Coalition of Nassau Civic Associations starts in Merrick

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CONCA’s first meeting was on April 30 at the Merrick Road Park golf course clubhouse in Merrick. About 35 people from 20 civic associations attended the meeting, according to Borecky. Among the represented areas were Bellmore, North Bellmore, Freeport, Wantagh, Massapequa, Bethpage, Syosset, Woodbury, Hempstead, East Rockaway, Woodmere, New Hyde Park and Great Neck. CONCA adopted bylaws and elected nine people to its Board of Directors, including Borecky. Two more board seats are yet to be filled.

CONCA was begun to reform, not replace, NCCCA, according to Borecky, Bentley and Phillip Franco, the Seaford Harbor Civic Association president. The three, along with Gerry Ottavino, a member of the Point Lookout Civic Association’s Board of Directors, formed a committee last year to overhaul NCCCA’s bylaws. Borecky, Bentley and Franco cited a number of organizational stumbling blocks that made NCCCA ineffective, from conflicting bylaws to difficulties scheduling meetings and a top-down governance structure that did not give enough decision-making say to member civic associations.

“We weren’t having any meetings,” Borecky said, referring to NCCCA. “The directors had problems with the bylaws. We weren’t doing anything. So a committee of a few of us decided to rewrite the bylaws. Then we realized we were creating a whole different thing.”

Franco highlighted the expertise that Bentley brought to drafting new bylaws. Bentley is director of administrative services and president of the Faculty Student Association at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, where he assists student governments in drafting bylaws. Bentley also helped organize the Council of Greater Manhasset Civic Associations, which comprises 11 groups.

Borecky said that to overcome the logistical headaches involved in picking a night when dozens of people could meet, CONCA would conduct some business via email, including official meetings and votes. When an important issue requires a face-to-face meeting, those who could not attend would be able to vote electronically, she said.

She and Franco noted that most of CONCA’s decision-making would be made by a simple majority vote.

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