Gotham Gazette Gotham Gazette is an online publication covering New York policy and politics as well as news on public safety, transportation, education, finance and more. http://www.gothamgazette.com/component/tags/tag/acs 2017-12-17T21:17:42+00:00 Webmaster webmaster@gothamgazette.com City Council Budget Response Seeks New Spending, More Savings 2016-04-04T21:06:46+00:00 2016-04-04T21:06:46+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6263:city-council-budget-response-seeks-new-spending-more-savings Super User <p dir="ltr"><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/24160646479_d465b780db_z.jpg" alt="bdb budget briefing w CMs" height="400" width="600" /></p> <p dir="ltr"><span style="font-size: 10pt;">Mayor de Blasio briefs Council members on his budget (photo: William Alatriste)</span>&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>The City Council on Monday issued its formal <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/budget/2017/FY17-Preliminary-Budget-Response.pdf" target="_blank">response</a> to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s $82 billion preliminary budget for fiscal year 2017, capping a month of budget hearings that were fraught with <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6202-at-first-council-budget-hearing-concerns-over-city-savings-and-state-cuts" target="_blank">concerns</a> over how Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposed state budget would affect the city and how prepared the city’s coffers are for a rainy day.</p> <p dir="ltr">Until last week, uncertainty over significant cuts in funding to New York City outlined by Cuomo had the City Council on its toes, with Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito traveling to Albany to participate in efforts to eliminate them. The de Blasio administration said at the first Council budget hearing that it did not have a contingency plan if the state were to shift nearly $700 million in costs for Medicaid and CUNY in fiscal 2017 to the city. Instead, officials said, they would be making every effort to ensure that the cuts did not stay when the state budget was passed.</p> <p dir="ltr">In <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/budget/2017/FY17%20Budget%20Response%20Recommendations.pdf" target="_blank">a letter</a> to the mayor on Wednesday, the Council identified its budget priorities but stopped short of issuing its full response given that the state budget had yet been finalized.</p> <p dir="ltr">At the end of last week, a new $147 billion state budget was passed without the most significant cuts to city funding, and the Council had the all clear to move forward with its priorities unchanged. Out of a budget process so far largely <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6072-majority-of-council-members-urge-mayor-to-identify-budget-savings" target="_blank">focused on identifying savings</a> across city government, the Council outlined specifics for a city budget that serves immigrants and youth, sets aside more in reserves, and invests in expanded services that it can track.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The Council’s budget recommendations are the culmination of dozens of comprehensive budget hearings and reflect the needs of all New Yorkers while also planning for our City’s future,” said City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pr/040416br.shtml" target="_blank">in a Monday statement</a> accompanying the Council’s budget response, which will form the agenda over the next three months as it negotiates a final budget with the mayor’s office by the June 30 deadline. “This is a budget that is smart, fair and fiscally responsible, all while greatly expanding opportunities to New Yorkers across the City,” Mark-Viverito wrote.</p> <p dir="ltr">The Council identified eight major priorities in its response: increased investment in city youth; investment in healthcare, education, jobs and legal services for immigrants; specific funding for the diverse communities; capital investment in infrastructure; creating a Rainy Day Fund and adding to existing reserves; baselining essential city services; expanding criminal justice, community support, and human services; and more accurately tracking city agency performance.</p> <p dir="ltr">The Council is proposing $790 million in new spending and tax reductions but estimates that the increase to the budget would ultimately be only about $127 million once larger agency savings and changes to debt service payments are included. Even with additional spending, the Council estimates a budget surplus of $258 million in fiscal 2017.</p> <p dir="ltr">The Council identifies $91.2 million in agency savings that the preliminary budget did not account for. A majority of this amount, $80 million, would come from reducing the city’s contribution to fringe benefits for the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) and the Human Resources Administration (HRA), which have received increased state and federal funding for these costs, the Council says.</p> <p dir="ltr">The response also calls for reduction in the city’s data processing equipment budget by $14 million and a $6 million reduction in Other Than Personal Services costs at the Department of Transportation. All of these savings figures were arrived at through analysis by the Council’s budget office, which is under the supervision of Mark-Viverito, Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, who chairs the finance committee, and Finance Director Latonia McKinney.