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With the election year complete and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s job secure, Brooklyn’s delegation in the City Council are looking to increase their clout and pocketbooks through being named to leadership positions.
Chairing committees,sub-committees and having leadership positions come with stipends above a council member’s annual $112,500 salary.
Quinn, who gets a $28,000 stipend for being speaker, gets to pick the chairs and most of the leadership positions.
Among the higher paid stipends include $23,000 for being named majority leader, $20,000 for deputy majority leader, $18,000 for chairing the Land Use and Finance Committees, $15,000 for being assistant majority leader, $11,000 for being majority whip, $10,000 for chairing any committee except Finance and Land Use and $4,000 for being named a select/subcommittee chair.
“Everybody has a shot for everything. It’s all up for grabs,” said Council member Domenic Recchia (D-Coney Island), who currently chairs the Cultural Affairs, Libraries and Intergroup Relations Committee.
With several senior members leaving the council this year, political observers believe the Kings County delegationmay make a move, forging an alliance with Bronx Council members to install allies in the two most desirable committees, Land Use and Finance.
Finance is currently chaired by Queens Council member David Weprin and Land use by Melinda Katz, both of whom are leaving the council after running unsuccessfully for city comptroller.
Among those angling for finance from Brooklyn are Recchia and Lew Fidler (D-Bergen Beach, Canarsie, Marine Park).
“No one has more dealings with budgets then I do,” said Recchia. “I have a lot of experience in dealing with the budgets.”
Fidler, who currently chairs the Youth Services Committee, noted he already sits on the finance committee and is known for his hard look at the budget.
“I’ve asked the OMB (Office of Management and Budget) some of the toughest questions in eight years and I hope that counts for something,” said Fidler.
Among those from the Brooklyn delegation who might be angling for chairing the Land Use Committee are Williamsburg Councilmember Diana Reyna, who currently chairs the Rules Committee.
Reyna declined to comment whether she would pursue another committee, such as Land Use, in the wake of her strong opposition to rezoning projects such as the Broadway Triangle, though a spokesperson for her office said that discussions over which councilmembers are interested in which committee are beginning this week.
One mark against Reyna is her acrimonious relationship with Kings County Democratic boss Vito Lopez. However, both Reyna and Recchia have a good relationship with Quinn.
Other Brooklyn councilmembers who could be up for chairs or who could be reassigned to chairs they already hold are Letitia James (D-Fort Greene), who chairs the Contracts Committee; Vincent Gentile (D-Bay Ridge), chair of the Libraries Sub-committee and Mike Nelson (D-Manhattan Beach, Brighton Beach, Midwood), who chairs the Waterfronts Committee.
Brooklyn chairs of committees who will be out of the Council come January are Bill de Blasio (D-Park Slope, Kensington), chair of the General Welfare Committee; Kendall Stewart (D-East Flatbush), chair of the Immigration Committee; and David Yassky (D-Brooklyn Heights), chair of the Small Business Committee.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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