The City Council held an unusual early August stated meeting to guarantee that
a public hearing would be held on several land use matters in the Hunts Point
section of the Bronx. In addition, because Councilmember Dennis Gallagher was
indicted on rape and assault charges a few days earlier, the council temporarily
removed Gallagher from his position as minority whip and ousted him from seats
on several committees.
The Gallagher Case
At the recommendation of Speaker Christine Quinn, Gallagher, one of three
Republicans on the council, agreed to step away from his leadership role, which
included a $5,000 bonus, and from his positions on the aging, parks, finance,
housing, sanitation and youth services committees. The council approved the
removal (Resolution 995) by a vote of 37 to 0 on August 6.
Following the vote, the council's Standards and Ethics Committee met behind
closed doors to determine if further disciplinary action was necessary. The
committee deferred any action at the request of Queens
District Attorney Richard Brown, who urged the committee to allow the criminal process to move forward without interference.
Minority Leader James Oddo is charged with naming a new whip. Oddo declined
to comment on when and if he would do so, and the council's only other remaining
Republican, Vincent Ignizio, has shown
similar hesitation to fill the role
until the criminal proceedings conclude.
Gallagher did not attend the meeting.
Making Room for Park Space
The council had scheduled this session so it could meet a deadline on three
land use applications, which expand parkland at Barretto Point Park and increase
facility space at the Hunts Point Water Pollution Control Plant.
The City Planning Commission approved the applications in late July. In order
to hold additional public hearings in the Council Chambers, as requested by
Councilmember Maria del Carmen Arroyo, the council had to "call up" the items within 20 days. The council approved the "call ups" by a vote of 37 to 0. Now, it must hold public hearings within 50 days and then approve or reject the applications.
expansion will bring the plant up to state and federal requirements,
increase its capacity, replace outdated equipment and expand the adjacent parkland
by more than an acre, according to a report from the commission.
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