</p> <p dir="ltr">Although the state budget no longer haunts the city’s fiscal future, the Council recognizes risks remain. An economic slowdown is widely expected by city officials, economists, and budget watchdogs, and the Council’s budget response notes the consequences it could have on consumer spending, tax revenue, real estate prices, and cost of living.</p> <p dir="ltr">“These preliminary budget recommendations reflect a central challenge in government: making our city more equitable while also planning prudently for the future,” said Ferreras-Copeland, in a statement. “The proposals included address inequality in New York City while remaining fiscally responsible, and I believe they represent the diversity of needs across our city. As the budget process advances, I will continue to ensure that the Council is an equal partner and that the Administration’s investments are transparent.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The budget is due before the start of the next fiscal year on July 1. Along with the state budget, Mayor de Blasio will take the Council’s feedback into consideration as he crafts his executive budget, due out later this month. The release of that updated spending plan, which the mayor has indicated will likely include a more robust agency savings plan, will trigger another round of hearings at the City Council. Then, the two sides will negotiate out of public view until a deal is struck.</p> <p dir="ltr">Asked to respond to the Council’s preliminary budget response, Office of Management and Budget spokesperson Amy Spitalnick, recounted by email that “Budget monitors and rating agencies have all applauded this administration's fiscal prudence and focus on targeting investments and protecting against economic uncertainty – and investors agree,” while providing a link to <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-02-08/on-wall-street-new-york-city-mayor-de-blasio-is-getting-respect" target="_blank">a Bloomberg news article</a> on the subject.</p> <p dir="ltr">Spitalnick outlined that the administration has “unprecedented” reserves while restoring “funds cut under the prior administration.” Even with billions already in savings, she wrote, “the Mayor has made clear, we’ll continue to build on those savings in the Executive Budget.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“We look forward to continuing to work with the Council throughout the budget process,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">

***
by Samar Khurshid, City government reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p>
<p dir="ltr"><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/24160646479_d465b780db_z.jpg" alt="bdb budget briefing w CMs" height="400" width="600" /></p> <p dir="ltr"><span style="font-size: 10pt;">Mayor de Blasio briefs Council members on his budget (photo: William Alatriste)</span>&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>The City Council on Monday issued its formal <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/budget/2017/FY17-Preliminary-Budget-Response.pdf" target="_blank">response</a> to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s $82 billion preliminary budget for fiscal year 2017, capping a month of budget hearings that were fraught with <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6202-at-first-council-budget-hearing-concerns-over-city-savings-and-state-cuts" target="_blank">concerns</a> over how Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposed state budget would affect the city and how prepared the city’s coffers are for a rainy day.</p> <p dir="ltr">Until last week, uncertainty over significant cuts in funding to New York City outlined by Cuomo had the City Council on its toes, with Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito traveling to Albany to participate in efforts to eliminate them. The de Blasio administration said at the first Council budget hearing that it did not have a contingency plan if the state were to shift nearly $700 million in costs for Medicaid and CUNY in fiscal 2017 to the city. Instead, officials said, they would be making every effort to ensure that the cuts did not stay when the state budget was passed.</p> <p dir="ltr">In <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/budget/2017/FY17%20Budget%20Response%20Recommendations.pdf" target="_blank">a letter</a> to the mayor on Wednesday, the Council identified its budget priorities but stopped short of issuing its full response given that the state budget had yet been finalized.</p> <p dir="ltr">At the end of last week, a new $147 billion state budget was passed without the most significant cuts to city funding, and the Council had the all clear to move forward with its priorities unchanged. Out of a budget process so far largely <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6072-majority-of-council-members-urge-mayor-to-identify-budget-savings" target="_blank">focused on identifying savings</a> across city government, the Council outlined specifics for a city budget that serves immigrants and youth, sets aside more in reserves, and invests in expanded services that it can track.