Council will also vote on legislation creating an Office of Labor Standards, as proposed in Speaker Mark-Viverito’s State of the City Address
City Hall – Today the City Council will vote on legislation establishing a New York City Department of Veterans’ Services. The Council will also vote on legislation creating an Office of Labor Standards to administer labor laws in New York City, collect and analyze labor statistics, and coordinate efforts relating to worker education, workers’ rights, workplace equity and other areas. Finally, the Council will vote on legislation adjusting the interest rate on unpaid charges owed by landlords to the city for emergency repairs.
Department of Veterans’ Services
Introduction 314-A, sponsored by Council Member Eric Ulrich, will establish the New York City Department of Veterans’ Services. The Department will replace the current Office of Veterans’ Affairs and expand upon its role. The bill will further provide the Department with the responsibility to cooperate with federal, state, and local agencies and to inform and assist members of the armed forces, veterans and their families, in matters including:
• Educational training and retraining services and facilities;
• Health, medical, and rehabilitation services and facilities;
• Provisions of federal, state, and local laws;
• Regulations giving special rights and privileges to members of the armed forces, veterans, and their families; and
• Employment and re-employment services.
Under this legislation, the Mayor will appoint a Commissioner to lead the Department. The 11 members of the Veterans’ Advisory Board who currently advise the Office of Veterans Affairs will continue to advise the Commissioner.
“Whether it’s this new Department of Veterans’ Services or the Council’s $940,000 dollar investment in the Veterans Initiative, the Council remains dedicated to supporting the over 225,000 veterans in New York City,” said Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “This Department will be a one stop shop for our city’s large and diverse veteran community. Today we’re taking action to ensure our commitment those who have bravely served our country. I’d like to thank Council Member Eric Ulrich and all the veterans across our city whose leadership was critical in making this legislation possible.”
“Veterans are such an important part of the fabric of our great city. That is why I am so proud to join my colleagues in passing this landmark piece of legislation,” said Councilman Eric Ulrich, Chair of the Veterans Committee. “By elevating the Mayor’s Office of Veterans Affairs to the department level, the Council is once again leading the way in honoring the military service and selfless sacrifice of our large and diverse veterans’ community. The new Department of Veterans Services will improve our ability to help and empower veterans throughout the five boroughs. I want to thank Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Council Member Paul Vallone, the Public Advocate and all my colleagues in government who supported this bill and championed its passage. Our city is also grateful for the dedication shown by the many veterans’ advocacy groups who worked tirelessly on behalf of this cause. As the brother of a Marine, I am personally honored to do my part to help make a difference in the lives of the men and women who have served our country
Office of Labor Standards
Introduction 743-A, sponsored by Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, will create an Office of Labor Standards and would give the Mayor the opportunity to place the office in an agency or mayoral office as he deems appropriate. The Office will study and make recommendations for worker education, safety and protection, educate employers on labor laws, create public education campaigns regarding worker rights, and collect and analyze labor statistics. The bill, originally proposed in Speaker Mark-Viverito’s State of the City Address will also allow the Office to take over administration of the Paid Sick Leave and Transit Benefit law. This office may be given other responsibilities in the future.
“New Yorkers deserve an office dedicated to ensuring that all their rights are being protected,” said Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “In recent years, the Council has been hard at work passing legislation to improve the lives of New Yorkers, such as Paid Sick Leave and Transit Benefits for working New Yorkers and commuters. With the creation of this new office, the City will be able to ensure that the rights of workers under these laws and others are protected.”
The rate of interest applied to unpaid charges owed by landlords to the City for emergency repair work conducted by the Department of Housing Preservation and Development is currently set at 7%. This is generally lower than the rate of interest for nonpayment of real property taxes.
Introduction 783, sponsored by Council Member Jumaane Williams, would change the rate of interest applied to unpaid charges for emergency repair work to match the rate adopted by the Council in each fiscal year for nonpayment of real property taxes.
This local law would take effect July 1, 2016.
“The Department of Housing Preservation and Development is tasked with conducting emergency repairs and demolition to buildings when a property owner fails to remedy hazardous situations in a timely manner. Due to these repairs, the City is owed approximately $12.5 million from 1,800 properties citywide, but the interest rate on this debt hasn’t changed since the Emergency Repair Program was established in 1974. stronger incentive for property owners to either conduct the repairs themselves or to repay the costs in a timely manner. As Chair of the Council’s Housing and Buildings Committee, I believe it’s time to change the current interest rate to provide a stronger incentive stronger incentive for property owners to either conduct the repairs themselves or to repay the costs in a timely manner. I would like to thank Speaker Mark-Viverito and the bill’s cosponsors, Council Members Wills and Rosenthal. I look forward to passing this legislation and making this much needed improvement to the Emergency Repair Program,” said Council Member Jumaane D. Williams (D-Brooklyn) Deputy Leader.