Women shortchanged with New York City Council leadership assignments

Jeff Coltin
New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson with the female members of the legislative body.

Women shortchanged with New York City Council leadership assignments

Women left out of key roles as NYC Council committees chairs and leadership teams are named
January 11, 2018

There are no women leading the most powerful committees on the New York City Council and few in its leadership, a further sign of the waning influence of women in the city’s legislative body.

Speaker Corey Johnson, who is a man, leads the City Council. Men are chairs of the two most powerful committees – Councilman Daniel Dromm will head the Finance Committee and Councilman Rafael Salamanca leads the Land Use Committee – and chair other prominent committees, including Housing and Buildings, Education, Public Safety, and Oversight and Investigations.

Johnson pledged at a Dec. 7 forum for City Council speaker candidates that he would assemble a diverse group of leaders. “I would commit to … a majority of the leadership team be women and people of color. I think that’s really important, as well as key committees,” Johnson said. “We need to do all we can to encourage women to run for office and be in leadership positions.”

Johnson did partially fulfill his pledge, naming just four white men to the 19-member Democratic leadership team. But only six of the leadership team members are women, and no women were appointed to chair the council’s most powerful committees.

“I would have liked to see more women in leadership, obviously, especially since our numbers are so low in the City Council,” said City Councilwoman Adrienne Adams, who was named chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting and Maritime Uses. “But I have no doubt that the folks who were chosen will do an outstanding job in leadership.”

Committee assignments and chairmanships for the new four-year term that started this year were officially announced on Thursday. With just 11 women in the 51-member council, a lack of female representation in the body has been a major topic of discussion. There were no women among the contenders for City Council speaker this year until City Councilwoman Inez Barron launched a protest candidacy at the very end.

This year, City Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo, a close friend of Johnson’s, was named majority leader. Women make up six of the 20 members of Johnson’s Budget Negotiating team, which was also announced Thursday. Nine of the 20 members of that team are white men. Republican Minority Leader Steve Matteo and Minority Whip Joe Borelli are also white men.

The lack of female leadership this term is a break from the recent past. Melissa Mark-Viverito was council speaker over the last four years. City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland chaired the Committee on Finance, and City Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson had NYPD oversight with the Public Safety Committee. Before Mark-Viverito, another woman, Christine Quinn, served as speaker.

City Councilwoman Carlina Rivera said when she reviewed the list of committee chairs published Thursday that she specifically searched for where her female colleagues were placed. Rivera was named chair of the newly created Hospital System Committee, and will also serve on Johnson’s leadership team. Reached after the committee chairs were announced but before the leadership team was made public, Rivera said she was hopeful that the leadership team would be more diverse. “I think there’s still time to make sure that we feel like we have a solid investment in this process and that there’s equity,” she said.

Johnson pointed to the leadership and budget teams to emphasize the inclusion of women, and said that he worked with the women of the council.

“I feel really good about leadership positions that women are in,” he said during a press conference after the committee assignments were announced. “I think a lot of the women members of the council got the committees that they asked for.”

City Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson, who will chair the newly created Capital Budget Subcommittee, said she was happy with assignment and that the committee will have real power. She also defended Johnson’s choices.

“I truly believe that at the end of the day, you will see that there is diversity in terms of leadership, (the budget negotiating team) and our majority leader,” she said. “The 11 women are a dynamic group, so what we may lack in quantity, we really make up in quality.”

Below is a rundown of the leadership and committee assignments announced this week:

Speaker: Corey Johnson

Majority Leader: Laurie Cumbo

Majority Whip: Fernando Cabrera

Chair of the Dem Majority: Robert Cornegy

Deputy Leader for Digital Communication: Rafael Espinal

Deputy Leader for Policy: Brad Lander

Minority Leader: Steve Matteo

Minority Whip: Joe Borelli

Leadership team: Chin, Deutsch, Gibson, Koslowitz, Reynoso, Richards, Rivera, Rodriguez, Rose, Treyger, Torres, Van Bramer, Williams

Budget Negotiating Team: Adams, Cornegy, Constantinides, Cumbo, Deutsch, Dromm, Gibson, Grodenchik, Johnson, Koslowitz, Lancman, Levin, Matteo, Menchaca, Moya, Reynoso, Rose, Rosenthal, Salamanca, Van Bramer

 

AGING

Chin, Chair

Ayala

Deutsch

Diaz, Sr.

Dromm

Eugene

Rose

Treyger

Vallone

 

CIVIL AND HUMAN RIGHTS

Eugene, Chair

Dromm

Kallos

Lander

Perkins

Rodriguez

Rosenthal

 

CIVIL SERVICE AND LABOR

Miller, Chair

Adams

Dromm

King

Maisel

Ulrich

Williams

 

CONSUMER AFFAIRS AND BUSINESS LICENSING

Espinal, Chair

Chin

Koo

Koslowitz

Lander

 

CONTRACTS

Brannan, Chair

Barron

Perkins

Rosenthal

Yeger

 

CRIMINAL JUSTICE SERVICES

Powers, Chair

Ampry-Samuel

Holden

Lancman

Rivera

 

CULTURAL AFFAIRS, LIBRARIES AND INTERNATIONAL INTERGROUP RELATIONS

Van Bramer, Chair

Borelli

Cumbo

Koslowitz

Moya

 

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Vallone, Chair

Adams

Barron

Cornegy

Koo

Lander

Levine

Menchaca

Powers

Richards

Rivera

Rosenthal

Williams

 

