Completing a year of work, the 2005 New York City Charter Revision Commission
voted unanimously, on Tuesday, August 2, 2005 to approve placing two questions
on the ballot for voters to consider on Election Day, November 2005.
The first question approved by the 2005 Commission concerns an ethics code for
City administrative judges. Specifically, these changes to the City Charter would
require the Mayor and the Chief Administrative Law Judge of the Office of Administrative
Trials and Hearings to jointly issue rules establishing a code or codes of professional
conduct for the administrative law judges and hearing officers in the City’s
The second question approved by the 2005 Commission concerns a balanced budget
and other City fiscal requirements. Specifically, these changes to the City
Charter would establish, as Charter requirements, the following fiscal mandates
that, in general, currently apply to the City through State law:
Dr. Ester R. Fuchs, Chair of the Commission noted, “In August 2004,
Mayor Bloomberg appointed a distinguished group of civic minded New Yorkers
to serve on this Charter Revision Commission. We were asked to explore issues
of fiscal stability, administrative judicial reform and governmental efficiency
and accountability. The Mayor was concerned about the expiration of the State
Financial Emergency Act, and asked us to look into whether the City should
import into the Charter some of the exemplary fiscal management practices
mandated by that Act. We are pleased that after a year of deliberation and
consultation the Commission has proposed two ballot initiatives. The first
imports some of those fiscal mandates directly into the Charter and the second
requires the City to establish a code of ethics for the judges and hearing
officers of the City’s administrative tribunals. We are extremely proud
of our process and our product, and look forward to the voters’ consideration
of both of these ballot propositions in the November election.”
- Require that the City annually prepare a budget balanced in accordance
with generally accepted accounting principles, and end each year not showing
a deficit in accordance with those principles;
- Require that the Mayor annually prepare a four-year City financial plan,
to be based on reasonable assumptions and modified on at least a quarterly
basis, and that the plan provide for payment of the City’s debts and
a general reserve of at least $100 million to cover shortfalls;
- Impose additional conditions on the Charter’s current restrictions
on short-term debt (which may be issued by the City to fund a projected deficit
or in anticipation of the receipt of funds from taxes, revenues, and bonds).
These conditions generally limit the duration and amount of the short-term
- Impose additional conditions on the annual audit of the City’s accounts
that is currently required by the Charter. These conditions relate to application
of generally accepted auditing standards and access by auditors to records
so that the audit may be issued within four months after the close of the
City fiscal year.
The Commissioners are as follows:
Dr. Ester R. Fuchs (Chair), Special Advisor to the Mayor for
Governance and Strategic Planning, is on leave from her position as Professor
of Political Science and Public Affairs and Director of the Center for Urban
Research and Policy at Columbia University and Barnard College. She is a resident
Dr. Dall Forsythe (Vice Chair) is the Chief Administrative
Officer of the Episcopal Diocese of New York. He is the former Budget Director
for New York
State and the New York City Board of Education. He is a resident of Manhattan.
Stephen J. Fiala (Secretary) is the County Clerk and Commissioner
of Jurors for Richmond County. He is a former member of the New York City Council.
He is resident of Staten Island.
Robert Abrams is a partner of Stroock & Stroock &
Lavan LLP. He was formerly the New York State Attorney General. He also served
as the Borough President of the Bronx and was a member of the New York State
Assembly. He is a resident of Manhattan.
Curtis L. Archer is Executive Director of the Rockaway Development
and Revitalization Corporation and is the former Director of Small Business
Development for the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone. He is a resident of Manhattan.
Dr. Lilliam Barrios-Paoli is the President and CEO of Safe
Space, Inc. She previously served as the Senior Vice President and Chief Executive
for Agency Services of the United Way of New York City. She has also served
as Commissioner of New York City’s Human Resources Administration, Department
of Housing and Preservation and Development, Department of Personnel and Department
of Employment. She is a resident of Manhattan.
Amalia Victoria Betanzos is President of Wildcat Service Corporation,
a non-profit employment program. Formerly, she was a Commissioner of the Department
of Youth Services; an Executive Secretary to Mayor John Lindsay, and a member
of four previous Charter Revision Commissions. She is a resident of Staten Island.
David Chen is the Executive Director of the Chinese-American
Planning Council and is the founding Chairman of the Board of Directors of the
Chung Pak Local Development Corporation. He is a resident of Brooklyn.
Anthony Crowell is Special Counsel to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg
and a former Executive Director and General Counsel to several previous Charter
Revision Commissions. He is an adjunct Professor at Brooklyn and New York Law
Schools. He is a resident of Brooklyn.
Stanley E. Grayson is the President and Chief Operating Officer
of M.R. Beal & Company. He was a former Managing Director and Director of
Prudential Securities Public Finance Department. Prior to his investment-banking
career, Mr. Grayson held several senior positions within New York City government,
including Deputy Mayor for Finance and Economic Development, Finance Commissioner
and Chief Executive Officer of the New York City Industrial Development Agency.
He is a resident of Manhattan.
Dr. Mary McCormick is President of the Fund for the City of
New York. She is a former Special Assistant to New York City’s Deputy
Mayor for Labor Relations and Personnel and a professor at Columbia University.
She is a resident of Brooklyn.
Stephanie Palmer is the Executive Director of the New York
City Mission Society and is the former Executive Director of Human Services
Council of New York City. She is a resident of Manhattan.
Jennifer J. Raab is the President of Hunter College. She is
the former Chair of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. She
is a resident of the Bronx.
Beginning with its first meeting in August 2004, the 2005 Commission held a
series of public meetings, expert forums and public hearings to facilitate a
wide-ranging civic discussion on ways to improve City government through charter
reform. The resulting two ballot proposals reflect the informed discussions
at the expert forums as well as public comment from its public hearings and
At last night's meeting, the Commission also approved release of its final
report, entitled: ADVANCING ACCOUNTABILITY: BALANCED BUDGETS AND
ADMINISTRATIVE ETHICS. This final report, as well as the proposed
ballot questions and related abstracts and the Commission's other reports, newsletters
and transcripts can be found on its website: www.nyc.gov/charter.