2014-08-22 / Editorial/Opinion

Knowing When To Say When

Several times in the last few months we have talked about leadership, accountability and responsibility as qualities that are needed – and sometimes lacking – from our elected officials and community leaders.

This past week, The Wave learned that Rockaway Youth Task Force leader Milan Taylor had received a plea deal from the Queens District Attorney’s office, stemming from his June arrest for allegedly attempting to choke a woman at the RYTF offices.

By pleading guilty to disorderly conduct and accepting the court’s decision that he attend anger management sessions, he can move forward.

However, the woman who accused Taylor was given an order of protection against him for a full year. That is a fact. And it is a troubling one, considering Taylor’s position in the community.

As the founder and president of the non-profit Rockaway Youth Task Force, Taylor is – by nature of his position – expected to set an example for his organization and the community.

Is he doing so?

Is it appropriate for someone in his position to remain in a leadership position of a youth group?

Do people in the community feel comfortable with their daughters or sisters remaining in the group?

We asked elected officials and community leaders to weigh in on the issue, and many chose to decline any comment, and in some cases ignored the question entirely.

City Councilman Donovan Richards, who has worked closely with the RYTF in the past, declined comment.

Dolores Orr, Chairperson of Community Board 14, did not return several calls requesting comment.

State Senator James Sanders, Jr., did take our call, and did make a comment, but also declined to speak on the matter of Taylor staying in place as head of the RYTF.

As far as The Wave is concerned, Mr. Taylor’s insistence on staying in place as an active leader of the RYTF while there remains an order of protection against him is not only inappropriate, it is unacceptable.

How Rockaway’s elected officials can approve – by their silence -- of Mr. Taylor’s remaining in charge is even more unacceptable.

The Reverend Jesse Jackson once said that “leadership must meet the moral challenge of the day.”

It’s rather unclear if that precept is being met.

It’s time to say when.

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“leadership must meet the

“leadership must meet the moral challenge of the day” is a double edged quote since its author made his own mistakes. I believe the reverend had some failings surface late in his career so he stepped out of the spotlight. Milan on the other hand is early in his career and stands his ground now as he had in the past to reach his current success. Milan made a mistake which i am certain he regrets now and he will regret in the future. Having seen his impassioned role at RYTF to the benefit of our community, through post-sandy, i have complete faith in his leadership and do not need to focus on his personal life choices, including his missteps. I would like my leaders or elected officials to have, like myself, the right to some personal privacy and to display the thoughtful human characteristics of being contrite and learning from mistakes. Leadership is a hard road and few seem to take it. Don't we want to support those few who have the courage and the integrity to aspire for improvement? david selig


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