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The Council’s budget recommendations are the culmination of dozens of comprehensive budget hearings and reflect the needs of all New Yorkers while also planning for our City’s future,” said City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pr/040416br.shtml" target="_blank">in a Monday statement</a> accompanying the Council’s budget response, which will form the agenda over the next three months as it negotiates a final budget with the mayor’s office by the June 30 deadline. “This is a budget that is smart, fair and fiscally responsible, all while greatly expanding opportunities to New Yorkers across the City,” Mark-Viverito wrote.</p> <p dir="ltr">The Council identified eight major priorities in its response: increased investment in city youth; investment in healthcare, education, jobs and legal services for immigrants; specific funding for the diverse communities; capital investment in infrastructure; creating a Rainy Day Fund and adding to existing reserves; baselining essential city services; expanding criminal justice, community support, and human services; and more accurately tracking city agency performance.</p> <p dir="ltr">The Council is proposing $790 million in new spending and tax reductions but estimates that the increase to the budget would ultimately be only about $127 million once larger agency savings and changes to debt service payments are included. Even with additional spending, the Council estimates a budget surplus of $258 million in fiscal 2017.</p> <p dir="ltr">The Council identifies $91.2 million in agency savings that the preliminary budget did not account for. A majority of this amount, $80 million, would come from reducing the city’s contribution to fringe benefits for the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) and the Human Resources Administration (HRA), which have received increased state and federal funding for these costs, the Council says.</p> <p dir="ltr">The response also calls for reduction in the city’s data processing equipment budget by $14 million and a $6 million reduction in Other Than Personal Services costs at the Department of Transportation. All of these savings figures were arrived at through analysis by the Council’s budget office, which is under the supervision of Mark-Viverito, Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, who chairs the finance committee, and Finance Director Latonia McKinney.</p> <p dir="ltr">Although the state budget no longer haunts the city’s fiscal future, the Council recognizes risks remain. An economic slowdown is widely expected by city officials, economists, and budget watchdogs, and the Council’s budget response notes the consequences it could have on consumer spending, tax revenue, real estate prices, and cost of living.</p> <p dir="ltr">“These preliminary budget recommendations reflect a central challenge in government: making our city more equitable while also planning prudently for the future,” said Ferreras-Copeland, in a statement. “The proposals included address inequality in New York City while remaining fiscally responsible, and I believe they represent the diversity of needs across our city. As the budget process advances, I will continue to ensure that the Council is an equal partner and that the Administration’s investments are transparent.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The budget is due before the start of the next fiscal year on July 1. Along with the state budget, Mayor de Blasio will take the Council’s feedback into consideration as he crafts his executive budget, due out later this month. The release of that updated spending plan, which the mayor has indicated will likely include a more robust agency savings plan, will trigger another round of hearings at the City Council. Then, the two sides will negotiate out of public view until a deal is struck.</p> <p dir="ltr">Asked to respond to the Council’s preliminary budget response, Office of Management and Budget spokesperson Amy Spitalnick, recounted by email that “Budget monitors and rating agencies have all applauded this administration's fiscal prudence and focus on targeting investments and protecting against economic uncertainty – and investors agree,” while providing a link to <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-02-08/on-wall-street-new-york-city-mayor-de-blasio-is-getting-respect" target="_blank">a Bloomberg news article</a> on the subject.</p> <p dir="ltr">Spitalnick outlined that the administration has “unprecedented” reserves while restoring “funds cut under the prior administration.” Even with billions already in savings, she wrote, “the Mayor has made clear, we’ll continue to build on those savings in the Executive Budget.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“We look forward to continuing to work with the Council throughout the budget process,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">

***
by Samar Khurshid, City government reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p>
