On June 27th, 1977, Gerald Esposito left his job as a tenant organizer with St. Nicholas Neighborhood Preservation and Housing Authority and became the youngest Community Board District Manager in the City. 35 years later, he remains at his post, outlasting six different Chairmen along the way.
A champion for affordable housing in the community, Esposito pointed to the preparation of two 197a plans and the formation of the Community Board’s Rezoning Task Force as examples of how CB 1, under his management, has sought to protect longtime residents and to keep them in their homes. “The volunteerism I have witnessed for the betterment of our neighborhoods, whether it is on the Board or the numerous neighborhood organizations, is a testament to the spirit of a true Brooklynite.”
Throughout his career, Esposito has been a booster for Community Boards, citywide. In April 2009, he made waves when he was disinvited and escorted from a Mayor Bloomberg event by the NYPD, after sending an e-mail to each of the City’s District Managers suggesting they attend the event and protest the Mayor’s proposed budget cuts to the City’s Community Boards. “I have a long-standing romance with the ability of our Community Boards to self govern,” he said.
Esposito gave credit for his long success to “the Board members, the community and my staff, past and present,” singling out current CB 1 staff members, Marie Bueno Wallin and Athena Casalduc “for the enormous amount of work we accomplish together.” He also acknowledged the vision of local political leadership, noting that they “are not afraid to look outside the box.”
Assemblyman Joe Lentol, who has worked with Esposito throughout his career said, “To think about the number of lives that Gerry has had a positive impact on through his dedication and work is just awesome. It takes selfless dedication and sacrifice to give as many years to our community as Gerry has. Congratulations Gerry and thank you.”
“Thanks to Gerry, I’ve gotten the opportunity to grow as Chairman and to better learn the issues facing the community,” said current CB 1 Chair Chris Olechowski. “Without his experience, this Community Board would not be as successful. We don’t always see it day-to-day,” he continued, “but I’ve seen, firsthand, the help he gives community members. He’s come through for people in ways you can’t measure. He’s a real problem solver.”
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