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Brooklyn borough president appoints a new panel member

When the Panel for Educational Policy convenes tomorrow evening for its monthly meeting, members will welcome a new Brooklyn borough representative to the stage.

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz has appointed Kelvin Diamond to serve as the representative to vote on the Department of Education’s proposed policies, a Markowitz spokesman confirmed today. Diamond, a director at the Bedford-Stuyvesant YMCA, will resign from his current post on the District 13 Community Education Council, an elected parent committee.

Gbubemi Okotieuro, who served as the Brooklyn borough representative for more than three years, resigned “for professional and personal reasons,” the spokesman said. Okotieru is Associate Dean for Governmental Relations at Medgar Evers College in Crown Heights.

Okotieuro did not respond to requests for comment. Okotieuro was appointed to the panel in 2009. During his three-year tenure, he often sided with the department’s proposals, but his stance on one of the city’s cornerstone reform policies — school closures — hardened in the last year. Okotieuro joined a bloc of four borough representative that rejected proposals to close a combined 48 schools last school year.

The ‘no’ votes never made much of impact on whether any of the proposals were ultimately approved. Mayor Bloomberg controls the votes of eight members on the 13-person board and in the ten years since the panel was established, no policy has ever been voted down. In 2004, Bloomberg fired three of his appointees after they said they would oppose one of his proposals.

For Diamond, it could be a short-term appointment. The 2013 mayoral election promises to reshape how education policy is made in New York City and the panel’s composition could be overhauled as part of those changes. Even if it doesn’t, Markowitz’s term limits expire next year and his replacement will likely appoint his own representative.

Diamond, a former consultant for Hewlett-Packard, is a relatively unfamiliar face in education policy. In 2009, however, Diamond was quoted in the Daily News as saying he supported mayoral control, but believed parent councils should have more power.

“You need parents to weigh in on what the mayor is doing, but we’re only advisory,” he said.

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