Councilman Vincent Gentile Proposes a Bill to Restore Free Parking for Board Chairs

Spot save! Councilman Gentile pushes for free parking for panel chairs

Brooklyn Daily
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Councilman Vincent Gentile is gearing up for a head-on collision with the mayor over parking permits for community board chairs — questioning hizzoner’s grip on reality — and civilian parking advocates are on the Bay Ridge pol’s side!

Gentile (D-Bay Ridge) has a bill that would require the city to issue three-hour free-parking placards for the volunteer civic leaders, after hizzoner decided to tow away the long-standing privilege in January — and the city councilman’s proposal is already gaining support from unexpected corners.

Gentile argued that local board chairs deserve the right to park at any metered space for up to three hours, free of charge, because they donate their time to resolve community problems and receive no other compensation — and he scoffed at Bloomberg’s decision to nix the perk as absurd.

“There’s a lot of demands on their time, and they’re all volunteers, and their parking permit is a way of saying ‘thank you,’ ” said Gentile. “Taking it doesn’t make any rational sense. Maybe the mayor isn’t rational.”

The mayor’s office declined to comment on Gentile’s legislation and remarks, but noted that the repeal of permits for board chairs is part of a larger plan to reduce special parking placards citywide, which hizzoner hopes will ease pinched parking and encourage use of trains and buses.

“A reduction in placards isn’t just about opening up curbside parking spaces,” Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said in 2008. “It also speaks to the City’s efforts to be smarter about the allocation of our transportation resources.”

But Gentile said this plan reflects the mayor’s Manhattan-centric worldview, since public transportation options are sparse in areas like southern Brooklyn.

“The Mayor’s statement clearly shows he has no concept of reality in the outer boroughs,” said Gentile.

And residents known for battling for a spot to leave their car are backing up Gentile’s bill. Louis Camporeale — also known as the Parking Pal, whose website helps motorists avoid tickets — said he believes panel chairs should get a pass to help them with their community work, though with daytime-only restrictions to avoid abuses.

“If you’re performing duties and not being compensated for it, there should be some leniency in parking involved,” said Camporeale, who left Bay Ridge for Gravesend because of the lack of places to put his car.

And Stan Lubowicki, who fought to get rid of a space-eating loading zone at 93rd Street and Fourth Avenue, said everyone benefits from the board chair’s perk.

“It enables them to be more productive, and spend more time working instead of finding a free parking space,” said Lubowicki.

Reach reporter Will Bredderman at or by calling (718) 260-4507. Follow him at

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Reader Feedback

Trudy from BR says:
What about nurses? Red Cross volunteers? Homeless shelter volunteers? Teachers? Visiting nurses? Home health care aids?

Genitle's logic is flawed. There are countless other people who serve their communities for low or no pay who are more deserving of this perk than Community Board chairs, many of whom abuse the privilege by using their parking passes even when they are not on official duty.
Feb. 1, 2013, 9:46 am
Rob from NY says:
Community Board chairs get paid with POWER, a currency that for many is far more valuable than cash.

The fact that the board chairs get tremendous local power means that there are hundreds of people who would jump at the chance to be board chair. As a result, we don't need to offer any additional perks as incentives to take the position.

If one day we have problems finding people to be board chairs, then we can open a discussion of perks.
Feb. 1, 2013, 11:31 am
Gary says:
@ Trudy from BR: Nurses, teachers and home health care aids [sic] are all paid positions. We are talking about a volunteer gig as a Community Board chairperson; persons who are often summoned into the City for meetings during work hours and forced to take time away from their normal 9 to 5 jobs. You try being a CB Chair, it's not easy. The parking placard isn't an unnecessary "perk" rather it is something these volunteers require to do the job they've signed up to do for free.

@Rob from NY: CB Chairs may have notoriety in their community but they hardly wield any significant "power". Community Boards are merely advisory boards. They can't make anyone do anything!
Feb. 2, 2013, 12:02 am

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