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/committee-on-contracts 2017-10-20T19:37:31+00:00 Webmaster webmaster@gothamgazette.com Mayoral Control or Not, Calls Continue for Contracting Reform at City Department of Education 2017-06-22T04:00:00+00:00 2017-06-22T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7021:mayoral-control-or-not-calls-continue-for-contracting-reform-at-city-department-of-education Samar Khurshid <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/34245950295_dc5da482b5_z.jpg" alt="34245950295 dc5da482b5 z" width="600" height="399" /></p> <p>Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña and Mayor de Blasio (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)</p> <hr /> <p>New York City elected officials and independent watchdogs continue to voice concerns about the Department of Education’s transparency and contract procurement process. The issue became a flashpoint in the debate over mayoral control of New York City schools, which Albany lawmakers have yet to extend despite a June 30 expiration date. Like other powers over the schools, education-related contracting -- totaling billions of dollars per year -- has been centralized under the Mayor and the DOE through the mayoral control model of school governance.</p> <p>In the recently adopted city budget for fiscal year 2018, which begins July 1, about one-third of the $85.2 billion of operating funding is allocated to the DOE. Most of that funding goes to personnel, but there is a significant sum, about $7 billion, which will be devoted to outside contracts. While there have been no major recent scandals, the process by which the DOE awards those contracts, as well as the availability of information about the contracts, continues to draw criticism.</p> <p>Chief among those critics have been Comptroller Scott Stringer and City Council Member Helen Rosenthal, who chairs the Council’s Committee on Contracts. They are joined by nonprofit leaders who have scrutinized DOE practices for years, including under Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who first won mayoral control of city schools in 2002, ending the old Board of Education system. While there have been multiple high-profile contracting scandals, recently the concern has been a constant stream of smaller-scale, everyday contracts awarded without proper processes, critics say.</p> <p>Stringer has repeatedly and publicly pressured the DOE to disclose more information and clean up its procurement practices. Most recently, Stringer did so in testimony to the City Council as the new budget was being debated. In part, Stringer said that as revenue growth to the city is slowing, there is heightened need for the DOE to be sufficiently scrupulous.</p> <p>According to Stringer, the Department still does not pay enough attention to ensuring the DOE’s billions in contract funding is spent efficiently. “Time and time again, my office finds that current departmental processes are inadequate,” Stringer stated in his testimony, citing $6.7 billion for fiscal year 2018. “Whether it is through an audit of DOE or a review of DOE’s contracts, we find a lack of transparency and a lack of detail that is frightening when you are talking about billions of dollars earmarked for our children.”</p> <p>“The DOE claims to have a system of checks and balances,” Stringer continued, “but if you dig into the details you will find a lack of independent review, a lack of accountability and whole lot of rubber stamps.”</p> <p>Stringer also called the DOE “one of the least transparent agencies in the government,” adding he felt the DOE would “rather hide everything than open up their books." (Stringer’s statements were quickly used by state Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, a Long Island Republican, against Mayor Bill de Blasio in the mayoral control debate. The comptroller quickly reiterated his support for mayoral control in no uncertain terms.)</p> <p>When pressed for specifics, a spokesperson for Stringer pointed to wasted funds on technology initiatives, failure to detect collusion to drive up prices by food suppliers, late release of 70% pre-kindergarten contract information prior to the 2014 school year, and overpaying on custodial supplies, which Stringer has pointed out over the last three-plus years since he took office as Comptroller and de Blasio became Mayor.</p> <p>Along with these examples, there have been several other instances in which improper contracting practices have cost the city and harmed the DOE’s reputation. In 2008, the city Special Commission of Investigation (SCI) found the DOE had squandered $437,000 on payments to DynTek, a vendor for the DOE’s Department of Instructional and Information Technology which had been paying computer consultants employed by ERS Systems without the DOE’s authorization. “ERS billed DynTek for these services and DynTek, in turn, marked up these costs before billing the DOE,” according to the SCI. Three years later, a consultant Willard (Ross) Lanham was charged with funneling $3.6 million of DOE funds into his own pockets.</p> <p>In 2015, Custom Computer Specialists, a contractor the DOE considered, almost received a $1.1 billion deal to provide hardware and software to schools despite questions about the size of the contract and process involved, as well as the firm's indirect connection to an overbilling scheme. Outcry, led by education activist Leonie Haimson and Council Member Rosenthal, killed the potential deal. Most recently, in May, the Comptroller’s office released an analysis that revealed that after spending over $347 million on upgrading internet services, 45 percent of teachers said their schools’ internet quality “did not meet their instructional needs,” a survey of middle school teachers found.</p> <p>At a May City Council hearing regarding the 2018 budget, Rosenthal asked if the city Office of Management and Budget has unearthed similar problems to the ones in 2015, such as approval of “specious contracts.” “I would like to know that the OMB is doing a regular audit of its contracts,” Rosenthal said.</p> <p>“I would want to know that the DOE is regularly being investigated,” said Rosenthal. “If we were to do that more systematically then we would have more available to us to spend on things we so desperately need.”</p> <p>Rosenthal, who chairs the contracts committee and sits on the education committee, credits Haimson with calling attention to chronic DOE contracting deficiencies. As a response to Haimson bringing awareness to the issue, she has headed efforts to ignite change in the Department. Rosenthal, however, declined to explicitly comment on Stringer’s testimony, and separated herself from the Comptroller's narrative. The Manhattan Council member believes that the DOE has actually improved considerably of late in contracting and openness, especially since she's undertaken efforts to bend the department toward better practices.</p> <p>“I do thank you for what’s been done,” Rosenthal said to Dean Fuleihan, Director of the OMB. She framed the situation by contending the previous mayoral administration had “dug a hole,” and the current one is in the process of getting New York City public education out of it.</p> <p>"What I’ve seen is positive steps that have allowed for more oversight and transparency,” Rosenthal said in an interview with Gotham Gazette.</p> <p>The Upper West Side lawmaker emphasized that, in her view, DOE has allowed City Hall to both scrutinize the Department and collaborate with it. "They have made the contracting process more transparent...they have improved, I think, the oversight relationship with the city agencies,“ she said. Rosenthal noted that if capital and service contract costs rise, that information is now relayed to the City Council. "That's a big change.”</p> <p>According to Rosenthal, contracting practice woes have been ameliorated and their details brought into the limelight in recent years, as evidenced by the Department beginning to post contract information online.</p> <p>Still, while Rosenthal was clear that the DOE has progressed, there is room for improvement. "Is it perfect yet? Of course not,” she said. “But is it much better? Absolutely.” Rosenthal was optimistic about the prospect of additional improvements. She said the City Council and DOE have a “good constructive relationship moving forward.”</p> <p>Nonetheless, Haimson, executive director of Class Size Matters, a nonprofit advocacy group, is not as satisfied with the DOE as Rosenthal. “The budget is still increasing with little or no transparency," Haimson said in an email to Gotham Gazette. By phone, Haimson expressed skepticism about how the DOE manages its enormous budget and its forthrightness in doing so.</p> <p>“I am very disappointed in the whole process because we’ve been sounding the alarm for years now about the lack of transparency with these huge contracts that go through the PEP [Panel for Educational Policy],” she said.</p> <p>The PEP is a body consisting of 13 members appointed by elected officials, predominantly by the Mayor. Mayor Michael Bloomberg created the Panel to replace the Board of Education after the city gained mayoral control of schools. The PEP is designed to conduct independent oversight of the Department of Education but has not necessarily functioned in that manner.</p> <p>As the <a href="http://nypost.com/2016/05/08/school-spending-panel-doe-bullies-us-to-side-with-de-blasio/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">New York Post</a> reported last summer, one former PEP member alleges the group is comprised of members who were not equipped to properly review the budget and were pressured into doing the Mayor’s bidding. And, in Haimson’s opinion, the PEP still does not properly vet contracts, allowing the DOE to act with impunity. "I don't think it’s ever turned down a contract in its existence,” Haimson said, referring to the reputation the PEP has as a rubber stamp, both on policy and contracting. "It hasn't gotten better in some ways and in many ways it has gotten worse," she said of the DOE overall.</p> <p>The DOE engaging in sloppy, questionable dealings in secret is not new, said Haimson, who has worked as an education activist since the early aughts. Like Rosenthal, she alleges these problems became rampant under Mayor Bloomberg. “[A]s the budget rose dramatically and the oversight was more critical, Bloomberg didn't want any more scrutiny,” she said.</p> <p>However, unlike Rosenthal, Haimson says the DOE’s forthcomingness has gotten worse, not better, with de Blasio at the helm. “Under Bloomberg, I was able to go to OMB meetings,” she said, alleging she had been barred from these meetings in recent years. "The fact that the Mayor’s Office has more oversight may be good. [But] [w]e don't even know," Haimson said. “There doesn't seem to be anyone looking over their shoulders," she said, adding that providing ample DOE oversight would necessitate an independent commission.</p> <p>The Department of Education disputes claims that it is not careful or candid in its contracting processes. “Our procurement process is transparent and has strong oversight mechanisms, while delivering essential services to students and schools,” a DOE spokesperson said in a statement to Gotham Gazette.</p> <p>Though not related to contracting practices, Council Member Ben Kallos <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/27/nyregion/nyc-public-schools.html?_r=0" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">introduced</a> a <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=2962029&amp;GUID=DB5A6F41-42F2-4EC8-9AC9-3DD4F67004CE&amp;Options=ID%7CText%7C&amp;Search=Education" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">bill</a> in February that would require the DOE to more thoroughly disclose information about applications and enrollment to New York City public schools. The bill was pre-considered, and a hearing was held on it before it was introduced.&nbsp;</p> <p>"The bill has received some internal support, it has had its hearing and negotiations are ongoing to possibly move it forward," said a spokesperson for Kallos regarding the bill’s status.</p> <p>A representative for City Council Member Daniel Dromm, who chairs the Committee on Education, did not respond to multiple requests for comment about the status of the Kallos legislation, along with inquiries pertaining to DOE transparency and contracting practices.