Council also voted on its modifications to City of Yes: Zoning for Economic Opportunity to add environmental, health, and quality of life protections while promoting local businesses, and package of legislation tackling pay disparities in municipal workforce

City Hall – Today, the New York City Council voted to pass legislation that would require the advice and consent of the Council as part of the appointment process for 20 additional city agency commissioners, upon subsequent approval by voters in a citywide election. Currently, the Council already has advice and consent power for more than a dozen roles, including the Corporation Counsel, Department of Investigations (DOI) Commissioner, and Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) Commissioner.

The Council also voted to approve modifications to the City of Yes for Economic Opportunity citywide zoning text amendment. The Council’s modifications to 14 of the 18 proposals address concerns about the initial proposal by including limitations and safeguards, striking the right balance to expand opportunities for small businesses, create jobs, and protect neighborhoods and quality of life for all New Yorkers. The Council also secured commitments to regulate last-mile facilities, support the city’s industrial sector, and boost enforcement resources.

Additionally, the Council passed packages of legislation to address the pay disparity in the municipal workforce and to support the needs of migrants and new arrivals.

“Advice and consent is a safeguard of good government, ensuring the city’s agency leaders are qualified and their priority is the public interest,” said Speaker Adrienne Adams. “When you cut through the noise, the truth is that advice and consent is a common feature of representative democracy in cities and states across this country, including New York, and New York City is an outlier. Today’s vote to pass this legislation supports the Council’s efforts to advance transparency and is a first step in this important conversation about representative democracy that is accountable to its people, and the final decision ultimately must be made by voters.

“In our ongoing commitment to achieve pay equity for our municipal workforce, the Council is proud to pass a package of legislation to ensure our city employees, especially women of color, have equitable access to the opportunities and tools that help them advance their careers,” continued Speaker Adams. As a women-majority Council, and the most diverse in history, our goal is to make government and our entire city work for all New Yorkers.”

Increasing Transparency in Appointment Process for 20 City Agency Commissioners

Introduction 908-A, sponsored by Speaker Adrienne Adams, would require the advice and consent of the Council as part of the appointment process for 20 additional city agency commissioners, upon subsequent approval by voters in a citywide election. During this administration, the Council has approved over 35 appointments of nominees put forward by the mayor without issue. This bill takes an incremental approach to expanding advice and consent and includes guardrails to ensure the process does not delay appointments by requiring Council action within 30 days of receiving a nomination.

The commissioners of the following agencies are covered by the bill: Aging; Buildings;  Children’s Services; Citywide Administrative Services; Consumer and Worker Protection;  Cultural Affairs; Design and Construction; Environmental Protection; Finance; Health and Mental Hygiene; Homeless Services; Housing Preservation and Development; Information Technology and Telecommunications; Parks and Recreation; Sanitation; Small Business Services; Social Services; Transportation; Youth and Community Development; City Planning.

The legislation seeks to move the appointment process for commissioners out of the shadows for greater public transparency. It can ensure appointments of highly qualified commissioners, potential conflicts of interests and ethical issues are proactively resolved and provide an opportunity for appointees to demonstrate their qualifications, build working relationships of trust with stakeholders, and learn more about the range of diverse issues they will be expected to address.

Municipal Pay Disparity Solutions: Improving Workplaces and Promotional Opportunities

In April, the Council released its 2024 Pay Disparities Report, which found that persistent gender and racial wage gaps in the municipal workforce are largely the result of women of color being paid less, given their concentration in job titles that consistently provide lower wages. The report shows that for every dollar earned by white male employees, all other workers earn, on average, 82 cents, demonstrating that people of color – and women of color, more deeply – are experiencing the overwhelming impact of municipal pay disparities. The following package of bills seeks to address these gender and racial wage gaps by increasing access to opportunities in the municipal workforce.

Introduction 743-A, sponsored by Council Member Carmen De La Rosa, would require municipal agencies to coordinate with the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) to offer career counseling to eligible municipal employees to advise them of career advancement processes and opportunities. This bill would also require agencies and DCAS to conduct outreach to eligible employees regarding the availability of career counseling services, and to create written materials to provide guidance. Furthermore, this legislation would require DCAS to submit a report regarding municipal employees’ utilization of career counseling services and summarize the feedback the agency has received.

