Recently I found the pitfalls that are associated with being a chairman of a committee. You become the face of the group you lead, which means that you do not only get the good, but you get the bad and ugly. I have enjoyed the positive responses that the committee has received since my ascent to chairman and the hard work that the committee and I put into making decisions that affect the lives of those within our community is greatly appreciated. I’m a firm believer that people would understand the effort and hard work that goes into running a group handling such critical issues and how the greater good is what triumphs over the issues of a select few.
Boy, was I wrong.
Two weeks after our committee meeting, I was subjected to allegations of purposely denying the community the ability to input on the proposed matter affecting their neighborhood. I had closed the door and held secret negotiations and came up with a resolution well before the matter was discussed was some of the other allegation. One person, who must have watched the movie Lincoln, stated that I used underhanded tactics that were used to push the 13th amendment. When I received these emails and then calls from the board office and local politicians on this matter, I was naturally surprised. I’m not gullible enough to think everyone in the world would like me. I learned long ago that there are many who in fact dislike my personality. Still, to have my character, morals and ethics being questioned was something I had never heard before. It brought on a hurt and angry feeling that goes when doing a thankless job. While the critics were small in number, they were vocal and vicious in their words. It was enough to make me think about why I was putting myself in the position to help a community that doesn’t appreciate or want to help all of society but only care about their needs. That type of selfishness I can’t stand in my personal life so why would I want to deal with it in this professional, yet voluntary, role? I found myself defending myself, retelling how everything the past few weeks occurred and how I did not cross the line but in fact stayed within protocol. I had the support of the board and local politicians that my actions were unquestionable yet I felt the sting of being treated like a punching bag. When the dust settled, I still wondered why am I volunteering for this responsibility and the resulting hatred that goes with the position.
Well, it is cause I believe as a community we can be representative of what people can do together for the greater good of people who not only reside in our community but for those in all of NYC. We cannot exclude people because we do not want certain social services in our neighborhood. While we want our fair share, at the end of the day, we are here to ensure that everyone is well taken care of by the various services in place. When people ask me why should we have this type of service in our community, I ask them why not? Should we punish those who need it by sending them to the outer boroughs? We would not be good New Yorkers if we did that. We would only feed into the myth that New Yorkers only care about New Yorkers.