</p> <p>“We have our own issue with DOE," Kallos’ spokesperson said. "Obviously Council Member Kallos wouldn’t have released the bill if [the DOE] was a model of transparency.”</p> <p> </p> <p>Note: This article has been updated to clarify the status of the bill introduced by Council Member Ben Kallos.<br />Note: This article has been updated to more accurately depict the situation involving Custom Computer Specialists and a potential contract it was being considered for.</p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/34245950295_dc5da482b5_z.jpg" alt="34245950295 dc5da482b5 z" width="600" height="399" /></p> <p>Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña and Mayor de Blasio (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)</p> <hr /> <p>New York City elected officials and independent watchdogs continue to voice concerns about the Department of Education’s transparency and contract procurement process. The issue became a flashpoint in the debate over mayoral control of New York City schools, which Albany lawmakers have yet to extend despite a June 30 expiration date. Like other powers over the schools, education-related contracting -- totaling billions of dollars per year -- has been centralized under the Mayor and the DOE through the mayoral control model of school governance.</p> <p>In the recently adopted city budget for fiscal year 2018, which begins July 1, about one-third of the $85.2 billion of operating funding is allocated to the DOE. Most of that funding goes to personnel, but there is a significant sum, about $7 billion, which will be devoted to outside contracts. While there have been no major recent scandals, the process by which the DOE awards those contracts, as well as the availability of information about the contracts, continues to draw criticism.</p> <p>Chief among those critics have been Comptroller Scott Stringer and City Council Member Helen Rosenthal, who chairs the Council’s Committee on Contracts. They are joined by nonprofit leaders who have scrutinized DOE practices for years, including under Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who first won mayoral control of city schools in 2002, ending the old Board of Education system. While there have been multiple high-profile contracting scandals, recently the concern has been a constant stream of smaller-scale, everyday contracts awarded without proper processes, critics say.</p> <p>Stringer has repeatedly and publicly pressured the DOE to disclose more information and clean up its procurement practices. Most recently, Stringer did so in testimony to the City Council as the new budget was being debated. In part, Stringer said that as revenue growth to the city is slowing, there is heightened need for the DOE to be sufficiently scrupulous.</p> <p>According to Stringer, the Department still does not pay enough attention to ensuring the DOE’s billions in contract funding is spent efficiently. “Time and time again, my office finds that current departmental processes are inadequate,” Stringer stated in his testimony, citing $6.7 billion for fiscal year 2018. “Whether it is through an audit of DOE or a review of DOE’s contracts, we find a lack of transparency and a lack of detail that is frightening when you are talking about billions of dollars earmarked for our children.”</p> <p>“The DOE claims to have a system of checks and balances,” Stringer continued, “but if you dig into the details you will find a lack of independent review, a lack of accountability and whole lot of rubber stamps.”</p> <p>Stringer also called the DOE “one of the least transparent agencies in the government,” adding he felt the DOE would “rather hide everything than open up their books." (Stringer’s statements were quickly used by state Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, a Long Island Republican, against Mayor Bill de Blasio in the mayoral control debate. The comptroller quickly reiterated his support for mayoral control in no uncertain terms.)</p> <p>When pressed for specifics, a spokesperson for Stringer pointed to wasted funds on technology initiatives, failure to detect collusion to drive up prices by food suppliers, late release of 70% pre-kindergarten contract information prior to the 2014 school year, and overpaying on custodial supplies, which Stringer has pointed out over the last three-plus years since he took office as Comptroller and de Blasio became Mayor.</p> <p>Along with these examples, there have been several other instances in which improper contracting practices have cost the city and harmed the DOE’s reputation. In 2008, the city Special Commission of Investigation (SCI) found the DOE had squandered $437,000 on payments to DynTek, a vendor for the DOE’s Department of Instructional and Information Technology which had been paying computer consultants employed by ERS Systems without the DOE’s authorization. “ERS billed DynTek for these services and DynTek, in turn, marked up these costs before billing the DOE,” according to the SCI. Three years later, a consultant Willard (Ross) Lanham was charged with funneling $3.6 million of DOE funds into his own pockets.</p> <p>In 2015, Custom Computer Specialists, a contractor the DOE considered, almost received a $1.1 billion deal to provide hardware and software to schools despite questions about the size of the contract and process involved, as well as the firm's indirect connection to an overbilling scheme. Outcry, led by education activist Leonie Haimson and Council Member Rosenthal, killed the potential deal. Most recently, in May, the Comptroller’s office released an analysis that revealed that after spending over $347 million on upgrading internet services, 45 percent of teachers said their schools’ internet quality “did not meet their instructional needs,” a survey of middle school teachers found.</p> <p>At a May City Council hearing regarding the 2018 budget, Rosenthal asked if the city Office of Management and Budget has unearthed similar problems to the ones in 2015, such as approval of “specious contracts.” “I would like to know that the OMB is doing a regular audit of its contracts,” Rosenthal said.</p> <p>“I would want to know that the DOE is regularly being investigated,” said Rosenthal. “If we were to do that more systematically then we would have more available to us to spend on things we so desperately need.”</p> <p>Rosenthal, who chairs the contracts committee and sits on the education committee, credits Haimson with calling attention to chronic DOE contracting deficiencies. As a response to Haimson bringing awareness to the issue, she has headed efforts to ignite change in the Department. Rosenthal, however, declined to explicitly comment on Stringer’s testimony, and separated herself from the Comptroller's narrative. The Manhattan Council member believes that the DOE has actually improved considerably of late in contracting and openness, especially since she's undertaken efforts to bend the department toward better practices.</p> <p>“I do thank you for what’s been done,” Rosenthal said to Dean Fuleihan, Director of the OMB. She framed the situation by contending the previous mayoral administration had “dug a hole,” and the current one is in the process of getting New York City public education out of it.</p> <p>"What I’ve seen is positive steps that have allowed for more oversight and transparency,” Rosenthal said in an interview with Gotham Gazette.</p> <p>The Upper West Side lawmaker emphasized that, in her view, DOE has allowed City Hall to both scrutinize the Department and collaborate with it. "They have made the contracting process more transparent...they have improved, I think, the oversight relationship with the city agencies,“ she said. Rosenthal noted that if capital and service contract costs rise, that information is now relayed to the City Council. "That's a big change.”</p> <p>According to Rosenthal, contracting practice woes have been ameliorated and their details brought into the limelight in recent years, as evidenced by the Department beginning to post contract information online.</p> <p>Still, while Rosenthal was clear that the DOE has progressed, there is room for improvement. "Is it perfect yet? Of course not,” she said. “But is it much better? Absolutely.” Rosenthal was optimistic about the prospect of additional improvements. She said the City Council and DOE have a “good constructive relationship moving forward.”</p> <p>Nonetheless, Haimson, executive director of Class Size Matters, a nonprofit advocacy group, is not as satisfied with the DOE as Rosenthal. “The budget is still increasing with little or no transparency," Haimson said in an email to Gotham Gazette. By phone, Haimson expressed skepticism about how the DOE manages its enormous budget and its forthrightness in doing so.</p> <p>“I am very disappointed in the whole process because we’ve been sounding the alarm for years now about the lack of transparency with these huge contracts that go through the PEP [Panel for Educational Policy],” she said.</p> <p>The PEP is a body consisting of 13 members appointed by elected officials, predominantly by the Mayor. Mayor Michael Bloomberg created the Panel to replace the Board of Education after the city gained mayoral control of schools. The PEP is designed to conduct independent oversight of the Department of Education but has not necessarily functioned in that manner.</p> <p>As the <a href="http://nypost.com/2016/05/08/school-spending-panel-doe-bullies-us-to-side-with-de-blasio/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">New York Post</a> reported last summer, one former PEP member alleges the group is comprised of members who were not equipped to properly review the budget and were pressured into doing the Mayor’s bidding. And, in Haimson’s opinion, the PEP still does not properly vet contracts, allowing the DOE to act with impunity. "I don't think it’s ever turned down a contract in its existence,” Haimson said, referring to the reputation the PEP has as a rubber stamp, both on policy and contracting. "It hasn't gotten better in some ways and in many ways it has gotten worse," she said of the DOE overall.</p> <p>The DOE engaging in sloppy, questionable dealings in secret is not new, said Haimson, who has worked as an education activist since the early aughts. Like Rosenthal, she alleges these problems became rampant under Mayor Bloomberg. “[A]s the budget rose dramatically and the oversight was more critical, Bloomberg didn't want any more scrutiny,” she said.</p> <p>However, unlike Rosenthal, Haimson says the DOE’s forthcomingness has gotten worse, not better, with de Blasio at the helm. “Under Bloomberg, I was able to go to OMB meetings,” she said, alleging she had been barred from these meetings in recent years. "The fact that the Mayor’s Office has more oversight may be good. [But] [w]e don't even know," Haimson said. “There doesn't seem to be anyone looking over their shoulders," she said, adding that providing ample DOE oversight would necessitate an independent commission.</p> <p>The Department of Education disputes claims that it is not careful or candid in its contracting processes. “Our procurement process is transparent and has strong oversight mechanisms, while delivering essential services to students and schools,” a DOE spokesperson said in a statement to Gotham Gazette.</p> <p>Though not related to contracting practices, Council Member Ben Kallos <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/27/nyregion/nyc-public-schools.html?_r=0" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">introduced</a> a <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=2962029&amp;GUID=DB5A6F41-42F2-4EC8-9AC9-3DD4F67004CE&amp;Options=ID%7CText%7C&amp;Search=Education" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">bill</a> in February that would require the DOE to more thoroughly disclose information about applications and enrollment to New York City public schools. The bill was pre-considered, and a hearing was held on it before it was introduced.&nbsp;</p> <p>"The bill has received some internal support, it has had its hearing and negotiations are ongoing to possibly move it forward," said a spokesperson for Kallos regarding the bill’s status.