learning about qualifications and hearing an overview of the nomination process. It is expected that one or more members of the current Village and School Boards will attend to provide insight into the roles and responsibilities of these important positions. A Question-and-Answer period will be included. The session will be held at the Senior Center, 7:30 p.m. in person, and Zoom details will be obtained by emailing email@example.com.
November/December: Town Hall meetings in each Section to provide residents an opportunity to (a) meet the potential candidates who have submitted their names for consideration and (b) give significant input in the nominating process. Residents will be encouraged to ask questions directly to the potential candidates. Candidates will be able to share their skills and abilities, and their vision for the community.
The POA Nominating Committees will get feedback from the attendees, giving them the benefit of residents’ perspectives regarding the candidates. Each POA Nominating Committee will meet separately to select the candidate(s) to appear on the ballot from its Section. Additional enhancements to this selection process are being refined by each POA.
January: At the annual Resident Elector Meetings held in each Section, residents can (a) ratify selections made by the Nominating Committee, or (b) select final candidates in a run-off election, if there is more than one candidate for any specific position, through a Board of Elections paper or machine setting.
While the Joint Conference Committee (JCC), consisting of the presidents and vice presidents of the four POAs, is the villagewide POA committee that traditionally makes recommendations to the Village Board of Trustees regarding candidates for board and commissions, its main function is to find consensus for various village issues. In this capacity, the JCC has reached out and met with representatives of the newly formed “For A Better Garden City” (FABGC) group to possibly streamline or coordinate events, when possible, to ensure fair and transparent future elections in our community. The POAs hope to continue these discussions.
In addition to the Garden City News, each of the four POAs will post the above information on their websites: West – gcwpoa.com; Estates – gcestates.org; Central – gccpoa.org; East – gcepoa.org. The POAs invite you to follow the Facebook Page “Garden City NY – Community Agreement Party” and bookmark the webpage gardencitycap.org to receive updates on the upcoming nominating process.
As always, the POAs encourage all residents to attend POA meetings (dates can be found on their websites) and volunteer their time and talents, not only on the Village, School and Library Boards, but also on villagewide committees. Residents can be assured they will find this a rewarding experience, and you will come away with the knowledge that you have contributed to the excellent quality of life we all enjoy in Garden City.