April 23, 2012
BY JAMIE MALLETTE
COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Since being appointed to the board in 2007, Fontas has served as chairperson for the Police and Public Safety Committee, chairperson of the Pedestrian Safety Sub-Committee, and as a member of the Transportation Committee.
Participation in community affairs came naturally to him, described Fontas. “I was raised in a household that put an emphasis on community and on working with folks to overcome challenges, so now in my adult life, as opportunities to work with other people come up, whether it is working to address safety issues in our neighborhood or any other issues, I really enjoy and look forward to work on those,” remarked Fontas.
“I have been on the Public Safety Committee since I was appointed to the board five years ago, I have a lot of experience in issues relating to restaurants, and other nightlife establishments. Coming out of the Pedestrian Safety Sub-Committee, there was a natural progression between working on pedestrian safety issues and police and safety. It was a honor to be asked to be chair,” said Fontas.
CAREER: Fontas received his Bachelor’s degree in government from Manhattan College and minored in religion. He went on to garner a Master’s degree in government from St. John’s University and a post- baccalaureate certificate in international relations.
Fontas worked as director of communications and legislative affairs for Assemblymember David Weprin when Weprin was in the City Council. Currently, Fontas works as a consultant in government relations for Capalino + Company. Fontas remarked, “I love what I do. It offers me an opportunity to go out in neighborhoods across the city. It gives me an opportunity to see different neighborhoods, communities, community boards and block associations.
“[I enjoy] working with people on a project and getting results that will make sense for everyone. It gets back to working with communities and people on a grass roots community level that I really enjoy,” continued Fontas.
When Fontas is not working with the community, he spends his time bicycling around the neighborhood and being captain of a league soccer team at Chelsea Piers.
PERSONAL: Fontas is a lifelong Bay Ridgeite who proclaims, “Bay Ridge is a special place for me. It’s where I’m from, it’s where my parents made their home and where my mother was raised. I went to the same elementary school as my mother [St. Anselm’s].
“My mother still lives in the same house where I grew up. Some of my closest friends, who I have known for 20 years, still live here. Now it is my friends’ kids who live in the community. Every neighborhood has its benefits, but for me, on a personal level, I have a special connection [with Bay Ridge],” Fontas concluded.