</p> <p>A representative for City Council Member Daniel Dromm, who chairs the Committee on Education, did not respond to multiple requests for comment about the status of the Kallos legislation, along with inquiries pertaining to DOE transparency and contracting practices.</p> <p>“We have our own issue with DOE," Kallos’ spokesperson said. "Obviously Council Member Kallos wouldn’t have released the bill if [the DOE] was a model of transparency.”</p> <p> </p> <p>Note: This article has been updated to clarify the status of the bill introduced by Council Member Ben Kallos.<br />Note: This article has been updated to more accurately depict the situation involving Custom Computer Specialists and a potential contract it was being considered for.</p> Nonprofit Funding Boost, Pre-K Pay Parity Left Out of City Budget 2016-06-13T04:00:00+00:00 2016-06-13T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6394:nonprofit-funding-boost-pre-k-pay-parity-left-out-of-city-budget Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/27452273962_8306fbd7b0_z.jpg" width="600" height="399" alt="de blasio council budget question" /></p> <p>Mayor &amp; Council members announce budget deal (photo: Ed Reed, Mayor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p dir="ltr">In the weeks leading up to Wednesday’s <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/city/6385-de-blasio-city-council-shake-on-82-billion-budget" target="_blank">budget agreement</a> between Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City Council, a number of Council members decried what they said was underfunding of top Council priorities including summer youth employment, cultural institutions, libraries, senior services, and more. Consequently, the mayor conceded to most of those funding requests in the final deal.</p> <p dir="ltr">Most, but not all. Two major issues -- additional funding for human services nonprofits contracted by the city and funding to ensure pay parity for pre-kindergarten providers -- were absent from the deal, leaving Council members, advocates, and those at relevant organizations reeling.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I’m extremely disappointed,” said Council Member Helen Rosenthal of the lack of additional nonprofit funding. “We ask these providers to do serious work for 2.5 million New Yorkers. When we underfund them, we’re shortchanging New Yorkers.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The city contracts with nonprofits to provide a range of services including after-school programs, mental health services, food pantries, and senior care. Nonprofit providers have been <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/city/6364-push-continues-for-budget-boost-to-city-contracted-nonprofits" target="_blank">warning</a> of a crisis in the sector if the government does not step in to increase funding - they say that the city is not paying them for the full costs of their services. In January this year, Mayor Bill de Blasio took one big step in announcing a $15 an hour minimum wage for employees of nonprofits contracted by the city, but the contracts that the city awards must reflect these added compensation costs, along with rising rent and other operational fees, those who run these organizations say.</p> <p dir="ltr">Rosenthal, who chairs the Council’s committee on contracts, has been stressing the issue throughout the budget season. Last month, she led 46 other Council members in signing a letter to the mayor pushing him to baseline the additional funding, which would amount to about $25 million or a 2.5 percent increase. This funding would go to Other Than Personal Services (OTPS) costs, such as rent, supplies, maintenance and technology. If the city doesn’t help nonprofits cover those costs, Rosenthal said, “We’re going to have fewer staff and dirtier conditions."</p> <p dir="ltr">Nonprofit closures, the worst case scenario, are also not that unlikely. About 18 percent of the city’s roughly 3,700 nonprofits faced insolvency in 2013 and 27 percent operated on a deficit in 2014, according to <a href="http://www.humanservicescouncil.org/Commission/HSCCommissionReport.pdf" target="_blank">a report</a> by the Human Services Council (HSC), a coalition of nonprofit providers.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The human services sector is in crisis that has a lot to do with government underfunding of contracts,” said Allison Sesso, executive director of HSC. “We’re relying on these nonprofits to address some of the city’s most pressing issues like homelessness. How can they help struggling families if they’re struggling themselves?” Sesso said the city missed an opportunity to “turn the tide in the right direction,” but she was hopeful that efforts by advocates would yield results in the November modification to the budget.</p> <p dir="ltr">Mayoral spokesperson Freddi Goldstein confirmed in an email that the funding was not included but said that “the administration is committed to the city’s nonprofit sector and the New Yorkers it serves, including many of our most vulnerable. That is why we have made unprecedented investments in human services, including securing our contractors on the road to $15 an hour. We are always looking for ways to strengthen nonprofits and will continue to do so moving forward.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Another significant funding demand the administration did not meet in the budget is ensuring pay parity for pre-kindergarten providers, a long-running gripe for employees of Community Based Organizations (CBOs) who administer the city’s universal pre-kindergarten mandate but whose employees receive lower pay and benefits than Department of Education employees doing the same work. A number of elected officials have supported the cause, including multiple City Council members and Public Advocate Letitia James. A spokesperson for the Council Speaker’s office said though the funding wasn’t in the budget for both pre-k pay parity and nonprofits, conversations on both issues are ongoing.</p> <p dir="ltr">“If they want community-based programs to survive then they need to put the money forward,” said Andrea Anthony, executive director of the Day Care Council of New York, which represents nonprofits that provide childcare services at city-funded centers. “You can’t have the DOE competing with small nonprofits for the same pot of professionals and children.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Currently, the Day Care Council is engaged in union contract negotiations with the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators (CSA), which is one reason the administration stated it hadn’t included funding for pay parity in the budget. “The City is engaged in those discussions and supportive of the negotiations underway – but it’s a collective bargaining process between the providers and the unions,” said Goldstein, the mayoral spokesperson, by email.</p> <p dir="ltr">Several Council members who have been vocal on the issue did not comment for this article. Council Member Rosenthal said she wasn’t familiar with progress on the contract negotiations. A spokesperson for Council Member Stephen Levin said they were waiting for final budget documents to be posted and Council Member Elizabeth Crowley was unavailable for comment.</p> <p dir="ltr">Anthony of the Day Care Council said union negotiations over salary and benefits would likely be concluded within a month and the union has been supportive of reaching parity levels for pre-k teachers. “They understand that without certified teachers, these organizations cannot function,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">CSA Director of Communications Clem Richardson said the union wasn’t averse to raises for teachers but that their primary concern was the directors at CBOs who often make less than pre-kindergarten teachers. “We believe everyone who takes care of children deserve a living wage in this very expensive city that we live in,” he said in a phone interview. He said there had been no progress at a negotiation meeting on Monday but another meeting was scheduled for later this month. He was also optimistic that the final 2017 budget would include funding to accommodate these raises. The City Council is set to vote the budget through on Tuesday, though there is always the November budget modification. The fiscal year begins July 1.</p> <p>Richardson’s optimism was echoed by Stephanie Gendell, associate executive director of the Citizens Committee for Children, an advocacy group. “We remain hopeful as labor negotiations continue,” she said, “that the city will come to an agreement that includes salary parity for the early childhood education workforce.”</p> <p>

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by Samar Khurshid, City government reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p>
<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/27452273962_8306fbd7b0_z.jpg" width="600" height="399" alt="de blasio council budget question" /></p> <p>Mayor &amp; Council members announce budget deal (photo: Ed Reed, Mayor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p dir="ltr">In the weeks leading up to Wednesday’s <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/city/6385-de-blasio-city-council-shake-on-82-billion-budget" target="_blank">budget agreement</a> between Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City Council, a number of Council members decried what they said was underfunding of top Council priorities including summer youth employment, cultural institutions, libraries, senior services, and more. Consequently, the mayor conceded to most of those funding requests in the final deal.</p> <p dir="ltr">Most, but not all. Two major issues -- additional funding for human services nonprofits contracted by the city and funding to ensure pay parity for pre-kindergarten providers -- were absent from the deal, leaving Council members, advocates, and those at relevant organizations reeling.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I’m extremely disappointed,” said Council Member Helen Rosenthal of the lack of additional nonprofit funding. “We ask these providers to do serious work for 2.5 million New Yorkers. When we underfund them, we’re shortchanging New Yorkers.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The city contracts with nonprofits to provide a range of services including after-school programs, mental health services, food pantries, and senior care. Nonprofit providers have been <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/city/6364-push-continues-for-budget-boost-to-city-contracted-nonprofits" target="_blank">warning</a> of a crisis in the sector if the government does not step in to increase funding - they say that the city is not paying them for the full costs of their services. In January this year, Mayor Bill de Blasio took one big step in announcing a $15 an hour minimum wage for employees of nonprofits contracted by the city, but the contracts that the city awards must reflect these added compensation costs, along with rising rent and other operational fees, those who run these organizations say.</p> <p dir="ltr">Rosenthal, who chairs the Council’s committee on contracts, has been stressing the issue throughout the budget season. Last month, she led 46 other Council members in signing a letter to the mayor pushing him to baseline the additional funding, which would amount to about $25 million or a 2.5 percent increase. This funding would go to Other Than Personal Services (OTPS) costs, such as rent, supplies, maintenance and technology. If the city doesn’t help nonprofits cover those costs, Rosenthal said, “We’re going to have fewer staff and dirtier conditions."</p> <p dir="ltr">Nonprofit closures, the worst case scenario, are also not that unlikely. About 18 percent of the city’s roughly 3,700 nonprofits faced insolvency in 2013 and 27 percent operated on a deficit in 2014, according to <a href="http://www.humanservicescouncil.org/Commission/HSCCommissionReport.pdf" target="_blank">a report</a> by the Human Services Council (HSC), a coalition of nonprofit providers.