The Borough President's job is to make sure that communities are protected from powerful interests who, all too often in the process, come in, take what they need or build what they need--the community be damned.
The Borough President reviews all public and private land-use projects in Manhattan and can recommend approval or rejection of those projects. Also, the Borough President appoints most members of Manhattan's Community Boards and then provides support and oversight to those boards as they make crucial decisions affecting zoning and permits.
One primary responsibility of the Borough President's office is direct control over a portion of the city's capital and expense budget. In the last fiscal year, that total was approximately $20 million. This money is to be spent on projects in Manhattan--and grant the Borough President a great opportunity to use that resource to better the lives of all Manhattan residents.
Finally, there is the power that comes simply from being Manhattan's representative. The Borough President can fight, organize and lead to bring about change in Manhattan.