The City Council Definition of Women's Issues 2015-03-27T17:28:23+00:00 2015-03-27T17:28:23+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5658:the-city-council-definition-of-womens-issues Super User <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/IMG_1777-Rotated.jpg" alt="Cumbo" height="405" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">Council Member Cumbo at a Women's History Month celebration (photo: Ben Max)</span></p> <hr /> <p>On Monday, March 30, the New York City Council will host a Women's History Month <a href="http://ow.ly/i/a3rqd" target="_blank">celebration</a> at City Hall. Council members will likely celebrate women heroes of city government, past and present, and acknowledge the history-making leadership of both Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, the first Latina to hold the position, and Public Advocate Letitia James, a former council member who is the first woman of color elected to city-wide office.</p> <p>At a different Women's History Month celebration last Friday evening in Brooklyn, Mark-Viverito lamented the fact that there are currently only 15 women among the Council's 51 members. She also said that with six, including herself, term-limited out of office after 2017, there is a need to recruit a new wave of women to run for local office. There's a good chance this message will be echoed Monday night in Council Chambers.</p> <p>Monday's event will come on the heels of a month of City Council preliminary budget hearings held in those very chambers. One such hearing, on Tuesday, March 17, featured the Council's Committee on Women's Issues, which is chaired by Council Member Laurie Cumbo. Without one clearly defined city agency to call in for budget oversight on its own - like, for example, the Education Committee has the city's Department of Education - the women's issues committee is matched with other committees for budget proceedings. Groupings are not uncommon, as there are 38 council issue <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Departments.aspx" target="_blank">committees</a>. But, Women's Issues is one of only a handful of council committees dedicated to a specific demographic group and where it fits for its budget hearings defines its focus narrowly.</p> <p>Because it has jurisdiction over child development, for budget hearings the Committee on Women's Issues joins the Committee on General Welfare and the Committee on Juvenile Justice to analyze the budget of the city's Administration for Children's Services (ACS). For budget purposes, it means a definition of "women's issues" as those related to children, poverty, and families in crisis.</p> <p>On the City Council <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/DepartmentDetail.aspx?ID=6917&amp;GUID=034A4EEA-080A-45EB-92D2-1012D6E6E494&amp;Search=" target="_blank">website</a>, the women's issues committee has the following description: "Issues relating to public policy concerns of women, domestic violence, Office to Combat Domestic Violence and Agency for Child Development."</p> <p>As Mark-Viverito, Cumbo, and many others readily note, the "public policy concerns of women" are unlimited. Asked by Gotham Gazette for more clarity on the budget hearing grouping, council sources pressed that the Council has been extremely active in addressing a wide variety of issues important to women and that female council members are at the forefront in many ways - points that are true, of course, especially considering that both the speaker and the powerful finance committee chair (Julissa Ferreras) are women.</p> <p>When asked to further explain the budget hearing grouping, Council Member Cumbo said in a statement, "Through our collaboration with the Committees on General Welfare and Juvenile Justice, we have worked to assess the operations of the City agencies most frequently used by women and families."</p> <p>This set-up is not new: since 2009 the Committee on Women's Issues has been partnered with the Committee on General Welfare for preliminary and executive budget hearings. The Committee on Juvenile Justice has been part of this group for three years. These trends span multiple council speakers and mayors, of course, as well as chairs of each of the three committees. The Women's Issues Committee is one of the smallest in the Council, with just five <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/DepartmentDetail.aspx?ID=6917&amp;GUID=034A4EEA-080A-45EB-92D2-1012D6E6E494&amp;Search=" target="_blank">members</a>.</p> <p>Getting at her committee's much broader focus than what its budget hearings indicate, Cumbo also said that Women's Issues "is uniquely positioned to address the challenges faced by the millions of women who make up more than half of our city's population. We have a broad responsibility to ensure that women from all walks of life have access to critical programs and services to meet their personal, familial, and professional obligations." She points to wage equity, education, entrepreneurship, and affordable housing among key issues she is focused on as chair.</p> <p>Since the start of 2014, when Cumbo became chair, Women's Issues has held joint hearings with the a variety of other committees including education, finance, civil rights, public safety, and health, among others. These groupings, unlike that for the budget, suggest the reality, that all issues are "women's issues."