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The human services sector is in crisis that has a lot to do with government underfunding of contracts,” said Allison Sesso, executive director of HSC. “We’re relying on these nonprofits to address some of the city’s most pressing issues like homelessness. How can they help struggling families if they’re struggling themselves?” Sesso said the city missed an opportunity to “turn the tide in the right direction,” but she was hopeful that efforts by advocates would yield results in the November modification to the budget.</p> <p dir="ltr">Mayoral spokesperson Freddi Goldstein confirmed in an email that the funding was not included but said that “the administration is committed to the city’s nonprofit sector and the New Yorkers it serves, including many of our most vulnerable. That is why we have made unprecedented investments in human services, including securing our contractors on the road to $15 an hour. We are always looking for ways to strengthen nonprofits and will continue to do so moving forward.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Another significant funding demand the administration did not meet in the budget is ensuring pay parity for pre-kindergarten providers, a long-running gripe for employees of Community Based Organizations (CBOs) who administer the city’s universal pre-kindergarten mandate but whose employees receive lower pay and benefits than Department of Education employees doing the same work. A number of elected officials have supported the cause, including multiple City Council members and Public Advocate Letitia James. A spokesperson for the Council Speaker’s office said though the funding wasn’t in the budget for both pre-k pay parity and nonprofits, conversations on both issues are ongoing.</p> <p dir="ltr">“If they want community-based programs to survive then they need to put the money forward,” said Andrea Anthony, executive director of the Day Care Council of New York, which represents nonprofits that provide childcare services at city-funded centers. “You can’t have the DOE competing with small nonprofits for the same pot of professionals and children.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Currently, the Day Care Council is engaged in union contract negotiations with the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators (CSA), which is one reason the administration stated it hadn’t included funding for pay parity in the budget. “The City is engaged in those discussions and supportive of the negotiations underway – but it’s a collective bargaining process between the providers and the unions,” said Goldstein, the mayoral spokesperson, by email.</p> <p dir="ltr">Several Council members who have been vocal on the issue did not comment for this article. Council Member Rosenthal said she wasn’t familiar with progress on the contract negotiations. A spokesperson for Council Member Stephen Levin said they were waiting for final budget documents to be posted and Council Member Elizabeth Crowley was unavailable for comment.</p> <p dir="ltr">Anthony of the Day Care Council said union negotiations over salary and benefits would likely be concluded within a month and the union has been supportive of reaching parity levels for pre-k teachers. “They understand that without certified teachers, these organizations cannot function,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">CSA Director of Communications Clem Richardson said the union wasn’t averse to raises for teachers but that their primary concern was the directors at CBOs who often make less than pre-kindergarten teachers. “We believe everyone who takes care of children deserve a living wage in this very expensive city that we live in,” he said in a phone interview. He said there had been no progress at a negotiation meeting on Monday but another meeting was scheduled for later this month. He was also optimistic that the final 2017 budget would include funding to accommodate these raises. The City Council is set to vote the budget through on Tuesday, though there is always the November budget modification. The fiscal year begins July 1.</p> <p>Richardson’s optimism was echoed by Stephanie Gendell, associate executive director of the Citizens Committee for Children, an advocacy group. “We remain hopeful as labor negotiations continue,” she said, “that the city will come to an agreement that includes salary parity for the early childhood education workforce.”</p> <p>

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by Samar Khurshid, City government reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p>
The Week Ahead in New York Politics, September 21 2015-09-20T05:00:00+00:00 2015-09-20T05:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5895:the-week-ahead-in-new-york-politics-september-21 Super User <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/640px-New_York_City_Hall.jpg" alt="New York City Hall" height="450" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">New York City Hall</span></p> <hr /> <p><strong>What to watch for this week in New York politics:</strong></p> <p><strong>THE POPE IS COMING:</strong> Pope Francis is coming to New York City at the end of the week, with public events on Thursday and Friday. The Pope's visit to the city will coincide with the UN General Assembly, at which he will speak, and will include mass at Madison Square Garden on Friday after a procession through Central Park, a visit to a school in East Harlem, and a ceremony at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. Significance, attention, security, and traffic will all be heavy.</p> <p><strong>TAKING ON K-2:</strong> There's a new drug crippling New Yorkers and it is "K-2" or "synthetic marijuana" (though it is not actually a form of marijuana) and city officials are working to quickly combat what some have said could lead to a new crack epidemic. Mayor de Blasio <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/news/625-15/mayor-de-blasio-multi-agency-strategy-end-sale-use-k2-linked-recent-spike" target="_blank">announced</a> a multi-agency strategy last week and the City Council has seen several bills introduced to up regulation and enforcement. The Council will hold a hearing Monday on the bills, which have been introduced by Council Member Dan Garodnick, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and others.</p> <p><strong>TRACKING DE BLASIO:</strong> The mayor gave a big education speech on Wednesday last week and followed it up with efforts to spread the word about his plans, including an interview with the Daily News Editorial Board and another <a href="http://www.wnyc.org/story/mayor-de-blasio-education-initiatives/" target="_blank">appearance</a> on WNYC. De Blasio has said he will be taking his message to New Yorkers more and more in the coming weeks as he ramps up efforts to improve his public approval numbers and make sure that his programs and plans are known.</p> <p>De Blasio had no public events Saturday. On Sunday, the mayor appeared on This Week on ABC, delivered remarks to the congregation at the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn, and marched in and deliver remarks at the African American Day Parade in Harlem.</p> <p>On Monday, de Blasio is set to hold a noon press conference to discuss the upcoming papal visit. De Blasio is also meeting privately with NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton and former tennis star James Blake regarding NYPD reforms and the recent incident in which Blake was mistakenly arrested by an NYPD officer and handled roughly in the process.</p> <p>We also know that on Thursday evening, de Blasio is expected to speak at an event at The New School:&nbsp;"to engage with world-leading Mayors and local government representatives as they pledge their support for the United Nations' new Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) in their cities and commit to implementing the new urban agenda between now and 2030."</p> <p><strong>AS FOR THE GOVERNOR:</strong> Governor Cuomo also participates in events related to the African-American Day Parade on Sunday. His remarks Sunday morning focused on calling for federal action on gun regulations and raising the minimum wage. Cuomo was asked about recents <a href="http://www.buffalonews.com/city-region/us-attorney-bharara-probes-contracts-for-buffalo-billion-and-buffalo-schools-construction-project-20150918" target="_blank">reports</a> that federal prosecutors are investigating his Buffalo Billion program around the contracting process - the governor maintains he knows nothing about the investigation other than what he reads in the newspaper and downplays subpoenas being issued, saying that as Attorney General he used to issue many as part of fact-finding, but that does not mean there's been criminal behavior.</p> <p>On Monday, Cuomo has no public events scheduled.</p> <p>See below for more details about Monday and the rest of a very busy week in New York politics in our day-by-day rundown...</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>***Do you have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics?</em><br /><em>E-mail Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com">bmax@gothamgazette.com</a>***</em></p> <p><strong>The run of the week in detail:</strong></p> <p><strong>Monday<br /></strong>At the City Council <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">on Monday</a>:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">10 a.m. the Committee on Consumer Affairs in conjunction with the Committee on Mental Health, Developmental Disability, Alcoholism, Substance Abuse and Disability Services, Committee on Health, Committee on Public Safety, Committee on Aging &nbsp;will meet to discuss “The Proliferation of Illegal Synthetic Cannabinoids: Health Impacts and Enforcement.” The bill would suspend cigarette dealer licenses for any “dealer who violates the provisions of the proposed synthetic drug prohibition” and “create a mandatory revocation for a second violation of such proposed prohibition.” Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito will give opening remarks.</li> </ul> <ul> <li dir="ltr">11 a.m. the Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting and Maritime Uses will meet to discuss three land use applications for Landmarks, Corbin Building, 11 John St, Manhattan , Landmarks, Stonewall Inn, 51-53 Christopher St, Manhattan , Landmarks, Riverside-West End Historic District Extension II, Manhattan.</li> </ul> <ul> <li dir="ltr">1 p.m. &nbsp;The Committee on Economic Development will meet with the Committee on Waterfronts and the Committee on Transportation to evaluate the plan for a citywide ferry system. [Read <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5892-cautious-optimism-ahead-of-hearing-on-citywide-ferry-plan" target="_blank">our new look at the ferry plan as we preview the Council hearing on the subject</a>]</li> </ul> <ul> <li dir="ltr">1 p.m. The Committee on Civil Rights will meet to hear the introduction of four initiatives. The first bill, presented by Council Member Deborah L. Rose, prohibits “employment discrimination based on an individual’s actual or perceived status as a caregiver.” The following three propose expansions on the New York City Human Rights Law. Rose will also introduce one of these bills, as she seeks to expand the definition of “employer under the human rights law to provide protections for domestic workers.” She will be joined by Council Members Inez D. Barron and Brad S. Lander who will introduce legislation to clarify “reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities,” &nbsp;“expand the right to truthful information” and to create “an express cause of action for employers and principals whose rights are violated by conduct to which their employees or agents are subjected.”</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">At 9 a.m. Monday the New York State Department of Health will hold one in a series of “From Blueprint to Action: Ending the Epidemic - New York Statewide Regional Discussions,” to address the problem of HIV/AIDS in New York State. Monday’s event, on the Upper West Side, will provide information about HIV/AIDS and related services, include opportunities for public input, and offer a <a href="http://www.eventbrite.com/e/from-blueprint-to-action-ending-the-epidemic-new-york-statewide-regional-discussions-tickets-17832254754" target="_blank">Call to Action</a> to end the epidemic by 2020.