Heard Around Town

Adrienne Adams reelected council speaker; Farías in, Powers out as majority leader

Adams was unanimously reelected, and a shakeup in the majority leader role added Amanda Farías to the leadership slate.

Adrienne Adams on Wednesday was unanimously reelected as Speaker of the New York City Council.

Adrienne Adams on Wednesday was unanimously reelected as Speaker of the New York City Council. John McCarten/NYC Council Media Unit

New year, slightly new City Council, same speaker. City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams was reelected by a unanimous vote at the council’s charter meeting Wednesday – a foregone conclusion leading up to the meeting that nonetheless kicks off the new two-year session and Adams’ second term as speaker. Adams was first elected speaker in 2022, becoming the first Black speaker of the council. 

But while most of the council’s other leadership appointments predictably remained the same as last session, there was one surprise shakeup. Council Member Amanda Farías, who was elected to represent the 18th District in the Bronx in 2021, was appointed majority leader of the council, a role that Council Member Keith Powers filled in the last session. Powers, who has represented Manhattan’s East Side in the council since 2018, is term-limited and ineligible to run again in 2025, as is Adams. 

“Designating Council Member Farías as Majority Leader is a step towards preparing the institution for its next generation of leadership and expanding representation,” council spokesperson Mara Davis said in a statement. “She will be the first Latina to hold this position, and it marks the first time the top leadership positions of the New York City Council will all be women, and women of color. Council Member Keith Powers has been a critical member of Speaker Adams' leadership team, and there are no plans for that to change.”

Powers also characterized the decision as a matter of passing the baton to the large class of new members who entered the council in 2022. “It’s a conversation that we had with the speaker about making sure that we’re promoting some of the new members,” he told City & State after the meeting. “It’s something we discussed. We’re in continued conversations about my role and what’s going to happen next, and I’m looking forward to that.” Powers said that the switch isn’t a sign that he plans to make an early exit from the council. “This is the greatest job I’ve ever had, and it always will be,” he said. “I’m here until the end.”

The start of the last session in 2022 – which saw a vacancy in the speaker seat that Adams secured out of a crowded field of competitors, the addition of dozens of new members to the body, and the first majority female council – was met with more fanfare. But Wednesday’s meeting nonetheless struck a celebratory, first-day-of-school tone. (The meeting was essentially the first day of school for the body’s four new members – Chris Banks, Kristy Marmorato, Yusef Salaam and Susan Zhuang.) Special guests at the meeting included state Attorney General Letitia James, who administered the oath of office to Adams, along with Reps. Greg Meeks and Adriano Espaillat, and former City Council Member Paul Vallone. 

Still, this year’s speaker vote was largely procedural, and no other members were nominated. “I thought this was my chance,” cracked Republican Minority Leader Joe Borelli, as he cast his vote for speaker. “It wasn’t. I support Adrienne E. Adams.”