</p> <p>To that end, women members of the City Council meet as a Women's Caucus - <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/about/about.shtml" target="_blank">as do</a> the Council's Jewish members, LGBT members, and Black, Latino and Asian members - and evaluates how to best influence public policy of all kinds. Of these four caucuses, the only one with a parallel council committee is women's. Perhaps the Women's Issues chair should be at most, if not all, council budget hearings.</p> <p>On the subject, Democratic political consultant and City &amp; State columnist Alexis Grenell said, "We have a tremendous amount of female leadership right now in New York City, a feminist Mayor, and receptive male colleagues in government. It's a very interesting time to expand the conversation about so called "women's issues" beyond traditional categories and think about what a gender mainstreaming agenda might look like."</p> <p>Council Member Stephen Levin is the chair of the General Welfare Committee. On the subject of why his committee is partnered with Women's Issues for budget hearings, he emphasized that it should not be read into too heavily.</p> <p>"There's a significant amount of overlap in the issues that we work on with the women's committee," said Levin. "So when you're talking about child care, child welfare issues, there's certainly an area when we've done joint hearings." He concluded, "I wouldn't read too much into it other than there are a lot of times that we do work closely together."</p> <p>At the preliminary budget hearing, Cumbo gave opening remarks, acknowledging that it is Women's History Month - calling it "herstory" month - and recognizing the great strides that women have made and will continue to make. She singled out Speaker Mark-Viverito and Public Advocate James for their remarkable achievements. She also spoke about the work that the Administration for Children's Services (ACS) must do to "positively impact the women and girls of New York, including women and girls of color that face even greater economic disparities."</p> <p>With Mark-Viverito and James, Cumbo will co-host the event at City Hall Monday evening, as she did a Women's History Month event in Brooklyn on March 20 with colleague Jumaane Williams.</p> <p>Pointing to the overarching mission of her committee, Cumbo said at the budget hearing that it is essential the City supports children and families, "while also empowering the women across our city."</p> <p>She told Gotham Gazette that she is continuing to explore "future opportunities to work with multiple Committees year-round to identify effective ways to cultivate a more inclusive society where any woman can reach her full potential."</p> <p>***<br />by Shannon Ho and Ben Max, Gotham Gazette<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank">@GothamGazette</a></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/IMG_1777-Rotated.jpg" alt="Cumbo" height="405" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">Council Member Cumbo at a Women's History Month celebration (photo: Ben Max)</span></p> <hr /> <p>On Monday, March 30, the New York City Council will host a Women's History Month <a href="http://ow.ly/i/a3rqd" target="_blank">celebration</a> at City Hall. Council members will likely celebrate women heroes of city government, past and present, and acknowledge the history-making leadership of both Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, the first Latina to hold the position, and Public Advocate Letitia James, a former council member who is the first woman of color elected to city-wide office.</p> <p>At a different Women's History Month celebration last Friday evening in Brooklyn, Mark-Viverito lamented the fact that there are currently only 15 women among the Council's 51 members. She also said that with six, including herself, term-limited out of office after 2017, there is a need to recruit a new wave of women to run for local office. There's a good chance this message will be echoed Monday night in Council Chambers.</p> <p>Monday's event will come on the heels of a month of City Council preliminary budget hearings held in those very chambers. One such hearing, on Tuesday, March 17, featured the Council's Committee on Women's Issues, which is chaired by Council Member Laurie Cumbo. Without one clearly defined city agency to call in for budget oversight on its own - like, for example, the Education Committee has the city's Department of Education - the women's issues committee is matched with other committees for budget proceedings. Groupings are not uncommon, as there are 38 council issue <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Departments.aspx" target="_blank">committees</a>. But, Women's Issues is one of only a handful of council committees dedicated to a specific demographic group and where it fits for its budget hearings defines its focus narrowly.</p> <p>Because it has jurisdiction over child development, for budget hearings the Committee on Women's Issues joins the Committee on General Welfare and the Committee on Juvenile Justice to analyze the budget of the city's Administration for Children's Services (ACS). For budget purposes, it means a definition of "women's issues" as those related to children, poverty, and families in crisis.</p> <p>On the City Council <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/DepartmentDetail.aspx?ID=6917&amp;GUID=034A4EEA-080A-45EB-92D2-1012D6E6E494&amp;Search=" target="_blank">website</a>, the women's issues committee has the following description: "Issues relating to public policy concerns of women, domestic violence, Office to Combat Domestic Violence and Agency for Child Development."