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 10:30 a.m. Monday, "The New York State Democratic Committee will hold its Fall business meeting on Monday, September 21st in New York City."</p> <p dir="ltr">Monday on WNYC’s <a href="http://www.wnyc.org/shows/bl/" target="_blank">The Brian Lehrer Show</a>, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. will appear to discuss “the film industry’s expansion into the Bronx, with several television shows being shot in the borough as of late and Silvercup Studios, home to shows such as "Girls" &nbsp;and "30 Rock," spending $35 million to convert a warehouse in Port Morris to a film and television production complex.”</p> <p dir="ltr">At 11 a.m. Monday in Brooklyn,&nbsp;"Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo, joined by citywide elected officials, residents, and community organizations will gather at the Raymond V. Ingersoll Houses on Monday to make a public appeal for community cooperation to aid in NYPD apprehension of suspect(s) involved in Sunday's triple homicide." Comptroller Scott Stringer and Public Advocate Letitia James are set to attend.</p> <p dir="ltr">At noon in downtown Brooklyn,&nbsp;"At a major news event organized by the Real Affordability for All campaign, Mayor de Blasio will be pressured to revise his rezoning plan for East New York, the South Bronx, and other neighborhoods to ensure that current low-income residents have access to real affordable housing and good-paying union construction jobs...This event comes as the public land review process is set to begin Monday for the rezoning of East New York and amid growing concern that de Blasio's plan will accelerate gentrification and displacement in low-income communities of color, leaving behind too many vulnerable New Yorkers."</p> <p dir="ltr">Also at noon, Council Speaker Mark-Viverito will&nbsp;moderate the Q&amp;A session with Chelsea Clinton at the Eleanor Roosevelt Legacy Committee Annual Fall Luncheon.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 1 p.m. in the Bronx, “New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) Chair and CEO Shola Olatoye will announce the launch of "MyNYCHA," a new mobile application for residents to make repair requests. With the free app, residents can create, schedule, and manage work tickets via their mobile devices (smartphones or tablets). They can also subscribe to alerts for outages in their developments (NYCHA Alerts) and view inspection appointments.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“Freelancers across New York City gather on Monday, September 21st for the #FreelanceIsntFree Campaign Launch and Brooklyn Town Hall Meeting at Brooklyn Borough Hall.” <a href="https://www.freelancersunion.org/blog/2015/09/10/youre-invited-brooklyn-town-hall-freelanceisntfree-campaign-launch/" target="_blank">The event</a> will be led by Sara Horowitz, Founder of Freelancers Union, Brooklyn City Council Members including Brad Lander, and “New York City’s finest freelancers to talk about the issue and ways we can make a change.”</p> <p dir="ltr">At 6:30 p.m. The New School’s Milano School is set to host <a href="http://www.eventbrite.com/e/politics-policy-series-examination-of-voting-rights-in-2016-us-election-tickets-18099608416?mc_cid=e8d1a06afd&amp;mc_eid=39b1e6c68c%20Detail" target="_blank">Politics &amp; Policy Series: Examination of Voting Rights in 2016 US Election</a> at 6:30 p.m. Ari Berman of the Nation will read from his book Give Us the Ballot. Following a brief reading, New School urban policy professor Jeff Smith will moderate a conversation with Berman, New York Times national political correspondent Maggie Haberman, and Fordham political science professor Christina Greer.</p> <p dir="ltr">On a similar note, at 7 p.m. Monday The New York City Campaign Finance Board will host its <a href="http://www.nyccfb.info/about/calendar/national-voter-registration-day-nvrd-kick" target="_blank">National Voter Registration Day Kick-Off</a>, part of a non-partisan effort to register all eligible citizens nationwide. Lisa Evers of Fox 5 News and Hot 97 will discuss voting rights and the immigrant vote with panelists Marc H. Morial, President and CEO of National Urban League; L. Joy Williams, President of the Brooklyn NAACP; Steven Choi, Executive Director of the NY Immigration Coalition; and Jaime Estades, Director of Latino Leadership Institute, voting rights and the immigrant vote in 2016. Crystal Valentine, the 2015 Youth Poet Laureate, will perform after the discussion.</p> <p dir="ltr">Also at 7 p.m., Daniel A. Zarrilli, Director of the city’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency, invites the public to join his office at the second <a href="https://twitter.com/dzarrilli/status/643556515337629696" target="_blank">public hearing</a> regarding an update on Lower Manhattan resiliency efforts. &nbsp;The discussion will touch on issues of coastal protection, stormwater management and resiliency upgrades for affordable housing developments. The draft for the Resiliency Update is available for review online at <a href="http://nyc.gov/cdbg" target="_blank">nyc.gov/cdbg</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">"On Monday, September 21, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. will be the guest on the 1,000th episode of "BronxTalk," hosted by Gary Axelbank and airing on Bronxnet. The show, which airs at 9 p.m., will be streamed live at <a href="http://www.bronxnet.org" target="_blank">www.bronxnet.org</a>, and can be viewed in The Bronx on Cablevision channel 67 or Verizon FiOS channel 33."</p> <p dir="ltr">City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">events</a> Monday, September 21:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">CM Antonio Reynoso (District 34, Brooklyn/Queens) 1:30 p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (District 8, Manhattan/Bronx) 6 p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Laurie Cumbo (District 35, Brooklyn) 6:30 p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Steven Levin (District 33, Brooklyn) 6:30</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Ydanis Rodriguez (District 10, Manhattan) 6:30 p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Andrew Cohen (District 11, Bronx) 7 p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Costa Constantides (District 22, Queens) 7 p.m.&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p><strong>Tuesday<br /></strong>Tuesday morning NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton will speak at an Assocation for a Better New York (ABNY) breakfast&nbsp;<a href="https://www.abny.org/Content/Events/EventViewer.aspx?EventID=178" target="_blank">event</a>. He will discuss “the NYPD’s efforts to address public safety and quality of life conditions in New York.”</p> <p dir="ltr">At 9:30 a.m. Queens Borough President Melinda Katz will hold a&nbsp;<a href="http://queensbp.org/event/queens-borough-cabinet-meeting-2-2-3-2-2/?instance_id=1077" target="_blank">meeting</a>&nbsp;at Queens Borough Hall, which “focuses on city service delivery and agency responsiveness across the borough and hears presentations on these issues from City officials and others.”</p> <p>At the City Council <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">on Tuesday</a>:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">10 a.m. The Committee on Contracts will meet with the Committee on Public Housing to examine “the Need for Contracting Accountability and Transparency at NYCHA in Light of Leaking Roofs at King Towers”</li> <li dir="ltr">10 a.m. The Committee on General Welfare will conduct a “Review of HRA’s Employment Plan Concept Papers.”</li> <li dir="ltr">10 a.m. The Committee on Environmental Protection will discuss “Use of geothermal energy in New York City.”</li> <li dir="ltr">10 a.m. The Committee on Higher Education will meet to discuss, “Higher Education Access for Incarcerated and Recently Incarcerated Individuals.” and &nbsp;“Support of President Barack Obama’s Second Chance Pell Pilot Program”</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">Tuesday is National Voter Registration Day. Over the next several months drives will be held to increase awareness about the importance of voting. The list of the events can be found on this <a href="http://www.nyccfb.info/about/calendar" target="_blank">calendar</a>. "Only 81% of NYC's eligible voting age population is registered to vote, and just 20% of eligible voters actually voted in 2014. NVRD is about increasing those numbers and invigorating the voting population. Our democracy, after all, is only as strong as its participants.”</p> <p dir="ltr">On Tuesday, "Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., the New York State Department of Labor and the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation will co-host a Bronx Job Fair."</p> <p dir="ltr">At 4:30 p.m. Tuesday the New York State Preparedness Corps Training Program will host a two hour long <a href="http://www.dhses.ny.gov/aware-prepare/nysprepare/" target="_blank">event </a>intended to provide residents with “the tools and resources to prepare for any type of disaster” and to “respond accordingly and recover as quickly as possible to pre-disaster conditions.” The <a href="http://queensbp.org/event/new-york-state-preparedness-corps-training-program-registration-required/?instance_id=1202" target="_blank">program</a> is sponsored by Gov. Cuomo, Rep. Gregory Meeks, Queens BP Melinda Katz, State Senator James Sanders Jr. and City Councilman Donovan Richards.</p> <p dir="ltr">City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">events</a> Tuesday, September 22:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">CM Carlos Menchaca (District 38, Brooklyn) 6 p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">Jimmy Van Bramer (District 26, Queens) 6 p.m.</li> <li>Antonio Reynoso (District 34, Brooklyn/Queens) 6:30 p.m.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Wednesday<br /></strong>Wednesday looks slower in New York City as many participate in the Yom Kippur holiday. Other events can, of course, pop up last-minute.</p> <p>City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">events</a> Wednesday, September 23:</p> <ul> <li>Carlos Menchaca (Distict 38, Brooklyn) 6:30 p.m.</li> <li>I. Daneek Miller (District 27, Queens) 7 p.m.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Thursday<br /></strong>At 8 a.m. Thursday, City &amp; State NY&nbsp;<a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/#.Vf7exWTBzGc" target="_blank">will hold</a>&nbsp;its 4th Annual "On Diversity" event featuring leaders in government, business, and advocacy to discuss the social and economic advantages of promoting diversity in both the public and private sectors. Maya Wiley, Counsel to the Mayor, will make keynote remarks. Panels will include R. Fenimore Fisher, Chief Diversity and EEO Officer at the New York City DCAS; Carra Wallace, Chief Diversity Officer at the Office of the NYC Comptroller; Charissa Fernandez, Executive Director of Teach for America; Bertha Lewis, Founder and President of The Black Institute; Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte, Chair of the Subcommittee on Oversight of MWBEs; and Assemblymember Michael Blake, Chair at the Subcommittee on Mitchell-Lama.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 10 a.m. Thursday the New York City Campaign Finance Board <a href="http://www.nyccfb.info/media/advisories/notice-public-meeting-new-york-city-campaign-finance-board-18" target="_blank">will hold</a> its next public meeting.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 10 a.m. the New York State Assembly will have a <a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?sh=hear" target="_blank">public hearing</a> regarding child poverty in the NY state. New York currently has “some of the highest levels of child poverty in the country.”</p> <p dir="ltr">At about 5 p.m. Thursday Pope Francis will arrive at JFK airport. It will be his first <a href="http://www.popefrancisnyc.org/pope-francis" target="_blank">visit</a> to New York and the first Papal visit since 2008. At 6:45 p.m. Pope Francis will hold an evening prayer at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. [On Friday the Pope will visit the United Nations, attend a multi-religious service at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, visit Our Lady Queen of Angels School in East Harlem, hold a mass at Madison Square Garden and have a historic procession through Central Park.]