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Revote Brings New Chairman To Astoria’s Community Board

Stat and Risi (L-R)

George Stamatiades and Joseph Risi (L-R)

Oct. 21, 2015 By Jackie Strawbridge

After a tied vote and procedural confusion left Community Board 1 without a chairperson last month, new leadership was elected on Tuesday with revote.

Joseph Risi, attorney and CB 1 Consumer Affairs chair, was elected Board chair in a 28 to 14 vote over George Stamatiades, CB 1’s first vice chairman.

The two candidates had tied in the original September vote.

CB 1 covers Astoria and parts of Long Island City, Woodside and East Elmhurst. Like all City community boards, it is comprised of volunteers who address public concerns on anything ranging from traffic problems to noisy bars.

Community Boards also make recommendations to City and State agencies on liquor license applications, budget needs and, significantly, land use and zoning issues.

Risi succeeds Vinicio Donato, who was chairman for 40 years before announcing his retirement in April.

Donato outlined a transition plan at that time, with Stamatiades serving as acting chair until a vote in September, after the Board’s summer hiatus.

However when that vote took place, both Stamatiades and Risi tied 20-20.

The tie left CB 1 in an ambiguous position. As explained by the Board’s Legal, Legislative and Parliamentary Procedures committee in a report presented on Tuesday, CB 1’s bylaws “are silent on procedures for a ‘tie vote’.”

Therefore September’s meeting wrapped up without an official decision, and in the following weeks LLPP member John Katsanos conducted research on procedure. Ultimately, per Robert’s Rules of Order, the original vote was declared null and void.

Of the Board’s 49 members, 43 attended Tuesday’s meeting. One abstained from voting.

“As I said last month, we have a wonderful group of specially skilled people here,” Risi said after his win. “Hopefully we’re going to work together, we’re going to make this not only Community Board Number One, but the number one community board.”

Reach reporter Jackie Strawbridge at

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Click for Comments 
joanne Onorato

Congradulations to Joe Risi! The Board has made a wise decision. Joe Risi has volunteered his time to the community for years. I remember when he gave free legal advise from my Dads ( the Late Senator George Onorato) office on a regular basis! He has supported an endless list of functions, organizations and events for the community for many many years. He is truly devoted to the people. The board is lucky to have him.
Best of Luck
Joanne Onorato


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