Council will also vote to co-name 42 public places in New York City

City Hall – Today the City Council will vote on a legislative package to reform Council rules and policies and set compensation for the city’s elected officials. Additionally, the Council will vote on legislation co-naming 42 streets, parks and public places. Finally, the Council will vote on legislation establishing discounted fees for Parks Department memberships to New Yorkers with disabilities.

Compensation for Elected Officials and City Council Reform

The Council will vote to set compensation levels for the city’s elected officials and make structural reforms to the City Council in order to make it a more open, accountable, and transparent legislative body. The reforms include the following legislative items:

• Resolution 980, sponsored by Council Member Ben Kallos, eliminates stipends for Committee Chairs and other leadership positions.
• Introduction 1069, sponsored by Council Member Ben Kallos, Dan Garodnick, Antonio Reynoso, Donovan Richards, Andy Cohen, and Margaret Chin, changes the position of City Council Member from Part-Time to Full-Time, and directs the Council to set rules prohibiting most outside earned income.
• Resolution 971, sponsored by Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Council Member Brad Lander, prohibits most outside earned income for Council Members.
• Introduction 1077, sponsored by Council Member James Vacca and Ben Kallos, requires that financial disclosure (COIB) forms of all city elected officials be placed online for the public to view.
• Introduction 1078, sponsored by Council Member James Van Bramer, extends the deliberation time of the Quadrennial Advisory Commission from two months to 120 days, and changes the timing of the appointment of future Commissions, from the second year of the term to the third year, to make it more likely that future Commissions will recommend that raises do not go into effect until the next term.
• Introduction 1055, sponsored by Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, sets compensation for elected officials as follows:
o $258,750 for the Mayor
o $212,800 for District Attorneys
o $209,050 for the Comptroller
o $184,800 for the Public Advocate
o $179,200 for Borough Presidents
o $164,500 for the Council Speaker
o $148,500 for all other Council Members

These items build upon the Council’s landmark rules reform package passed in May of 2014, which created a more equitable distribution of member items, increased transparency of Council business, and decentralized power from the Speaker’s Office to Committees and Committee Chairs. This reform goes further than ethics rules governing Congress and includes substantial reforms that set a new standard of disclosure and transparency for elected officials.

“These unprecedented reforms will strengthen the Council as a legislative body and help Council Members better serve their constituents,” said Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “By restricting outside income, designating Council Members’ positions as full-time jobs, and eliminating stipends for members, we’ll fulfill many recommendations of good-government groups and set a new standard for elected officials in our city.”

“City Council Members will be working full time for their residents without the influence of stipends and outside income,” said Council Member Ben Kallos, Chair of the Committee on Governmental Operations. “The elimination of lulus and prohibition on outside income are major, long sought after reforms that improve the integrity of the City Council and remove any doubt that a member’s duty is to anything other than his or her district and the City of New York. Advocates, editorial boards, and elected officials have, for many decades, pushed for the reforms the Council will enact today. I commend Speaker Mark-Viverito for the strong follow up to 2014’s rules reform and for taking another major step toward a transparent, responsive, and accountable City Council.”

“I’m proud to see the City Council implementing several long-sought and important reforms today,” said Council Member Brad Lander. “By eliminating “lulus” for leadership positions, we diminish favoritism and promote independence. By making City Council positions full-time and eliminating outside employment, we remove temptations to corruption and ensure that future representatives are dedicated full-time to serving constituents, and by putting our financial disclosures online, we advance transparency and avoid conflicts. By changing the timing of future quadrennial commissions we make it more likely that future raises take effect only in the following term. These changes further advance the already significant reforms the Council has made under Speaker Mark-Viverito’s leadership and I’m glad to vote for their passage today.”

“Int 1078, which I am sponsoring, takes on two recommendations made by the recent Quadrennial Advisory Commission. First, this bill gives the commission additional time, up to 120 days, for research and deliberation before issuing recommendations. In fact, this bill allows more time than the commission itself requested,” said New York City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer. “Second, the bill moves future commissions from the second year of each four-year term to the third year. This makes it more likely that the commission’s recommendations take effect in the next term, addressing issues associated with changes to compensation. I am proud to support these reforms, which improve the mechanics of city government.”