</p> <p dir="ltr">At 6:30 p.m. Thursday, a <a href="https://services.nycbar.org/iMIS/Events/Event_Display.aspx?EventKey=ENV092415&amp;WebsiteKey=f71e12f3-524e-4f8c-a5f7-0d16ce7b3314" target="_blank">panel</a> hosted by the New York City Bar Association: “New York City- Building Energy Benchmarking Law: Acting On the Results” will evaluate NYC’s landmark Local Law 84. The event is co-sponsored by the Bar’s Environmental Law Committee and chair Michael G. Mahoney in conjunction with the Sallan Foundation, the New York League of Conservation Voters, the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, Columbia Law School.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 7 p.m., <a href="http://events.newschool.edu/event/cities_deliver_sustainable_development_global_urban_leaders_endorse_and_operationalize_the_sdgs#.Vf7g_mTBzGe" target="_blank">Cities Deliver Sustainable Development: Global Urban Leaders Endorse and Operationalize the SDGs</a> will be hosted by Jeffrey Sachs, Director of Sustainable Development Solutions Network (UNSDSN) at the New School, in association with the Campaign for Urban SDG, the Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Governments and the Tishman Environment and Design Center. Expected speakers include Mayor Bill de Blasio, as well as Edmund G. Brown Jr., Governor of California; Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris; Eduardo Paes, Mayor of Rio de Janeiro; Xu Qin, Mayor of Shenzhen; Mpho Franklyn Parks Tau, Mayor of Johannesburg; Kadir Topbaş, Mayor of Istanbul; and Park Won-soon, Mayor of Seoul.</p> <p dir="ltr">City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">events</a> Thursday, September 24:</p> <ul> <li>CM Mark Levine (District 7, Manhattan) 5:30 p.m.</li> <li>CM Jimmy Van Bramer (District 26, Queens) 6 p.m.</li> <li>CM Elizabeth Crowley (District 30, Queens) 6:30 p.m.</li> <li>CM Julissa Ferreras (District 21, Queens) 6:30 p.m.</li> <li>CM Antonio Reynoso (District 34, Brooklyn/Queens) 6:30 p.m.</li> <li>CM Andrew Cohen (District 11, Bronx) 7 p.m.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Friday and the weekend<br /></strong>At the City Council <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">on Friday</a>:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">10 a.m. Committee on Civil Service and Labor will meet to discuss two bills. The first “would require new grocery store owners to retain the previous owner’s staff for a transition period after a business is sold.” After the transition period, the new employer would also have to evaluate each employee and consider keeping them. The second bill seeks to “extend health insurance coverage to the surviving spouses, domestic partners and children of employees of the Sanitation Enforcement Division of the Department of Sanitation who died on or after July 29, 2015."</li> </ul> <ul> <li dir="ltr">10 a.m. the Committee on Housing and Buildings will meet to discuss three pieces of legislation. The first would require owners of buildings with over 50,000 gross square feet to file energy efficiency reports every five years. The second pushes “low energy building requirements for certain capital projects.” The bill would also require the Mayor to produce several reports that track and confirm capital project compliance with the law. The final bill would impose “green building standards for certain capital projects.”</li> </ul> <ul> <li dir="ltr">10 a.m. the Committee on Juvenile Justice will meet to examine “ACS’s Juvenile Offender Population.”</li> </ul> <ul> <li dir="ltr">11 a.m. Committee on Land Use will meet in the Committee Room in City Hall.</li> </ul> <ul> <li dir="ltr">1 p.m. the Committee on State and Federal Legislature will meet to pass resolutions on: Puerto Rico Chapter 9 Uniformity Act of 2015, Improving the Treatment of the U.S. Territories Under Federal Health Programs Act of 2015, and Merchant Marine Act of 1920, commonly known as the “Jones Act.”</li> </ul> <ul> <li dir="ltr">1 p.m. Committee on Small Business will meet to discuss two bills. The first “would require an employee within the Mayor’s Office For People With Disabilities to be designated as a small business accessibility coordinator, responsible for liaising with agencies involved in accessibility projects and for educating business owners and operators about their obligations under local, state, and federal law to make their businesses accessible to people with disabilities.” The second “would create a cause of action for harassment of small businesses and other non-residential tenants by landlords.”</li> </ul> <ul> <li dir="ltr">1 p.m. the Committee on Recovery and Resiliency will meet to discuss the Build It Back 2015 Update.</li> </ul> <ul> <li dir="ltr">1 p.m. Committee on Contracts will meet to discuss the “Conflict of interest disclosures from executives of city-funded not-for-profit organizations.” [Related: <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5828-queens-library-scandal-spurs-nonprofit-oversight-bill" target="_blank">Queens Library Scandal Spurs Nonprofit Oversight Bill</a>]</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">Friday will be <a href="http://popefrancisnyc.org/pope-francis" target="_blank">a busy day</a> for Pope Francis in New York City.</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">At 8:30 a.m. he is set to visit the United Nations and give an address to the UN General Assembly. His speech will concentrate on challenges that face humanity in the 21st century, such as sustainable development and climate change. He will also meet with UN officials.</li> <li dir="ltr">At 11:30 a.m. the Pope will visit the 9/11 Memorial and Museum.</li> <li dir="ltr">Later, the Pope will pay a visit to an East Harlem School, Our Lady Queen of Angels, that has been providing elementary level education in the area for 120 years.</li> <li dir="ltr">Then, in the late afternoon, Pope Francis will participate in a Central Park procession.</li> <li dir="ltr">Lastly, at about 6 p.m., Pope Francis will hold mass at Madison Square Garden. He departs for Philadelphia on Saturday.</li> </ul> <p>On Friday beginning at 9 a.m.: “<a href="https://nycmedialabsummit.splashthat.com/" target="_blank">NYC Media Lab's Annual Summit</a> is a snapshot of the best thinking, projects, and talent in digital media from universities in NYC and beyond. This is an opportunity for media executives, technologists, and decision makers to explore interesting technologies and applications related to the future of media.” The event, being held at NYU, will include remarks from Maria Torres-Springer, head of the city’s Economic Development Corporation and Luis Castro of the Mayor's Office of Media &amp; Entertainment.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 8:30 a.m. Friday Crain’s New York Business is hosting an “<a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/#utm_medium=email&amp;utm_source=cnyb-events&amp;utm_campaign=cnyb-events-20150827" target="_blank">Art &amp; Culture Breakfast: The Next Generation of New York’s Cultural Leaders.</a>”</p> <p dir="ltr">A City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">event</a> is being held Friday by CM Ydanis Rodriguez (District 10, Manhattan) at 6 p.m.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Saturday, there will be City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">events</a> held by CM I. Daneek Miller (District 27, Queens) at 1p.m. and CM Antonio Reynoso (District 34, Brooklyn/Queens) at 2 p.m.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Sunday, Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">events</a> are being held by:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">CM Robert Carnegy (District 36, Brooklyn) 1p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Antonio Reynoso (District 34, Brooklyn/Queens) 9:45 a.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Ydanis Rodriguez (District 10, Manhattan) 6 p.m.</li> </ul> <p>***<br />Have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics? E-mail Gotham Gazette executive editor Ben Max any time:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com">bmax@gothamgazette.com</a>&nbsp;(please use "For Week Ahead" as email subject).</p> <p>***<br />by Colin O'Connor, Konstantine Beridze, and Ben Max<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank">@GothamGazette</a></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/640px-New_York_City_Hall.jpg" alt="New York City Hall" height="450" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">New York City Hall</span></p> <hr /> <p><strong>What to watch for this week in New York politics:</strong></p> <p><strong>THE POPE IS COMING:</strong> Pope Francis is coming to New York City at the end of the week, with public events on Thursday and Friday. The Pope's visit to the city will coincide with the UN General Assembly, at which he will speak, and will include mass at Madison Square Garden on Friday after a procession through Central Park, a visit to a school in East Harlem, and a ceremony at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. Significance, attention, security, and traffic will all be heavy.</p> <p><strong>TAKING ON K-2:</strong> There's a new drug crippling New Yorkers and it is "K-2" or "synthetic marijuana" (though it is not actually a form of marijuana) and city officials are working to quickly combat what some have said could lead to a new crack epidemic. Mayor de Blasio <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/news/625-15/mayor-de-blasio-multi-agency-strategy-end-sale-use-k2-linked-recent-spike" target="_blank">announced</a> a multi-agency strategy last week and the City Council has seen several bills introduced to up regulation and enforcement. The Council will hold a hearing Monday on the bills, which have been introduced by Council Member Dan Garodnick, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and others.</p> <p><strong>TRACKING DE BLASIO:</strong> The mayor gave a big education speech on Wednesday last week and followed it up with efforts to spread the word about his plans, including an interview with the Daily News Editorial Board and another <a href="http://www.wnyc.org/story/mayor-de-blasio-education-initiatives/" target="_blank">appearance</a> on WNYC. De Blasio has said he will be taking his message to New Yorkers more and more in the coming weeks as he ramps up efforts to improve his public approval numbers and make sure that his programs and plans are known.</p> <p>De Blasio had no public events Saturday. On Sunday, the mayor appeared on This Week on ABC, delivered remarks to the congregation at the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn, and marched in and deliver remarks at the African American Day Parade in Harlem.</p> <p>On Monday, de Blasio is set to hold a noon press conference to discuss the upcoming papal visit. De Blasio is also meeting privately with NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton and former tennis star James Blake regarding NYPD reforms and the recent incident in which Blake was mistakenly arrested by an NYPD officer and handled roughly in the process.</p> <p>We also know that on Thursday evening, de Blasio is expected to speak at an event at The New School:&nbsp;"to engage with world-leading Mayors and local government representatives as they pledge their support for the United Nations' new Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) in their cities and commit to implementing the new urban agenda between now and 2030."</p> <p><strong>AS FOR THE GOVERNOR:</strong> Governor Cuomo also participates in events related to the African-American Day Parade on Sunday. His remarks Sunday morning focused on calling for federal action on gun regulations and raising the minimum wage. Cuomo was asked about recents <a href="http://www.buffalonews.com/city-region/us-attorney-bharara-probes-contracts-for-buffalo-billion-and-buffalo-schools-construction-project-20150918" target="_blank">reports</a> that federal prosecutors are investigating his Buffalo Billion program around the contracting process - the governor maintains he knows nothing about the investigation other than what he reads in the newspaper and downplays subpoenas being issued, saying that as Attorney General he used to issue many as part of fact-finding, but that does not mean there's been criminal behavior.