Introduction 809-A, sponsored by Council Member Carmen De La Rosa, would require DCAS to publish a report on its website every other year regarding DCAS’ determination of promotional exam applicant eligibility. In particular, the bill would require the commissioner to report on the factors considered when making determinations to fill municipal vacancies from pools of direct line employees or to expand eligibility to collateral line employees or comparable position employees.

Resolution 306-A, sponsored by Council Member Carmen De La Rosa, would call on DCAS to grant additional points on promotional exams to examinees who have completed the agency’s Executive Development and Management & Supervision trainings, or to examinees who have earned a degree or certificate from CUNY, or a similarly accredited institution.

“In an effort to address pay disparities in the municipal workforce, we are passing Intro 809-A and Intro 743-A to provide municipal employees, especially women of color, additional tools to move upward in their careers as public servants,” said Council Member Carmen De La Rosa, Chair of the Committee on Civil Service and Labor. “95% of our gender and racial pay gaps are due to occupational segregation — it is not enough to simply diversify our workforce if we are not promoting that diversity within the ranks of our higher-paying titles. We will continue our oversight of pay equity laws and continue finding ways to advance career development opportunities and meaningful change for the people who keep our city running.”

Introduction 767-A, sponsored by Council Member Crystal Hudson, would require DCAS to create a workplace culture survey to be completed by municipal employees every other year on an anonymous and voluntary basis. The survey would ask employees about their opinions on their agency’s workplace culture, management practices, likelihood of departing the agency, and other equity-related concerns. This bill would require the commissioner of DCAS to submit a report on findings from the survey responses. This bill would also clarify that agencies’ annual reports on their efforts to remedy pay disparities and occupational segregation should include both internal and external outreach.

“Part of a broader pay equity package pursued by the Council, Int. 767 places the city in a position to proactively identify and address the concerns of the thousands of dedicated civil servants that work on behalf of millions of New Yorkers,” said Council Member Crystal Hudson. “The passage of Int. 767 is a significant step toward guaranteeing safe and equitable workplaces for our city’s municipal workforce.”

Assessing and Supporting the Workforce and Health Needs of New Arrivals

Sustainable employment and a comprehensive understanding of the physical and mental health needs of immigrant newcomers are vital to supporting the arrival of people seeking asylum. The following bills seek to equip city agencies and the Council with a full picture of new arrivals’ abilities, the impediments they face in accessing jobs and in addressing health-related needs, and potential solutions that would bolster their economic security, upward mobility, and their physical and mental health.

Introduction 84-A, sponsored by Council Member Carlina Rivera, would require a mayoral office or agency designated by the mayor, in consultation with the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA), to develop a survey of newly arrived migrants, including those who have arrived recently and those seeking asylum, to elicit information related to skills, economic opportunities, and workforce development obstacles. The bill would require the designated mayoral office or agency to conduct the survey annually in multiple languages in locations serving migrants. It would also require an annual report to the Council that includes the survey results and recommendations of policies and investments to support the economic well-being and success of migrants residing in New York City.

Introduction 85-A, sponsored by Council Member Carlina Rivera, would require a mayoral office or agency designated by the mayor, in consultation with MOIA, to develop a health survey of migrants to elicit information related to migrants’ long-term health needs, chronic conditions, and healthcare access needs. The bill would require the survey to be administered annually in multiple languages in locations serving migrants. The bill would also require an annual report to the Council that includes the survey results and recommendations for ways to identify and anticipate the health needs of migrants residing in New York City.

Resolution 340-B, sponsored by Council Member Carlina Rivera, calls on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to eliminate filing fees for humanitarian benefit applications and subsequent employment authorization applications. The resolution also calls on Congress and the President to move significant funding to USCIS to cover the funding lost by the eliminated filing fees.

“We are in an era of global displacement and city leadership has an obligation to meet the challenge of supporting individuals and families seeking asylum in New York City to achieve stability through humane and effective policies,” said Council Member Carlina Rivera. “In speaking with community organizers, I have learned that we must accumulate data to understand how the city has supported work permit applications, entrepreneurship, workforce development initiatives, and access to healthcare in order to identify the gaps in our efforts. In addition to enhancing our response at the local level, city leaders must continue to urge the federal government to provide New York City with financial support, employment authorization, language resources, and vocational training for individuals seeking asylum. Making smart investments that will help our newest neighbors settle into stable lives will lift all boats in the long run and will keep the immigrant story of New York alive.”

