To paraphrase an old quote, a lot of being in the New York City Council is just showing up.
That’s the reason why attendance was included as one of the criteria in City & State’s first ranking of the New York City Council members.
New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito had the best attendance, tying with City Council Minority Leader Steven Matteo for a perfect record last year. But to be fair, Mark-Viverito had an easier job, with only 32 meetings that she was obligated to attend in 2016, primarily the stated meetings that convene the full council.
Most of the other council members had at least twice that many meetings, including dozens of committee meetings. Matteo, for example, showed up for 115 meetings in 2016. City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez had a whopping 172 meetings to attend.
Just behind Mark-Viverito and Matteo was City Councilman Chaim Deutsch, who missed just one of his 83 meetings last year; City Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal, who missed only two of 115 meetings; and City Councilman Ben Kallos, who was absent from two of 105 meetings.
To track attendance, we counted all the meetings that each member was obligated to attend in calendar year 2016, including committee and subcommittee meetings, and then determined how many he or she missed. (City Councilman Bill Perkins was left out of the analysis since much of the data we used is from 2016, when Inez Dickens still held his Harlem seat.)
Any time a member had two meetings scheduled at the same time, we didn’t count the conflict as an absence. But other absences – for medical reasons, jury duty or funerals – were included.
This may strike some as unfair, but an extended absence can affect performance – and in some cases, it appeared to correlate with lower scores on other measures, like introducing and passing bills.
Yet one representative who missed substantial time due to medical leave nonetheless performed well on the other measures. City Councilman Jumaane Williams missed 15 days for medical reasons, but came in at No. 2 in our overall rankings.
No. 1 (tie): Melissa Mark-Viverito, 100%
No. 1 (tie): Steven Matteo, 100%
No. 3: Chaim Deutsch, 98.80%
No. 4: Helen Rosenthal, 98.29%
No. 5: Ben Kallos, 98.10%
How the rest of the New York City Council ranked:
No. 6: Daniel Dromm, 97.10%
No. 7: Mark Levine, 96.97%
No. 8 (tie): Margaret Chin, 96.67%
No. 8 (tie): Andrew Cohen, 96.67%
No. 10: Elizabeth Crowley, 96.15%
No. 11: Mark Treyger, 95.24%
No. 12: Joseph Borelli, 94.81%
No. 13: Jimmy Van Bramer, 94.26%
No. 14: David Greenfield, 93.81%
No. 15: Barry Grodenchik, 93.68%
No. 16: Peter Koo, 93.58%
No. 17 (tie): Paul Vallone, 92.86%
No. 17 (tie): Mathieu Eugene, 92.86%
No. 19: Stephen Levin, 91.80%
No. 20: Alan Maisel, 91.38% (1 medical absence included)
No. 21: Daniel Garodnick, 91.27%
No. 22: Vanessa Gibson, 91.04%
No. 23: Donovan Richards, 90.84%
No. 24: Robert Cornegy Jr., 90.78%
No. 25: Laurie Cumbo, 89.29% (2 medical absences included)
No. 26: Antonio Reynoso, 88.97%
No. 27: Ydanis Rodriguez, 88.95%
No. 28: Costa Constantinides, 88.66%
No. 29: James Vacca, 88.54%
No. 30: Vincent Gentile, 87.22%
No. 31: Fernando Cabrera, 87.21%
No. 32: Karen Koslowitz, 86.49%
No. 33: Rafael Salamanca Jr., 86.42%
No. 34: Carlos Menchaca, 86.17%
No. 35: Rory Lancman, 86.14%
No. 36: Ritchie Torres, 85.90%
No. 37: Inez Barron, 85.59%
No. 38: Rafael Espinal Jr., 85.09%
No. 39: Jumaane Williams, 83.45% (15 medical absences included)
No. 40: I. Daneek Miller, 83.33% (2 bereavements included)
No. 41: Corey Johnson, 83.19%
No. 42: Eric Ulrich, 82.35%
No. 43: Brad Lander, 81.97%
No. 44: Rosie Mendez, 78.76% (2 jury duty absences included)
No. 45: Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, 75.86%
No. 46: Andy King, 74.32%
No. 47: Darlene Mealy, 74.23%
No. 48: Annabel Palma, 70.45% (6 medical absences included)
No. 49: Deborah Rose, 66.67% (24 medical absences included)
No. 50: Ruben Wills, 32.26% (69 medical absences included)*
Wills was recently removed from the City Council after being convicted on corruption charges.
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