</p> <p>On Monday, Cuomo has no public events scheduled.</p> <p>See below for more details about Monday and the rest of a very busy week in New York politics in our day-by-day rundown...</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>***Do you have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics?</em><br /><em>E-mail Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com">bmax@gothamgazette.com</a>***</em></p> <p><strong>The run of the week in detail:</strong></p> <p><strong>Monday<br /></strong>At the City Council <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">on Monday</a>:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">10 a.m. the Committee on Consumer Affairs in conjunction with the Committee on Mental Health, Developmental Disability, Alcoholism, Substance Abuse and Disability Services, Committee on Health, Committee on Public Safety, Committee on Aging &nbsp;will meet to discuss “The Proliferation of Illegal Synthetic Cannabinoids: Health Impacts and Enforcement.” The bill would suspend cigarette dealer licenses for any “dealer who violates the provisions of the proposed synthetic drug prohibition” and “create a mandatory revocation for a second violation of such proposed prohibition.” Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito will give opening remarks.</li> </ul> <ul> <li dir="ltr">11 a.m. the Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting and Maritime Uses will meet to discuss three land use applications for Landmarks, Corbin Building, 11 John St, Manhattan , Landmarks, Stonewall Inn, 51-53 Christopher St, Manhattan , Landmarks, Riverside-West End Historic District Extension II, Manhattan.</li> </ul> <ul> <li dir="ltr">1 p.m. &nbsp;The Committee on Economic Development will meet with the Committee on Waterfronts and the Committee on Transportation to evaluate the plan for a citywide ferry system. [Read <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5892-cautious-optimism-ahead-of-hearing-on-citywide-ferry-plan" target="_blank">our new look at the ferry plan as we preview the Council hearing on the subject</a>]</li> </ul> <ul> <li dir="ltr">1 p.m. The Committee on Civil Rights will meet to hear the introduction of four initiatives. The first bill, presented by Council Member Deborah L. Rose, prohibits “employment discrimination based on an individual’s actual or perceived status as a caregiver.” The following three propose expansions on the New York City Human Rights Law. Rose will also introduce one of these bills, as she seeks to expand the definition of “employer under the human rights law to provide protections for domestic workers.” She will be joined by Council Members Inez D. Barron and Brad S. Lander who will introduce legislation to clarify “reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities,” &nbsp;“expand the right to truthful information” and to create “an express cause of action for employers and principals whose rights are violated by conduct to which their employees or agents are subjected.”</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">At 9 a.m. Monday the New York State Department of Health will hold one in a series of “From Blueprint to Action: Ending the Epidemic - New York Statewide Regional Discussions,” to address the problem of HIV/AIDS in New York State. Monday’s event, on the Upper West Side, will provide information about HIV/AIDS and related services, include opportunities for public input, and offer a <a href="http://www.eventbrite.com/e/from-blueprint-to-action-ending-the-epidemic-new-york-statewide-regional-discussions-tickets-17832254754" target="_blank">Call to Action</a> to end the epidemic by 2020.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 10:30 a.m. Monday, "The New York State Democratic Committee will hold its Fall business meeting on Monday, September 21st in New York City."</p> <p dir="ltr">Monday on WNYC’s <a href="http://www.wnyc.org/shows/bl/" target="_blank">The Brian Lehrer Show</a>, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. will appear to discuss “the film industry’s expansion into the Bronx, with several television shows being shot in the borough as of late and Silvercup Studios, home to shows such as "Girls" &nbsp;and "30 Rock," spending $35 million to convert a warehouse in Port Morris to a film and television production complex.”</p> <p dir="ltr">At 11 a.m. Monday in Brooklyn,&nbsp;"Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo, joined by citywide elected officials, residents, and community organizations will gather at the Raymond V. Ingersoll Houses on Monday to make a public appeal for community cooperation to aid in NYPD apprehension of suspect(s) involved in Sunday's triple homicide." Comptroller Scott Stringer and Public Advocate Letitia James are set to attend.</p> <p dir="ltr">At noon in downtown Brooklyn,&nbsp;"At a major news event organized by the Real Affordability for All campaign, Mayor de Blasio will be pressured to revise his rezoning plan for East New York, the South Bronx, and other neighborhoods to ensure that current low-income residents have access to real affordable housing and good-paying union construction jobs...This event comes as the public land review process is set to begin Monday for the rezoning of East New York and amid growing concern that de Blasio's plan will accelerate gentrification and displacement in low-income communities of color, leaving behind too many vulnerable New Yorkers."</p> <p dir="ltr">Also at noon, Council Speaker Mark-Viverito will&nbsp;moderate the Q&amp;A session with Chelsea Clinton at the Eleanor Roosevelt Legacy Committee Annual Fall Luncheon.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 1 p.m. in the Bronx, “New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) Chair and CEO Shola Olatoye will announce the launch of "MyNYCHA," a new mobile application for residents to make repair requests. With the free app, residents can create, schedule, and manage work tickets via their mobile devices (smartphones or tablets). They can also subscribe to alerts for outages in their developments (NYCHA Alerts) and view inspection appointments.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“Freelancers across New York City gather on Monday, September 21st for the #FreelanceIsntFree Campaign Launch and Brooklyn Town Hall Meeting at Brooklyn Borough Hall.” <a href="https://www.freelancersunion.org/blog/2015/09/10/youre-invited-brooklyn-town-hall-freelanceisntfree-campaign-launch/" target="_blank">The event</a> will be led by Sara Horowitz, Founder of Freelancers Union, Brooklyn City Council Members including Brad Lander, and “New York City’s finest freelancers to talk about the issue and ways we can make a change.”</p> <p dir="ltr">At 6:30 p.m. The New School’s Milano School is set to host <a href="http://www.eventbrite.com/e/politics-policy-series-examination-of-voting-rights-in-2016-us-election-tickets-18099608416?mc_cid=e8d1a06afd&amp;mc_eid=39b1e6c68c%20Detail" target="_blank">Politics &amp; Policy Series: Examination of Voting Rights in 2016 US Election</a> at 6:30 p.m. Ari Berman of the Nation will read from his book Give Us the Ballot. Following a brief reading, New School urban policy professor Jeff Smith will moderate a conversation with Berman, New York Times national political correspondent Maggie Haberman, and Fordham political science professor Christina Greer.</p> <p dir="ltr">On a similar note, at 7 p.m. Monday The New York City Campaign Finance Board will host its <a href="http://www.nyccfb.info/about/calendar/national-voter-registration-day-nvrd-kick" target="_blank">National Voter Registration Day Kick-Off</a>, part of a non-partisan effort to register all eligible citizens nationwide. Lisa Evers of Fox 5 News and Hot 97 will discuss voting rights and the immigrant vote with panelists Marc H. Morial, President and CEO of National Urban League; L. Joy Williams, President of the Brooklyn NAACP; Steven Choi, Executive Director of the NY Immigration Coalition; and Jaime Estades, Director of Latino Leadership Institute, voting rights and the immigrant vote in 2016. Crystal Valentine, the 2015 Youth Poet Laureate, will perform after the discussion.</p> <p dir="ltr">Also at 7 p.m., Daniel A. Zarrilli, Director of the city’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency, invites the public to join his office at the second <a href="https://twitter.com/dzarrilli/status/643556515337629696" target="_blank">public hearing</a> regarding an update on Lower Manhattan resiliency efforts. &nbsp;The discussion will touch on issues of coastal protection, stormwater management and resiliency upgrades for affordable housing developments. The draft for the Resiliency Update is available for review online at <a href="http://nyc.gov/cdbg" target="_blank">nyc.gov/cdbg</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">"On Monday, September 21, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. will be the guest on the 1,000th episode of "BronxTalk," hosted by Gary Axelbank and airing on Bronxnet. The show, which airs at 9 p.m., will be streamed live at <a href="http://www.bronxnet.org" target="_blank">www.bronxnet.org</a>, and can be viewed in The Bronx on Cablevision channel 67 or Verizon FiOS channel 33."</p> <p dir="ltr">City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">events</a> Monday, September 21:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">CM Antonio Reynoso (District 34, Brooklyn/Queens) 1:30 p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (District 8, Manhattan/Bronx) 6 p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Laurie Cumbo (District 35, Brooklyn) 6:30 p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Steven Levin (District 33, Brooklyn) 6:30</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Ydanis Rodriguez (District 10, Manhattan) 6:30 p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Andrew Cohen (District 11, Bronx) 7 p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Costa Constantides (District 22, Queens) 7 p.m.&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p><strong>Tuesday<br /></strong>Tuesday morning NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton will speak at an Assocation for a Better New York (ABNY) breakfast&nbsp;<a href="https://www.abny.org/Content/Events/EventViewer.aspx?EventID=178" target="_blank">event</a>. He will discuss “the NYPD’s efforts to address public safety and quality of life conditions in New York.”</p> <p dir="ltr">At 9:30 a.m. Queens Borough President Melinda Katz will hold a&nbsp;<a href="http://queensbp.org/event/queens-borough-cabinet-meeting-2-2-3-2-2/?instance_id=1077" target="_blank">meeting</a>&nbsp;at Queens Borough Hall, which “focuses on city service delivery and agency responsiveness across the borough and hears presentations on these issues from City officials and others.”</p> <p>At the City Council <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">on Tuesday</a>:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">10 a.m. The Committee on Contracts will meet with the Committee on Public Housing to examine “the Need for Contracting Accountability and Transparency at NYCHA in Light of Leaking Roofs at King Towers”</li> <li dir="ltr">10 a.m. The Committee on General Welfare will conduct a “Review of HRA’s Employment Plan Concept Papers.”</li> <li dir="ltr">10 a.m. The Committee on Environmental Protection will discuss “Use of geothermal energy in New York City.”</li> <li dir="ltr">10 a.m. The Committee on Higher Education will meet to discuss, “Higher Education Access for Incarcerated and Recently Incarcerated Individuals.” and &nbsp;“Support of President Barack Obama’s Second Chance Pell Pilot Program”</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">Tuesday is National Voter Registration Day. Over the next several months drives will be held to increase awareness about the importance of voting. The list of the events can be found on this <a href="http://www.nyccfb.info/about/calendar" target="_blank">calendar</a>. "Only 81% of NYC's eligible voting age population is registered to vote, and just 20% of eligible voters actually voted in 2014. NVRD is about increasing those numbers and invigorating the voting population. Our democracy, after all, is only as strong as its participants.”