Supporting a 5 MPH Speed Limit for NYC Open Streets

Resolution 79-B, sponsored by Majority Leader Amanda Farías, calls on the New York State Legislature to pass, and the Governor to sign, S.315/A.1416, which would authorize New York City to set a five mile per hour speed limit on streets participating in the Open Streets program. Currently, the City can only recommend that drivers slow down to 5 mph when operating on an Open Street.

“Traffic fatalities are preventable if we are proactive,” said Majority Leader Amanda Farías. “Resolution 79 calls for a set five-mile-per-hour speed limit on streets participating in the Open Streets program to ensure we are not taking any risks when it comes to pedestrians and traffic safety. The expansion of open public space elevates public safety and has to remain a top priority for New York. That is why I am proud to lead on this legislation and glad to see our state and city coordinating action on street safety for New Yorkers.”

Supporting Conditional Release for Incarcerated People Completing Higher Education

Resolution 365, sponsored by Majority Leader Amanda Farías, calls on the New York State Legislature to pass, and the Governor to sign, S7843/A4888, in relation to conditional release of eligible people who are incarcerated and complete post-secondary degrees or programs.

“I am proud that today we passed Resolution 365, calling on the allowance for the conditional release of eligible incarcerated individuals who complete post-secondary degrees or programs,” said Majority Leader Amanda Farías. “Increasing conditional release opportunities to incarcerated individuals dedicated to their education is a proven and cost-effective way to reduce recidivism and increase employment opportunities. Education equips incarcerated individuals with valuable skills and knowledge, enhancing their employability and ability to reintegrate into society successfully. This approach not only benefits the individual by providing a constructive pathway towards a better future but also contributes to overall public safety by addressing one of the root causes – lack of access, education and opportunities. The City Council believes that supporting programs that promote education and facilitate successful reentry into society are essential to fostering safe communities.”

Calling for Expansion of Housing Preservation Exemptions for Older Adults

Resolution 232, sponsored by Council Member Gale Brewer, calls on the New York State Legislature to pass, and the Governor to sign, S.2960/A.5741 to provide for annual adjustment of the maximum income threshold eligibility for the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE), Disability Rent Increase Exemption (DRIE), Senior Citizen Homeowners’ Exemption (SCHE), and Disabled Homeowners’ Exemption (DHE) programs by any increase in the Consumer Price Index.

“SCRIE, DRIE, SCHE, and DHE are essential programs that keep older adults from being displaced from their communities,” said Council Member Gale Brewer. “The legislation in Albany would provide an annual adjustment to the maximum income threshold for these programs to keep pace with the Consumer Price Index, as Social Security does already. This will ensure our older adults and people with disabilities can both see an increase in their Social Security benefits and keep their affordable housing. It’s time we make sure our support systems keep pace with the cost of living. I am proud to support the legislation an urge the legislature to pass it this week.”

Recognizing June 6 as D-Day Remembrance Day in NYC

Resolution 157, sponsored by Council Member Julie Menin, would recognize June 6th annually as D-Day Remembrance Day in the City of New York, in honor of the courage and sacrifice of the Allied soldiers on the Normandy beaches in France. 

“On the 80th anniversary of D-Day, the heroic sacrifices made on the beaches of Normandy resonate more profoundly than ever,” said Council Member Julie Menin. “The City of New York will never forget and always commemorate D-Day and the brave and courageous service members who laid the groundwork for the Allied victory in World War II. I thank Speaker Adrienne Adams for advancing my resolution declaring June 6th as D-Day Remembrance Day in the City of New York.”

Approving Home Rule Resolutions

The Council voted on several home rule resolutions.

Land Use

Modifying City of Yes: Zoning for Economic Opportunity (ZEO) – The Council has modified the NYC Department of City Planning’s (DCP) proposed citywide zoning text amendment to update the city’s outdated commercial zoning regulations. The Council’s modifications to 14 of the 18 proposals address concerns about the initial proposal by including limitations and safeguards, striking the right a balance to expand opportunities for small businesses, create jobs, and protect neighborhoods and quality of life for all New Yorkers. The proposal also includes the Council’s priority of preserving manufacturing districts and enhancing the development of the industrial sector, which provides good-paying jobs and can prepare our city for a clean energy economy and future.

