Gotham Gazette

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New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito is poised to unveil an overhaul of the Council's internal rules that would see her power significantly diminished. Under the changes, Mark-Viverito would give up control over how much discretionary funding each council member receives to spend in their districts. Former council speaker Christine Quinn was often criticized for using her control of so-called 'member items' to punish council members who didn’t vote in lock step with her. Member items will now be distributed nearly equally among the council members, with some increases to districts deemed the neediest. Mayor Bill de Blasio has advocated for doing away with member items completely, but Mark-Viverito’s proposal does not go that far. The Council generally gives out about $50 million in member items each year. Other rules changes would increase the power of committee chairs and increase transparency. A hearing on the rules is set for May 7.

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