The leading candidates for City Council speaker met for the second time tonight at a forum in the Bronx, where they sparred over the potential impact of proposed rule reforms that would significantly rein in the speaker’s powers and–some fear–also weaken the council. Continue reading “Candidates Spar Over Speaker’s Power at Second Forum”
The next speaker of the New York City Council is going to have far less power than Christine Quinn, if a large bloc of members have their way.
More than a dozen incumbent members and likely-to-be-elected Democratic nominees gathered on the steps of City Hall this afternoon to press for sweeping reforms to council rules that would reduce the speaker’s power by eliminating many of the mechanisms used to keep members in line. Continue reading “Council Members Move to Limit Next Speaker’s Power”
City Councilman James Gennaro, one of Council Speaker Quinn’s most loyal allies and attack dogs, is stepped forward to defend her once again.
The Queens councilman shot back at one of Ms. Quinn’s mayoral rivals, Bill de Blasio, for criticizing the Council’s member item system, after Politicker reported that council members who endorsed Ms. Quinn’s mayoral bid fared especially well in this year’s allocations.
Critics have long accused City Council Speaker and mayoral contender Christine Quinn of using the city budget to reward friends and punish those who’ve crossed her. But, perhaps in light of increased scrutiny and criticism from her rivals, this year’s allocations track closely with last year’s. Still, being a Quinn ally appears to have some definite perks.
An analysis of the 2014 budget numbers, crunched by the Citizens Union Foundation, finds that members who endorsed Ms. Quinn for mayor were especially likely to receive large allocations for their districts–receiving, in essence, the largest slices of the $594 million pie.
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn has long been accused of using the Council’s budget as a tool to punish those who cross her and keep members in line. But, as member item allocations have come under increased scrutiny in light of the mayor’s race, Ms. Quinn appears to have changed course.
Sources familiar with the camps of three of Ms. Quinn’s most vocal critics in recent months told Politicker Tuesday that their member allocations–which fund local community non-profits, including senior centers and after-school programs–will either remain steady or tick up slightly, according to preliminary numbers shared with their offices this week.
It hasn’t even been a full day before Councilman Dan Halloran was arrested on corruption charges, but he’s already become a political football in the mayoral race. Accordingly, former Comptroller Bill Thompson, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and former Councilman Sal Albanese released a statements this afternoon reminding everyone about the City Council’s old “slush fund scandal”–where individual legislators were caught abusing their discretionary funds–and using it to try take rival mayoral contender Council Speaker Christine Quinn down a notch.
“These charges are extremely troubling, particularly because they involve the use of taxpayer dollars to advance corruption,” Mr. Thompson declared. “These most recent developments are the latest in a history of corruption and a broken system that, despite claims to the contrary, has clearly not been adequately reformed under the Speaker’s leadership.”
The City Council will vote next week to strip Councilman Dan Halloran of all his committee assignments after he was charged today with taking part in a bribery scheme.
“These allegations represent a reprehensible abuse of the public’s trust,” Council Speaker Christine Quinn said in a statement earlier this afternooon. “If true, then the full weight of the legal system should be brought to bear on all parties implicated. The matter will be immediately referred to the Council’s Standards and Ethics Committee.” Continue reading “City Council Will Vote to Strip Dan Halloran of Committee Assignments”