2005-10-28 / Community

Transition Begins As New Chairs Take Over W & S Committee

By Miriam Rosenberg Contributing Editor Transition

By a unanimous vote of 12 to 0, the Far Rockaway

Ed Williams (NAACP) and DeShawn Mason (the director of the Madison Boys and Girls Club) take over as the co-chairs of the Far Rockaway Weed and Seed Steering Committee. Photos by Miriam Rosenberg Ed Williams (NAACP) and DeShawn Mason (the director of the Madison Boys and Girls Club) take over as the co-chairs of the Far Rockaway Weed and Seed Steering Committee. Photos by Miriam Rosenberg Weed and Seed Steering

Committee has elected

two new co-chairs and

began the transition to –

in one chair’s words – “reform itself” by putting

more responsibility for

the organization’s running

in the hands of the community. Ed Williams (of the

NAACP) and DeShawn

Mason (of Madison Boys and Girls Club) took over the chair duties from

Former steering committee chair Mike Daly (standing) discusses various issues with the committee and its new co-chairs. Former steering committee chair Mike Daly (standing) discusses various issues with the committee and its new co-chairs. Mike Daly of the Queens

Library at the October 19 meeting. “The Steering Committee must now reform itself,” said Mason. “It should meet

more than once a month to understand what it is doing and move forward.” Williams talked about accountability. “One of the things that’s going to be critical for us is, you’ve got to have

accountability,” Williams explained to Daly after the election. “In order to have

accountability there’s got to be documents and records. We need to understand

how the monies are spent in terms of the budget and justify how they are spent. If we are paying for a service that’s going to be provided to the community, we

then need to talk about whether that money should be redirected to programs

that really benefit the folks who it’s promised for. “We need programs to do a couple of things. One is to eradicate crimes and

drugs. The other is to try to create an opportunity for folks to become self-sufficient.

When you’re self-sufficient, you’ve got a whole different community.” Williams suggested that the committee take a look at the strategic plan, which

lays out what the Far Rockaway organization is centering on, to see if it meets

the goals. “There may or may not be things in that plan that [produces these things].

“We want to make this a very effective Weed and Seed committee with some

real, tangible programs that’s going to be positive to the community,” continued Williams.

To keep things moving in the right direction, Daly will provide the committee with copies of the latest application and budget for the current year. He also promised to provide any help the new chairs require.

For Daly, who has been wearing several hats since the Queens Library took over as lead agency for the local organization, the change in chairs was welcome. In addition to chair in a steering committee, Daly is the site coordinator and the Library is the fiscal agent.

“You don’t know how relieved I am,” Daly told the steering committee as he shook hands with the new co-chairs after the election.

Following Mason’s suggestion that steering committee meetings should be held more than once a month, the co-chairs are expected to meet next week to determine the date of the next meeting. The next regular meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, November 16 at noon at the Far Rockaway Library.

Weed and Seed, run by the Department of Justice’s Community Capacity Development Office, works with local law enforcement as well as prosecutors to ‘weed’ out crime. Community organizations provide the ‘seed’ part by providing different types of services to residents. Some of the services for Far Rockaway residents include youth programs through the 101 Precinct and mentor programs through the DA’s office.

Currently the PAL, the Queens Library, the Queens’ District Attorney’s Office and the 101 Precinct receive grants from Weed and Seed.

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