County leaders buck Mark-Viverito’s wishes on BOE pick

Photo by William Alatriste for the New York City Council
Melissa Mark-Viverito.

County leaders buck Mark-Viverito’s wishes on BOE pick

County Democratic leaders buck Melissa Mark-Viverito’s wishes on Andy Praschak BOE pick
December 1, 2017

Four county Democratic leaders worked together to block New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito’s pick for a Board of Elections commissioner, according to interviews with two City Council members who asked to remain anonymous.

Mark-Viverito hoped to install her friend Andy Praschak as the new Manhattan commissioner on the city Board of Elections, according to the Daily News. Mark-Viverito hoped to pre-empt her political foe, Manhattan Democratic Party leader Keith Wright, who favored lawyer Sylvia DiPietro for the position. County party leaders normally nominate BOE appointees.

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But when Mark-Viverito called an emergency meeting of the Democratic City Council members on Thursday in order to approve Praschak, only seven of the 47 council members showed up, according to one who was not in attendance. Queens Democratic Party Leader Joe Crowley, Bronx Democratic Party Leader Marcos Crespo and Brooklyn Democratic Party Leader Frank Seddio had apparently asked the council members from their borough not to show up, so Mark-Viverito would not have the necessary amount of members present to approve appointees for a vote before the full city council.

A Council source confirmed the story, but said that the vote for Praschak could be revisited. “Nothing is off the table,” the source said. 

The New York Post reported Wednesday that the county leaders could team up against Mark-Viverito.

“If it can happen to Manhattan, it can happen to any borough,” the Post reported Wright as saying.

Jeff Coltin
is a senior reporter at City & State. He covers New York City Hall.