The Citizens Union, NYC’s oldest “good government” group and “public partner” of the 2010 NYC Charter Revision Commission, will get a chance to present its recommendations to the commission and the public on Monday, July 19, at 6:00 PM at Gershwin Theater at Brooklyn College. The session will be webcast.
The Citizens Union already has conveyed its 49 charter recommendations in a 114-page report entitled “Increasing Avenues for Participation in Governing and Elections in New York City,” released on June 30. Monday’s session will set aside time for discussion of these recommendations by Citizens Union Executive Director Dick Dadey and CU senior staff members Alex Camarda and Rachael Fauss, and questions by commission members.
Several of CU’s recommendations already have been echoed in a July 9 preliminary report by the charter revision commission’s staff. These include: reducing the number of signatures needed to get a candidate on the ballot; and consolidating the Campaign Finance Board with the Voter Assistance Commission. The charter commission’s staff report did not embrace CU’s recommendation for non-partisan (“top-two”) primary elections.
Although commission chair Goldstein already has committed his group to placing one or more term limits propositions on November’s ballot, the commission has not yet announced whether it will endorse CU’s recommendation that City Council members serve no more than three 4-year terms, and other major office-holders no more than two.
The balance of the July 19 session will be a public hearing, the first of at least five scheduled by the commission during July and August to refine the recommendations contained in its preliminary staff report and to consider other ideas proposed in public testimony.
The most important recommendation made by the Citizens Union is its first:
“Maintain a strong Office of the Mayor. Preserve the office’s authority to set revenue estimates for the city budget and appoint commissioners without council approval.”
By explicitly articulating this preordained conclusion, the Citizens Union protects its status as the favorite “civic organization” of mayors past, present, and future.