EDUCATION

Treyger, Chair

Ampry-Samuel

Barron

Borelli

Brannan

Cohen

Cornegy

Deutsch

Dromm

Grodenchik

Kallos

King

Lander

Levin

Levine

Rodriguez

Rose

Salamanca

Ulrich

 

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION

Constantinides, Chair

Espinal

Levin

Menchaca

Richards

Ulrich

Yeger

 

FINANCE

Dromm, Chair

Adams

Cohen

Cornegy

Cumbo

Gibson

Grodenchik

Lancman

Matteo

Moya

Powers

Rosenthal

Van Bramer

 

FIRE

Borelli, Chair

Ampry-Samuel

Brannan

Cabrera

Maisel

 

FOR-HIRE VEHICLES

Diaz, Sr., Chair

Borelli

Constantinides

Moya

Rose

Rodriguez

Vallone

 

GENERAL WELFARE

Levin, Chair

Adams

Ayala

Gibson

Gjonaj

Grodenchik

Lander

Reynoso

Salamanca

Torres

Treyger

 

GOVERNMENTAL OPERATIONS

Cabrera, Chair

Kallos

Maisel

Perkins

Powers

Rodriguez

Yeger

 

HEALTH

Levine, Chair

Ampry-Samuel

Barron

Eugene

Powers

 

HIGHER EDUCATION

Barron, Chair

Cumbo

Holden

Kallos

Rodriguez

 

HOSPITAL SYSTEM

Rivera, Chair

Ayala

Eugene

Levine

Maisel

Moya

Reynoso

 

HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

Cornegy, Chair

Cabrera

Chin

Espinal

Gjonaj

Grodenchik

Perkins

Rivera

Rosenthal

Torres

Williams

 

IMMIGRATION

Menchaca, Chair

Dromm

Eugene

Holden

Gjonaj

Miller

Yeger

 

JUSTICE SYSTEM

Lancman, Chair

Cohen

Maisel

Rose

Ulrich

 

JUVENILE JUSTICE

King, Chair

Gjonaj

Holden

Levine

Perkins

Rose

Williams

 

LAND USE

Salamanca, Chair

Adams

Barron

Constantinides

Deutsch

Diaz, Sr.

Gibson

Grodenchik

Kallos

King

Koo

Lancman

Levin

Miller

Moya

Reynoso

Richards

Rivera

Torres

Treyger

 

MENTAL HEALTH, DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITY, ALCOHOLISM, DRUG ABUSE AND DISABILITY SERVICES

Ayala, Chair

Ampry-Samuel

Cabrera

Holden

Van Bramer

 

OVERSIGHT AND INVESTIGATIONS

Torres, Chair

Kallos

Lancman

Powers

Salamanca

Treyger

Yeger

 

PARKS AND RECREATION

Grodenchik, Chair

Borelli

Brannan

Cohen

Constantinides

Gjonaj

King

Koo

Moya

Ulrich

Van Bramer

 

PUBLIC HOUSING

Ampry-Samuel, Chair

Ayala

Cumbo

Diaz, Sr.

Gjonaj

Menchaca

Richards

Salamanca

Torres

Treyger

Van Bramer

 

PUBLIC SAFETY

Richards, Chair

Brannan

Cabrera

Cohen

Deutsch

Gibson

Lancman

Menchaca

Miller

Powers

Rodriguez

Vallone

Williams

 

RULES, PRIVILEGES AND ELECTIONS

Koslowitz, Chair

Adams

Chin

Cornegy

Espinal

Gibson

Johnson

Lancman

Matteo

Torres

Treyger

 

SANITATION AND SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT

Reynoso, Chair

Cabrera

Deutsch

Espinal

Vallone

 

SMALL BUSINESS

Gjonaj, Chair

Ayala

Levin

Perkins

Rivera

 

STANDARDS AND ETHICS

Matteo, Chair

Chin

Gibson

Koslowitz

Levin

 

STATE AND FEDERAL LEGISLATION

Cohen, Chair

Cornegy

Espinal

Koslowitz

Rodriguez

 

TECHNOLOGY

Koo, Chair

Holden

Lander

Ulrich

Yeger

 

TRANSPORTATION

Rodriguez, Chair

Cabrera

Constantinides

Deutsch

Diaz, Sr.

Espinal

Koo

Levin

Levine

Menchaca

Miller

Reynoso

Richards

Rose

Salamanca

 

VETERANS

Deutsch, Chair

Brannan

Eugene

Maisel

Vallone

 

WOMEN

Rosenthal, Chair

Ayala

Cumbo

Kallos

Lander

 

YOUTH SERVICES

Rose, Chair

Brannan

Chin

Eugene

King

 

CAPITAL BUDGET SUBCOMMITTEE

Gibson, Chair

Grodenchik

Matteo

Rosenthal

Powers

 

LANDMARKS, PUBLIC SITING AND MARITIME USES SUBCOMMITTEE

Adams, Chair

Barron

Koo

Miller

Treyger

 

PLANNING, DISPOSITIONS AND CONCESSIONS SUBCOMMITTEE

Kallos, Chair

Deutsch

Diaz, Sr.

King

Gibson

 

ZONING AND FRANCHISES SUBCOMMITTEE

Moya, Chair

Constantinides

Grodenchik

Lancman

Levin

Reynoso

Richards

Rivera

Torres

 

BQX TASK FORCE

Menchaca, Chair

Constantinides

Levin

Reynoso

Van Bramer 

 

CITY WORKFORCE EQUITY TASK FORCE

Williams, Chair

 

MWBE TASK FORCE

Cornegy, Chair

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