“Disclosure forms are essential in providing accountability and transparency with regards to an elected official’s potential conflicts of interest,” said Council Member James Vacca, sponsor of Introduction 1077. “My bill simplifies the process of gaining access to disclosure forms. Instead of an arduous process that requires a written request and a fee, information will now be available online at all times. Making this information transparent is consistent with the goals of Open Data, of which NYC has been a nationwide leader. I thank Speaker Mark-Viverito and Chair Kallos for their attention to this important bill.”

Street Co-namings

Introduction 1054, sponsored by Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, would co-name 42 thoroughfares and public places, based on requests of Council Members whose district includes the location. Included in these co-namings are:

• Detective Randall Holder Way in the Bronx, honoring NYPD Detective Randolph Holder who was killed in the line of duty in October of 2015.
• Carey Gabay Way in Brooklyn, honoring Empire State Development Corporation employee Carey Gabay, who was killed by a stray bullet in Crown Heights in September of 2015.
• Sergeant Bobby Mendez Way in Brooklyn, honoring Army First Sergeant Bobby Mendez, who was killed in the line of duty while serving in Iraq.
• Captain James McDonnell Way in the Bronx, honoring FDNY Captain James McDonnell, who died in October of 1985 from injuries sustained in the line of duty.
• Sergeant Donald B. Geisler Way in Staten Island, honoring Army Sergeant Donald B. Geisler who died in captivity while serving in the Korean War.
• FDNY Captain John Graziano Way in Staten Island, honoring FDNY Captain John R. Graziano who died in March of 2013 of pancreatic cancer resulting from his work as a first responder to the September 11th attacks.
• Connor and Breandon Moore Way in Staten Island, honoring four-year-old Connor and two-year old Breandon Moore, who lost their lives during Hurricane Sandy.
• Police Officer Kenneth Anthony Nugent Way in Queens, honoring NYPD Officer Kenneth Anthony Nugent who was killed in the line of duty while attempting to stop a robbery.
• Police Officer Kevin Joseph Gillespie Way in the Bronx, honoring NYPD Officer Kevin Joseph Gillespie, who was killed while in the line of duty.
• Charles Lucania Memorial Way in Queens, honoring Charles Lucania, who was killed in the September 11th attacks.
• Εθνικός Κήρυξ (National Herald) Way in Queens, honoring Εθνικός Κήρυξ, a Greek-language newspaper for immigrants in New York City which is one of the oldest continually published dailies in the United States.

“These co-nameings will honor community leaders, clergy, and dedicated public servants across New York City,” said Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “In the case of Detective Randolph Holder Way, we’ll be honor an NYPD Officer who bravely served our city and gave his life to keep his fellow New Yorkers safe. The brave men and women of the New York City Police department put their lives on the line every day in order to protect all of us, and this tribute will serve as a small token of gratitude for Detective Holder’s sacrifice.”

City Services for New Yorkers with Disabilities

Introduction 856-A, sponsored by Council Member Mark Levine, would require the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) to establish a discounted annual membership fee at DPR-run recreation centers for seniors, youths, persons with disabilities and veterans of the armed forces. The bill would require that the discounted rate be no greater than 25 percent of the highest membership fee charged at each recreation center.

This bill would take effect 120 days after it becomes law.

“Recreation centers are especially important to two classes of New Yorkers: veterans and people with disabilities. This new law will make recreation centers more affordable for these groups and also ensure low cost recreational opportunities for young people and seniors trying to make ends meet,” said Council Member Mark Levine, Chair of the Parks Committee. “This is one step we can take to show our gratitude to those who served, while providing greater access to the kind of exercise regimens and social interactions every person needs to enjoy a healthy lifestyle. I thank Council Member Ulrich and my colleagues for partnering in this effort, so countless New Yorkers can enjoy our wonderful recreation facilities at an affordable rate.”