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Charter Revision

Charter Revision proposals on November ballot

It may feel a bit like “Groundhog Day,” but the November 5, 2019 ballot will contain a set of proposals to revise New York City’s Charter.

(You may recall there were three charter revision proposals on last year’s General Election ballot—the result of a hurried process instituted by the Mayor—which created a Civic Engagement Commission, instituted term limits on Community Board members, and increased the funding match for candidates who participate in the city’s campaign finance program.)

These 2019 proposals are the result of the work of a commission created by the City Council from legislation co-sponsored by myself, Council Speaker Corey Johnson, and then-Public Advocate Tish James over a year ago. Its 15 members conducted the first top-to-bottom revisiting of the Charter since the 1989 Charter Revision (which abolished the Board of Estimate and expanded the City Council to 51 members).

This year’s proposals would:

  • Establish Ranked Choice Voting. Beginning in 2021, a “ranked choice voting” system for all municipal primary & special elections would be used, which allows voters to rank five candidates on their ballot. The candidate who ranks 1st on the fewest ballots is removed until, after multiple rounds, a winner emerges.
  • Restructure the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB).  Expands the CCRB to 15 members (from 13), one of whom would be appointed by the Public Advocate, and the other would be its chair (to be jointly appointed by the Mayor and the Council Speaker). Delegates subpoena power to the CCRB Executive Director; guarantees a minimum CCRB budget; allows the CCRB to investigate and recommend discipline against a police officer who makes a false statement in the course of a CCRB investigation; requires the Police Commissioner to provide an explanation in cases where s/he deviates from disciplinary recommendations.
  • Create a city “Rainy Day” Fund. Allows the city to use a “rainy day” fund in the budget to spend during economic downturns.
  • Guarantee minimum budgets for the Public Advocate and Borough Presidents. Sets a minimum budget for the Public Advocate and Borough Presidents, unless the Mayor makes a written determination of fiscal necessity.
  • Require that a Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise Office be created, with a director who would report to the Mayor.
  • Make changes to Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP).  For projects subject to ULURP, requires that a detailed project summary be provided to the affected Borough President(s) and Community Board(s) and be published online before such application is “certified” by the Department of City Planning (DCP). Increases Community Boards’ review period during the summer season (because many volunteer Boards skip one monthly meeting during that season).

Learn more by visiting or attend the following public meetings sponsored by the 2019 Commission:

  • BRONX: Andrew Freedman Home, Sept.18, and Bronx Museum of the Arts, Oct. 16
  • BROOKLYN: Brooklyn Borough Hall, Sept. 10 and Oct. 10
  • MANHATTAN: John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Sept. 16 and Oct. 17
  • QUEENS: Queens Borough Hall, Sept. 9 and Oct. 15
  • STATEN ISLAND: College of Staten Island, Sept. 17 and Oct. 7

Categories: Charter Revision