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July 2011

I write these words having just returned from our first public Commission meeting ever in the great borough of the Bronx -- home to 53 Livery Bases – 8,014 liveries and other FHVs, driven by 11,726 licensees; a lone medallion taxi agent and meter Shop, 5,482 Hack drivers; 24 paratransit bases, 553 paratransit drivers and 173 ambulettes; seven luxury limousine bases, two commuter van authorities, 15 van drivers and 10 vans.

The TLC meets at Bronx Borough Hall.

I have to say, despite the humbling amazing architecture of the Bronx Borough Hall Rotunda, with the words of the Founding Fathers all around us even as we marveled at the marble columns and the soaring ceiling, I was more humbled by the testimony of those who came out for the meeting.  In particular, those surviving family members of deceased medallion owners who’ve been affected by the existing version of the Owner Must Drive (OMD) rule.  At the meeting, the Board of Commissioners took up the approval of a new set of less restrictive OMD rules, which were formulated in very close coordination with taxi industry leaders and which give great deference to the service of longtime medallion owners.  As it happens, however, the proposed rules treat surviving spouses of medallion owners whose ownership pre-dated the implementation of the OMD rule, and were therefore grandfathered out of the OMD requirement, as new owners.  Their compelling testimony inspired a Commission resolution to address the issue in a way that is fair to all, and we will report on that at a future Commission meeting.

Commissioner Yassky (at right), speaks with the daughter of a longtime medallion owner/driver.

Speaking of the Commission meeting, we had the privilege of welcoming a new colleague to the Board this week.  Commissioner LaShann De’Arcy replaces former Commissioner Jeff Kay, and will fill out a term, ending January 31, 2012.  Commissioner DeArcy is a distinguished attorney in Morrison & Foerster’s Litigation Department, and also has the distinction of having served our country as a Senior Airman in the Air Force.  I know that she will be an active and committed Commission member and I am really looking forward to working closely with her.

We also had another hello/goodbye to announce at the meeting, namely the fact that it was Deputy Commissioner Pansy Mullings’ final Commission meeting as the Deputy Commissioner for Uniformed Services.  It would be impossible for me to sum up her three decades of distinguished service to the City in this small space, but I will say, just from the perspective of her contribution to the Taxi and Limousine Commission, that Pansy Mullings can take enormous pride in her role in facilitating hundreds of thousands of vehicle inspections that have made our streets and our citizens safer, and overseeing the work of the Officers responsible for enforcing our laws and rules to protect public safety and ensure that all legitimate taxi and for-hire vehicle operators can provide their services on a fair and level playing field.

While Deputy Commissioner Mullings leaves some “size large” shoes to fill, I am very pleased to announce that our own Deputy Commissioner Ray Scanlon, who has done so much to enhance both the level of customer service and the quality of justice delivered at our Adjudication Division, will be taking her place.

Deputy Commissioner Mullings (second from left) is pictured above with Staten Island Commissioner Elias Arout (far left), Local 237 Business Agent George Serrano, and TLC Chair David Yassky in front of one of the TLC’s patrol vehicles, newly-equipped with lights and sirens to enhance officers’ safety and efficiency.

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