</p> <p>As Mark-Viverito, Cumbo, and many others readily note, the "public policy concerns of women" are unlimited. Asked by Gotham Gazette for more clarity on the budget hearing grouping, council sources pressed that the Council has been extremely active in addressing a wide variety of issues important to women and that female council members are at the forefront in many ways - points that are true, of course, especially considering that both the speaker and the powerful finance committee chair (Julissa Ferreras) are women.</p> <p>When asked to further explain the budget hearing grouping, Council Member Cumbo said in a statement, "Through our collaboration with the Committees on General Welfare and Juvenile Justice, we have worked to assess the operations of the City agencies most frequently used by women and families."</p> <p>This set-up is not new: since 2009 the Committee on Women's Issues has been partnered with the Committee on General Welfare for preliminary and executive budget hearings. The Committee on Juvenile Justice has been part of this group for three years. These trends span multiple council speakers and mayors, of course, as well as chairs of each of the three committees. The Women's Issues Committee is one of the smallest in the Council, with just five <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/DepartmentDetail.aspx?ID=6917&amp;GUID=034A4EEA-080A-45EB-92D2-1012D6E6E494&amp;Search=" target="_blank">members</a>.</p> <p>Getting at her committee's much broader focus than what its budget hearings indicate, Cumbo also said that Women's Issues "is uniquely positioned to address the challenges faced by the millions of women who make up more than half of our city's population. We have a broad responsibility to ensure that women from all walks of life have access to critical programs and services to meet their personal, familial, and professional obligations." She points to wage equity, education, entrepreneurship, and affordable housing among key issues she is focused on as chair.</p> <p>Since the start of 2014, when Cumbo became chair, Women's Issues has held joint hearings with the a variety of other committees including education, finance, civil rights, public safety, and health, among others. These groupings, unlike that for the budget, suggest the reality, that all issues are "women's issues."</p> <p>To that end, women members of the City Council meet as a Women's Caucus - <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/about/about.shtml" target="_blank">as do</a> the Council's Jewish members, LGBT members, and Black, Latino and Asian members - and evaluates how to best influence public policy of all kinds. Of these four caucuses, the only one with a parallel council committee is women's. Perhaps the Women's Issues chair should be at most, if not all, council budget hearings.</p> <p>On the subject, Democratic political consultant and City &amp; State columnist Alexis Grenell said, "We have a tremendous amount of female leadership right now in New York City, a feminist Mayor, and receptive male colleagues in government. It's a very interesting time to expand the conversation about so called "women's issues" beyond traditional categories and think about what a gender mainstreaming agenda might look like."</p> <p>Council Member Stephen Levin is the chair of the General Welfare Committee. On the subject of why his committee is partnered with Women's Issues for budget hearings, he emphasized that it should not be read into too heavily.</p> <p>"There's a significant amount of overlap in the issues that we work on with the women's committee," said Levin. "So when you're talking about child care, child welfare issues, there's certainly an area when we've done joint hearings." He concluded, "I wouldn't read too much into it other than there are a lot of times that we do work closely together."</p> <p>At the preliminary budget hearing, Cumbo gave opening remarks, acknowledging that it is Women's History Month - calling it "herstory" month - and recognizing the great strides that women have made and will continue to make. She singled out Speaker Mark-Viverito and Public Advocate James for their remarkable achievements. She also spoke about the work that the Administration for Children's Services (ACS) must do to "positively impact the women and girls of New York, including women and girls of color that face even greater economic disparities."</p> <p>With Mark-Viverito and James, Cumbo will co-host the event at City Hall Monday evening, as she did a Women's History Month event in Brooklyn on March 20 with colleague Jumaane Williams.</p> <p>Pointing to the overarching mission of her committee, Cumbo said at the budget hearing that it is essential the City supports children and families, "while also empowering the women across our city."</p> <p>She told Gotham Gazette that she is continuing to explore "future opportunities to work with multiple Committees year-round to identify effective ways to cultivate a more inclusive society where any woman can reach her full potential."</p> <p>***<br />by Shannon Ho and Ben Max, Gotham Gazette<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank">@GothamGazette</a></p>