</p> <p dir="ltr">On Tuesday, "Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., the New York State Department of Labor and the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation will co-host a Bronx Job Fair."</p> <p dir="ltr">At 4:30 p.m. Tuesday the New York State Preparedness Corps Training Program will host a two hour long <a href="http://www.dhses.ny.gov/aware-prepare/nysprepare/" target="_blank">event </a>intended to provide residents with “the tools and resources to prepare for any type of disaster” and to “respond accordingly and recover as quickly as possible to pre-disaster conditions.” The <a href="http://queensbp.org/event/new-york-state-preparedness-corps-training-program-registration-required/?instance_id=1202" target="_blank">program</a> is sponsored by Gov. Cuomo, Rep. Gregory Meeks, Queens BP Melinda Katz, State Senator James Sanders Jr. and City Councilman Donovan Richards.</p> <p dir="ltr">City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">events</a> Tuesday, September 22:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">CM Carlos Menchaca (District 38, Brooklyn) 6 p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">Jimmy Van Bramer (District 26, Queens) 6 p.m.</li> <li>Antonio Reynoso (District 34, Brooklyn/Queens) 6:30 p.m.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Wednesday<br /></strong>Wednesday looks slower in New York City as many participate in the Yom Kippur holiday. Other events can, of course, pop up last-minute.</p> <p>City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">events</a> Wednesday, September 23:</p> <ul> <li>Carlos Menchaca (Distict 38, Brooklyn) 6:30 p.m.</li> <li>I. Daneek Miller (District 27, Queens) 7 p.m.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Thursday<br /></strong>At 8 a.m. Thursday, City &amp; State NY&nbsp;<a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/#.Vf7exWTBzGc" target="_blank">will hold</a>&nbsp;its 4th Annual "On Diversity" event featuring leaders in government, business, and advocacy to discuss the social and economic advantages of promoting diversity in both the public and private sectors. Maya Wiley, Counsel to the Mayor, will make keynote remarks. Panels will include R. Fenimore Fisher, Chief Diversity and EEO Officer at the New York City DCAS; Carra Wallace, Chief Diversity Officer at the Office of the NYC Comptroller; Charissa Fernandez, Executive Director of Teach for America; Bertha Lewis, Founder and President of The Black Institute; Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte, Chair of the Subcommittee on Oversight of MWBEs; and Assemblymember Michael Blake, Chair at the Subcommittee on Mitchell-Lama.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 10 a.m. Thursday the New York City Campaign Finance Board <a href="http://www.nyccfb.info/media/advisories/notice-public-meeting-new-york-city-campaign-finance-board-18" target="_blank">will hold</a> its next public meeting.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 10 a.m. the New York State Assembly will have a <a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?sh=hear" target="_blank">public hearing</a> regarding child poverty in the NY state. New York currently has “some of the highest levels of child poverty in the country.”</p> <p dir="ltr">At about 5 p.m. Thursday Pope Francis will arrive at JFK airport. It will be his first <a href="http://www.popefrancisnyc.org/pope-francis" target="_blank">visit</a> to New York and the first Papal visit since 2008. At 6:45 p.m. Pope Francis will hold an evening prayer at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. [On Friday the Pope will visit the United Nations, attend a multi-religious service at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, visit Our Lady Queen of Angels School in East Harlem, hold a mass at Madison Square Garden and have a historic procession through Central Park.]</p> <p dir="ltr">At 6:30 p.m. Thursday, a <a href="https://services.nycbar.org/iMIS/Events/Event_Display.aspx?EventKey=ENV092415&amp;WebsiteKey=f71e12f3-524e-4f8c-a5f7-0d16ce7b3314" target="_blank">panel</a> hosted by the New York City Bar Association: “New York City- Building Energy Benchmarking Law: Acting On the Results” will evaluate NYC’s landmark Local Law 84. The event is co-sponsored by the Bar’s Environmental Law Committee and chair Michael G. Mahoney in conjunction with the Sallan Foundation, the New York League of Conservation Voters, the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, Columbia Law School.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 7 p.m., <a href="http://events.newschool.edu/event/cities_deliver_sustainable_development_global_urban_leaders_endorse_and_operationalize_the_sdgs#.Vf7g_mTBzGe" target="_blank">Cities Deliver Sustainable Development: Global Urban Leaders Endorse and Operationalize the SDGs</a> will be hosted by Jeffrey Sachs, Director of Sustainable Development Solutions Network (UNSDSN) at the New School, in association with the Campaign for Urban SDG, the Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Governments and the Tishman Environment and Design Center. Expected speakers include Mayor Bill de Blasio, as well as Edmund G. Brown Jr., Governor of California; Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris; Eduardo Paes, Mayor of Rio de Janeiro; Xu Qin, Mayor of Shenzhen; Mpho Franklyn Parks Tau, Mayor of Johannesburg; Kadir Topbaş, Mayor of Istanbul; and Park Won-soon, Mayor of Seoul.</p> <p dir="ltr">City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">events</a> Thursday, September 24:</p> <ul> <li>CM Mark Levine (District 7, Manhattan) 5:30 p.m.</li> <li>CM Jimmy Van Bramer (District 26, Queens) 6 p.m.</li> <li>CM Elizabeth Crowley (District 30, Queens) 6:30 p.m.</li> <li>CM Julissa Ferreras (District 21, Queens) 6:30 p.m.</li> <li>CM Antonio Reynoso (District 34, Brooklyn/Queens) 6:30 p.m.</li> <li>CM Andrew Cohen (District 11, Bronx) 7 p.m.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Friday and the weekend<br /></strong>At the City Council <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">on Friday</a>:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">10 a.m. Committee on Civil Service and Labor will meet to discuss two bills. The first “would require new grocery store owners to retain the previous owner’s staff for a transition period after a business is sold.” After the transition period, the new employer would also have to evaluate each employee and consider keeping them. The second bill seeks to “extend health insurance coverage to the surviving spouses, domestic partners and children of employees of the Sanitation Enforcement Division of the Department of Sanitation who died on or after July 29, 2015."</li> </ul> <ul> <li dir="ltr">10 a.m. the Committee on Housing and Buildings will meet to discuss three pieces of legislation. The first would require owners of buildings with over 50,000 gross square feet to file energy efficiency reports every five years. The second pushes “low energy building requirements for certain capital projects.” The bill would also require the Mayor to produce several reports that track and confirm capital project compliance with the law. The final bill would impose “green building standards for certain capital projects.”</li> </ul> <ul> <li dir="ltr">10 a.m. the Committee on Juvenile Justice will meet to examine “ACS’s Juvenile Offender Population.”</li> </ul> <ul> <li dir="ltr">11 a.m. Committee on Land Use will meet in the Committee Room in City Hall.</li> </ul> <ul> <li dir="ltr">1 p.m. the Committee on State and Federal Legislature will meet to pass resolutions on: Puerto Rico Chapter 9 Uniformity Act of 2015, Improving the Treatment of the U.S. Territories Under Federal Health Programs Act of 2015, and Merchant Marine Act of 1920, commonly known as the “Jones Act.”</li> </ul> <ul> <li dir="ltr">1 p.m. Committee on Small Business will meet to discuss two bills. The first “would require an employee within the Mayor’s Office For People With Disabilities to be designated as a small business accessibility coordinator, responsible for liaising with agencies involved in accessibility projects and for educating business owners and operators about their obligations under local, state, and federal law to make their businesses accessible to people with disabilities.” The second “would create a cause of action for harassment of small businesses and other non-residential tenants by landlords.”</li> </ul> <ul> <li dir="ltr">1 p.m. the Committee on Recovery and Resiliency will meet to discuss the Build It Back 2015 Update.</li> </ul> <ul> <li dir="ltr">1 p.m. Committee on Contracts will meet to discuss the “Conflict of interest disclosures from executives of city-funded not-for-profit organizations.” [Related: <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5828-queens-library-scandal-spurs-nonprofit-oversight-bill" target="_blank">Queens Library Scandal Spurs Nonprofit Oversight Bill</a>]</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">Friday will be <a href="http://popefrancisnyc.org/pope-francis" target="_blank">a busy day</a> for Pope Francis in New York City.</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">At 8:30 a.m. he is set to visit the United Nations and give an address to the UN General Assembly. His speech will concentrate on challenges that face humanity in the 21st century, such as sustainable development and climate change. He will also meet with UN officials.</li> <li dir="ltr">At 11:30 a.m. the Pope will visit the 9/11 Memorial and Museum.</li> <li dir="ltr">Later, the Pope will pay a visit to an East Harlem School, Our Lady Queen of Angels, that has been providing elementary level education in the area for 120 years.</li> <li dir="ltr">Then, in the late afternoon, Pope Francis will participate in a Central Park procession.</li> <li dir="ltr">Lastly, at about 6 p.m., Pope Francis will hold mass at Madison Square Garden. He departs for Philadelphia on Saturday.</li> </ul> <p>On Friday beginning at 9 a.m.: “<a href="https://nycmedialabsummit.splashthat.com/" target="_blank">NYC Media Lab's Annual Summit</a> is a snapshot of the best thinking, projects, and talent in digital media from universities in NYC and beyond. This is an opportunity for media executives, technologists, and decision makers to explore interesting technologies and applications related to the future of media.” The event, being held at NYU, will include remarks from Maria Torres-Springer, head of the city’s Economic Development Corporation and Luis Castro of the Mayor's Office of Media &amp; Entertainment.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 8:30 a.m. Friday Crain’s New York Business is hosting an “<a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/#utm_medium=email&amp;utm_source=cnyb-events&amp;utm_campaign=cnyb-events-20150827" target="_blank">Art &amp; Culture Breakfast: The Next Generation of New York’s Cultural Leaders.</a>”</p> <p dir="ltr">A City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">event</a> is being held Friday by CM Ydanis Rodriguez (District 10, Manhattan) at 6 p.m.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Saturday, there will be City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">events</a> held by CM I. Daneek Miller (District 27, Queens) at 1p.m. and CM Antonio Reynoso (District 34, Brooklyn/Queens) at 2 p.m.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Sunday, Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">events</a> are being held by:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">CM Robert Carnegy (District 36, Brooklyn) 1p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Antonio Reynoso (District 34, Brooklyn/Queens) 9:45 a.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Ydanis Rodriguez (District 10, Manhattan) 6 p.m.</li> </ul> <p>***<br />Have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics? E-mail Gotham Gazette executive editor Ben Max any time:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com">bmax@gothamgazette.com</a>&nbsp;(please use "For Week Ahead" as email subject).</p> <p>***<br />by Colin O'Connor, Konstantine Beridze, and Ben Max<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank">@GothamGazette</a></p>