Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

GWNC Swears in New Board Members and Alternates

GWNC Board Members and Alternates for the 2021-2023 term were sworn in at last night’s GWNC Board Meeting, the first since its recent elections were held.


In a three-hour meeting on Wednesday, which ran heavy on procedural debate, the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council swore in its new board members and alternate represetatives (who fill in at meetings if the board member for that seat cannot attend) for the next two-year term.  It also elected board officers, and filled three board positions that remained vacant even after the board’s recent election.


New Board Members


Leading off the meeting was an official oath of office delivered by Department of Neighborhood Empowerment Representative John Darnell to all the 2021-2023 board members and alternates .  The newly installed representatives and alternates are:

Geographic Area 1 (Brookside)
Representative – Owen Smith
Alternate – Joane Hennberger Pickett

Geographic Area 2 (Citrus Square)
Representative – Jeffry Carpenter

Geographic Area 3 (Country Club Heights)
Representative – Brian Donahoe
Alternate – Jose Tamayo

Geographic Area 5 (Hancock Park)
Representative – Jennifer DeVore
Alternate – David Trainer

Geographic Area 6 (La Brea-Hancock)
Representative – Cathy Roberts

Geographic Area 7 (Larchmont)
Representative – Charles D’Atri
Alternate – Kathryn Burke

Geographic Area 8 (Melrose)
Representative – Christopher Hauck
Alternate – Philip A. Farha

Geographic Area 9 (Oakwood-Maplewood-St. Andrews)
Representative – Bindhu Varghese

Geographic Area 10 (Ridgewood/Wilton-St. Andrews Square)
Representative – Patricia Carroll

Geographic Area 11 (Sycamore Square)
Representative – Conrad Starr
Alternate – William Schneider

Geographic Area 12 (Western-Wilton)
Representative – Juan Portillo, Jr.

Geographic Area 13 (Wilshire Park)
Representative – Michael Duggan
Alternate – John Gresham

Geographic Area 14 (Windsor Square)
Representative – Gary Gilbert
Alternate – Caroline Labiner Moser

Geographic Area 15 (Windsor Village)
Representative – Stephanie Shim
Alternate – Beau Lloyd

Representative – Bailey Benningfield
Alternate – Hayden Conner Ashworth

Representative – John Winther
Alternate – Raphie Cantor

Representative – Scott Appel

Other Nonprofit
Representative – Cindy Chvatal-Keane
Alternate – Helen Eigenberg

At Large
Representative – Brian Curran
Alternate – Joe Suh


Officer Elections


After the new board was sworn in, nominations were opened for board officers.  Both Larchmont representative Charles D’Atri and Sycamore Square representative/outgoing Board Secretary Conrad Starr were nominated for the position by fellow board members.  Each candidate was given five minutes to introduce himself, with both public comment and board comments invited on the nomination.  After the speeches, a final tally logged 11 votes for Starr, and 8 for D’Atri, making Starr the new president.

Other officers elected with single nominations and no contested races were Charles D’Atri (Vice President), Jen DeVore (Secretary) and Patricia Carroll (Treasurer).  There were also thanks and appreciations given for outgoing Board members Caroline Labiner Moser and Max Kirkham, who most recently served as President and Vice President, respectively.


Filling Board Vacancies


After the officer elections, the meeting moved to a discussion of whether or not to fill two vacant board seats, and one vacant alternate seat, with candidates who have previously expressed interest in those positions.  Starr pointed out, however, that GWNC bylaws declare a vacant seat must remain vacant for 45 days before someone can apply to fill the vacancy, and ruled that the appointment discussions be tabled for a future meeting, at least 45 days from yesterday, when the new board was seated.

This ruling prompted a long debate, however, with a number of board members arguing that both the Fremont Place seat and the Education alternate seat, two of the three in question, have long been vacant, and that the bylaws say nothing about requireing a re-start of the 45-day vacancy period after an election.  In the end, after the lengthy discussion, the board voted by a margin of 13 in favor and 5 opposed to overrule Starr’s decision on the matter, allowing discussion and votes on the three vacancies/candidates. (The five votes in opposition were mostly from brand new board members, who said they would prefer to wait to take such actions until they have had some time to become better oriented, and to see if any further candidates for the vacant seats present themselves in weeks to come.)

The first appointment discussed was that of Fremont Place resident Stephanie Lee Leonard to the Fremont Place (Geographic Area 4) board seat, which had been vacant since former representative Bobbie Kumetz moved out of the area in 2020.  Leonard applied to fill the position later that year, and was deemed eligible to do so, but the appointment was never finalized.  After another detailed discussion of the issues at play with this vacancy, the board voted by a margin of 15 in favor, 1 opposed and two abstentions to appoint Leonard as the new board representative for Fremont Place.

The second appointment discussed was that of longtime GWNC Religion representative Mike Genewick to the Religion seat.  Genewick had registered as a candidate for the seat in the recent GWNC election, but was not able to vote in the election because he never received a ballot from the city’s ballot registration system, despite his timely registration.  (And there were no other candidates for the seat, and no other votes cast in that race, so no one was elected.)  The board members again debated whether or not a appointment at this meeting was appropriate, given various rules and bylaws provisions, and given the unique circumstances in this case, but in the end the board voted by a margin of 11 in favor, two opposed, and five abstentions to appoint Genewick to the Religion seat.

The final appointment discussed at the meeting was of Kelly Rielly as the alternate representative for the Education seat.  As with the Fremont Place appointment, Rielly had expressed her interest in the postion several months ago, and verified her eligibility, but was not previously seated.  In the end, the board voted to confirm her appointment with 14 votes in favor and five abstentions.

The board does still have several unfilled Alternate positions, for Area 2/Citrus Square, Area 4/Fremont Place, Area 6/La Brea-Hancock, Area 9/Oakwood-Maplewood-St. Andrews, area 10/Ridgewood-Wilton-St. Andrews Square, and Area 12/Western-Wilton.


Meeting Continuation


By this time, the meeting was closing in on the three-hour mark, and – after another detailed discussion of proper procedures for the situation – Secretary DeVore moved to table the rest of the agenda after Carroll’s Treasurer’s Report, and to schedule a Special Meeting at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 21, to complete the evening’s business.  The motion carried, and the meeting was adjourned after the brief Treasurer’s Report and finance votes.


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Elizabeth Fuller
Elizabeth Fuller
Elizabeth Fuller was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN but has lived in LA since 1991 - with deep roots in both the Sycamore Square and West Adams Heights-Sugar Hill neighborhoods. She spent 10 years with the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, volunteers at Wilshire Crest Elementary School, and has been writing for the Buzz since 2015.

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