The Brooklyn Democratic Party lived up to its reputation for dysfunction on Wednesday night when what should have been a routine organizing meeting was held so late that the host cut off power before any matter was settled, which caused the event to be postponed to the next month.
The biennial meeting where party members adopt internal rules and choose who will assume leadership roles was scheduled to start at 7pm at the Coney Island amphitheater.
But half a dozen members present told the Daily News that things hadn’t started before 10pm, and photos posted on social media showed huge lines on Coney Island’s promenade in front of the facility. The party leader blames “internet problems” for delays in bringing people to the meeting using tablets, said city council member Mercedes Narcisse, who also serves as the leader of East Flatbush.
“What worries me the most is that others who have been going there for decades have been saying this is what happened,” Narcisse said on Thursday, referring to a long history of chaotic organizational meetings. “It’s so dysfunctional and everyone agrees to it.”
Indeed, the party has a history of wasting its own meetings. The 2020 organizational meeting, which was held entirely via Zoom due to the pandemic, lasted 13 grueling hours after party leaders struggled to arrange an appeal.
When members finally took their seats in the missed Wednesday meeting, there was more disorganization.
Tony Melone, a member of the county committee that serves as spokesman for the New Kings Democratic Party’s progressive contingent, said leaders tried to place newly elected members between each vote, causing confusion and delays. He said the TV remote-style gadgets used for voting also didn’t work properly.
“They had an impossible plan,” Melone said.
Shortly before midnight, the lights went out – according to the people present, no important matters were taken care of.
Video posted on Twitter showed a fight that nearly broke out among some of the servants as the amphitheater darkened, but Narcisse said she had softened the escalation before things got out of hand.
The party will have to reconvene the meeting before October 6th to conclude.
Bob Liff, spokesman for Assembly member Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn, party chairwoman, did not respond to a request for comment.
One of the most significant decisions made at organizational meetings is the election of the party chairman, a decision made in a vote by 44 district leaders of the municipality.
As first reported by The News on Wednesday, Bichotte Hermelyn plans to seek another term after months of speculation on whether she will do so in the face of a series of controversies under her leadership – including allegations that some of her allies have engaged in fraud to consolidate power over the party operations.
It is unclear if anyone will challenge Bichotte Hermelyn for a chair position. Narcisse, who will influence the choice of the chair as the district leader, said she had not yet made a decision as to whether or not she would support Bichotte Hermelyn.
“They’re going to have to give me some direction because I’m just disappointed at the moment,” she said.
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