Simcha's Farewell
January 22nd, 2010


There were tears, some light roasting and — appropriately — laughter.

Besides the business of yesterday’s council meeting (which included the appointment of new committee chairs), it was also the last day that Councilmember Simcha Felder would take his seat as the representative of district 44. Felder resigned from the council to become deputy comptroller for accounting and budget.

On the council floor Thursday, members old and new reminisced on Felder’s often jocular presence. And he responded with both humor and humility.

“You try to think back on an annual basis, whether it’s Rosh Hashanah, the new year or January. The levity of celebrating is good. The introspection is more important. And through life I think there are invitations and certainly very special times where you have to spend time thinking about the past and what you’ve done wrong,” Felder said.

“And throughout the time there have been times that I’ve said things or done things to people that I feel was inappropriate,” Felder explained, his voice cracking with emotion. He continued: “So I want to apologize before I leave. Some of them are not here anymore but that’s not my fault,” he said. The chamber broke out in laughter.

“This is a last opportunity, because we believe repenting is good. With sins against God you can do whatever you want and speak to God about how you’re sorry. But against man, it doesn’t work. The only way it works is by saying sorry,” Felder said. “Having said that I can expect apologies from many people in the room.” The crowd erupted in laughter again.

“Lastly,” he said moments later, “I just want to say had we known I would be getting this opportunity maybe I would have voted differently on extending term limits,” Felder said. He voted to extend term limits. “But having said that you never know. September is just around the corner and if I don’t like the job, I’m coming back.”

Even before Felder has taken his new position at the comptroller’s office, gay rights groups and leaders have criticized Comptroller John Liu for selecting him. Felder, an Orthodox Jew, has refused to support certain human rights bills or gay rights bills, and skipped both votes for council Speaker Christine Quinn, who is the council’s first openly gay speaker.

A special election will be called by the mayor to fill Felder’s seat as soon as the councilmember officially leaves the council on Jan. 31. The special election will likely take place sometime in March.

By on January 22, 2010, 12:47 pm
In category: City Hall,Civil Rights,Electoral Politics,Gotham City,nextNY | Comments Off on Simcha's Farewell

| More

RSS Feed RSS Feed

Comments are closed.

RSS Feed