The Council also secured commitments for the City to address the environmental and health impacts of last-mile facilities and trucking, including advancing a zoning application requiring a special permit to operate the facilities, support for legislation to regulate emissions associated with their operations, and continued development of a program supporting waterborne freight as an alternative to truck traffic. Other non-zoning commitments secured by the Council include a budget commitment to hire new DOB staff positions to launch proactive enforcement, four new employees and an after-hours team for the Office of Nightlife to ensure establishments comply with laws and rules, and a boost in enforcement against unlicensed smoke shops. A full summary of the Council’s modifications to the citywide zoning text amendment and accompanying commitments from the Administration can be found here.

“The Council made modifications to the City of Yes for Economic Opportunity to strike the right balance of promoting economic growth and opportunities for local businesses while protecting neighborhoods and safeguarding quality of life for all New Yorkers,” said Speaker Adrienne Adams. “Our efforts will preserve manufacturing districts and enhance the industrial sector, which provides good-paying jobs and can prepare our city for a clean energy future. I’m proud that the Council has also secured crucial commitments for an aggressive plan to confront the serious environmental and health impacts of last-mile facilities and trucking, which disproportionately impact outer-borough communities of color. The additional investments for better enforcement of buildings, nightlife establishments, and unlicensed smoke shops also were pivotal commitments secured as part of the Council’s efforts. This balanced approach is responsive to communities and ensures a plan that can propel the city’s economy to the benefit of all New Yorkers and neighborhoods.”

“As Chair of the Land Use Committee, I am proud to have worked alongside Speaker Adams, my colleagues in City Council, and community advocates to ensure the Zoning for Economic Opportunity text amendment works in favor of all New Yorkers,” said Council Member Rafael Salamanca, Jr, Chair of the Committee on Land Use. “During this process, we negotiated a commitment for a special permit to address the issue of last-mile facilities that have swarmed our neighborhoods, and protections for local communities against micro-distribution sites in residential areas. While it is important to protect our business communities, we cannot overlook the historic environmental justice issues that have plagued our City for far too long.”

“I remain committed to ensuring that our city’s zoning regulations evolve with the times, reflecting the needs and realities of our communities,” said Council Member Kevin C. Riley, Chair of the Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises. “Today’s vote on Zoning for Economic Opportunity marks a crucial step forward in modernizing our zoning resolution to better serve the diverse economic landscape of New York City. As Chair of the Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises, we, at the Council, are working collaboratively to address key concerns raised by residents, community boards, and civic organizations. Our goal is to ensure that pedestrian-friendly corridors are preserved, residential areas are thoughtfully protected, and community input remains integral to the process. We recognize the necessity of robust enforcement mechanisms to uphold these regulations effectively. Moving forward, we are actively addressing emerging challenges such as last-mile warehouses, with a focus on prioritizing environmental justice and the equitable distribution of resources. Together, with a clear commitment to inclusivity and progress, we are paving the way for a more vibrant and resilient city for all.”

“Over a year ago, I joined the Speaker, a group of council members, advocates, and other elected officials, and started organizing to bring manufacturing into the conversation about the Zoning for Economic Opportunity text amendment,” said Council Member Jennifer Gutiérrez, Member of the M-Zone Coalition. “We knew that we cannot talk about the city’s economic future without highlighting the indispensable role of manufacturing and industrial jobs – and that this was a critical moment to leverage to protect them. We are thankful to the Department of City Planning for working closely with our coalition to do what none have been able to do for decades: protect our industrial business zones for a century to come.”

Finance

A preconsidered resolution, sponsored by Council Member Justin Brannan, renewing a 40-year Article V tax exemption for the preservation of a rent-stabilized building in Council Member Oswald Feliz’s district.

A preconsidered resolution, sponsored by Council Member Justin Brannan, renewing a 40-year Article V tax exemption for the preservation of three rent-stabilized buildings in Council Member Rafael Salamanca’s district.

A preconsidered resolution, sponsored by Council Member Justin Brannan, renewing a 40-year Article V tax exemption for the preservation of a rent-stabilized building in Council Member Chi Osse’s district.

A preconsidered resolution, sponsored by Council Member Justin Brannan, authorizing a 40-year Article XI tax exemption for the preservation of three rent-stabilized buildings in Council Member Rafael Salamanca’s district.

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