The City Council appointed chairs and members for its committees
also re-appointed the chair and one member of the Landmarks
Commission, the city agency that oversees historic preservation in
The New York City Council took shape on January 18th with the naming of
40 committee heads -- the "chairs" of council standing committee and sub-committees.
Christine Quinn praised her appointments. "We've increased the number
women in leadership and heading committees from 13 in our last
15," she said. "We've named 21 council members of color chair of
including three committees that the Council's Black, Latino and Asian
identified as most critical -- Education, Health and Housing. And
a Republican leader to head a council committee, the task force on
Some key committee heads remain the same. But several new chairs were
appointed. New Councilmember Inez Dickens takes over as the chair of
Standards and Ethics Committee and becomes the Majority Whip, earning
$11,000 stipend. Jessica
Lappin will head the Land Use Sub-Committee
Landmarks, Public Siting and Maritime. Daniel
Garodnick will also chair a Land
Use Sub-Committee on Planning Dispositions and Concessions.
Mendez will lead the Sub-Committee on Public Housing.
The important post
chair of the Education Committee went, as
to Robert Jackson, who was one of the original plaintiffs in the Council
for Fiscal Equity suit against the state for underfunding the city's public
Bronx Councilmember Joel Rivera, whose early
helped garner Quinn her Speaker position, is Majority Leader,
the Health Committee, and recipient of a $23,000 stipend, second only
Quinn's $28,500 bonus. The new chair of Housing and Buildings will be
Martin Dilan, a move that helps Vito Lopez of Brooklyn solidify
an unofficial housing czar.
Leroy Comrie Jr., who had been up for speaker
before Quinn got the job,
received a bump up to Deputy Majority Leader and chair of Consumer
with a $20,000 stipend. Reyna replaced him as head of Rules,
Elections. Alan Gerson will chair a new committee for Lower Manhattan
Contentious Appointments to Landmarks Preservation Commission
The City Council also unanimously approved the mayor's re-appointment
members of the Landmarks Preservation Commission, the city agency
identifies, designates and regulates historic districts and landmarks
five boroughs. Robert Tierney was re-appointed chair, a full-time
that draws a salary of over $150,000. Elizabeth Ryan was re-appointed
of the 10 commissioners, who don't get a salary for their part-time
Though all went smoothly before the full City Council, some
activists delivered strong testimony against Tierney at
committee hearing earlier in the day. "This is not an open process," screamed Michael Henry Adams,
author of "Harlem Lost and Found" "It's going to be the same as it's
been," he yelled at top voice from the back of the hearing room.
to be the same as it's always been!" he shouted again as he was
removed from the room.
Other preservationists were less disruptive but equally upset at
tenure. One activist called Tierney's appointment "pre-ordained"
Olive Freud of the Committee For Environmentally Sound Development,
"Mr. Tierney has been such a disappointment. It almost makes us want
A few preservationists testified in support of Tierney, and
Simcha Felder, former chair of a the Land Use Sub-Committee on
called Tierney's position a "thankless job." Said Felder, "Advocates,
matter what the commission does, it'll never be enough [for them]."
Council members were mostly in support of
re-appointing Tierney but also pointed to some improvements they'd
see: a more transparent and faster process for landmark or historic
designation, more recognition and preservation of the rich history of
boroughs, better staffing and funding for the commission, and more
discussion of how to ease the increased financial burden for shop
low-income residents of historic districts or buildings.
No New Bills and Other Business
No bills were introduced at the stated meeting. Council members
moment of silence to mark the death of Councilmember
Monserrate's sister after her long battle with cancer. The meeting
with a remembrance of the three children who died in a Coney Island
last week and of 7-year old Nixmary Brown, allegedly beaten, tortured
killed in her home by her stepfather.
In the wake of Nixmary's death, a scheduled meeting on Jan. 31 of the
General Welfare Committee to discuss New York City's Administration
Children's Services could be heated.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg is slated to give his State of the City
January 26, and the city budget should be released shortly afterward.
City Council stated meeting will be on Wednesday, February 1.
to committee chairs and memberships
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