Created in 1971 by Local Law No. 12, the Taxi and Limousine Commission is a Charter-mandated agency, the purpose of which is the continuance, further development and improvement of taxi and for-hire service in the City of New York. The Commission is also responsible for licensing and regulating for-hire vehicle, commuter van and wheelchair accessible van services as it relates to the overall public transportation network of the city; to establish taxicab rates, standards of service, standards of insurance and minimum coverage; standards for driver safety; standards for equipment safety and design; and standards and criteria for the licensing of vehicles, drivers and operators engaged in such services.
The Commission's Board consists of nine members, eight of whom are unsalaried Commissioners to be appointed by the Mayor with the advice and consent of the city council; five of said members, one resident from each of the five boroughs of New York City, shall be recommended for appointment by a majority vote of the councilmembers of each respective borough. The salaried Chair/Commissioner presides over regularly scheduled public Commission meetings, and is the head of the agency.
Meera Joshi has served New York City residents in City government for more than a decade. Most recently, she was the Deputy Commissioner of Legal Affairs and General Counsel for the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission. During her tenure she developed regulatory frameworks for over thirty initiatives which significantly improved for-hire transportation service in New York City. These included such initiatives as enhancements to the in-taxi technology, including the ability to pay fares by smart phone; accessible dispatch to connect persons who use wheelchairs to wheelchair accessible taxis, and rules implementing the Street Hail Livery (green cab) program. Commissioner Joshi was also a principal architect of a settlement with disability advocates that will result in a 50% wheelchair accessible taxi fleet by the year 2020, making New York City’s fleet the most accessible in the nation by far.
She previously served as the First Deputy Executive Director of the New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board, an agency tasked with investigating complaints of police misconduct. In addition to improving the quality and efficiency of the agency’s investigations, she was responsible for initiation of a landmark prosecution program that resulted in the agency’s ability to independently prosecute founded complaints against police officers. She also served as an Inspector General for the New York City Department of Investigation, responsible for investigation of alleged criminality and corruption at New York City’s Departments of Correction, Probation, Juvenile Justice and the Taxi and Limousine Commission.
Commissioner Joshi received her B.A. and J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, and resides with her family in Brooklyn.
Commissioner Elias Arout was born and raised on Staten Island, graduating from Alexander Hamilton Vocational High School, and has actively represented his home borough on the Commission since 1988.
A consummate community volunteer since 1957, Commissioner Arout is also a veteran of the Armed Forces and a retired member of the Housing Police. Commissioner Arout retired as a photographer First Class from the U.S. Naval Air Reserve after 26 years of service, including two years of active duty during the Korean conflict. He is also a current member of Staten Island Council Knights of Columbus as well as a Past Grand Knight, a Past Chapter Chairman and Past District Deputy of the organization and is currently serving his second year as President of AARP #1424 of Staten Island. He is also a Former County Commander for the Richmond County American Legion.
Among the highlights of Commissioner Arout’s distinguished tenure with the TLC was his instrumental role in the opening of the Staten Island Taxi and Limousine Commission Licensing and Adjudication Satellite Office.
He currently lives in Staten Island with his wife Margaret.
With nearly 20 years of experience in banking, Commissioner Edward Gonzales has held managerial positions in the treasury departments of the former Dime Savings Bank of New York and, currently, Citigroup, both multi-billion dollar financial institutions. Commissioner Gonzales has successfully met the challenges of managing people, processes, and money in support of the residential mortgage business for these financial institutions. Most notably, Commissioner Gonzales played a key role in restoring the Dime Savings Bank to a “well-capitalized” designation with the Bank’s primary federal regulator in the early 1990s.
Commissioner Gonzales holds a BBA in Management from the College of William and Mary as well an MBA in Finance from New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business, completed on a part-time basis while working full-time. He is also a graduate of Regis High School in Manhattan.
Outside of work, Commissioner Gonzales enjoys running and weight training.
As a lifelong New Yorker, Commissioner Gonzales is honored to have the opportunity to give something back to New York City with an agency that has a vital impact on the day-to-day lives of so many of his fellow New Yorkers. He looks forward to enhancing policies that ensure customer and driver safety as well as business viability for owners.
Commissioner Gonzales was appointed to the Taxi and Limousine Commission in 2005 for a seven year term.
Lauvienska Polanco was born and raised in Santiago, Dominican Republic and relocated to Manhattan to join her family at the age of 16 which is the borough where she has resided ever since. She enrolled at John Jay College of Criminal Justice where she graduated with honors. Having demonstrated a keen and intuitive grasp of politics at an early age, Commissioner Polanco decided to pursue an education in law at Pace University School of Law.
Commissioner Polanco worked briefly as a mediator for insurance defense claims, before spending some years at a personal injury law firm. After that successful stint, Commissioner Polanco joined the New York State Unified Court System, first as a Court Attorney in the Lower Civil Court, and now in an elevated role as Principal Law Clerk at the Bronx Supreme Court.
Commissioner Polanco is an active community advocate, as former chair and active member of the Neighborhood Advisory Board of Manhattan Community Board (NAB) #12, which is responsible for identifying the service needs of their local communities (Manhattan #12), a process which guides the City in its allocation of federal Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) funding to support community-based human service programs in areas such as education, employment, health, housing, immigrant services, senior citizen services and youth development. Commissioner Polanco also maintains an enthusiastic dedication to her profession while demonstrating a commitment to women's issues through her board membership in the Dominican Women's Caucus.
"In the short time I have been on the TLC's Board, I have learned much about the importance of our regulated industries to the City's transportation network. Someday, when I look back on my time here, it is my hope that people will say, 'she brought something to the table, and she made things better.'" said Commissioner Polanco.
Commissioner Nora Constance Marino, a Queens County resident for 20 years, has been in the private practice of law for well over a decade, with a focus on negligence, torts, commercial litigation, medical malpractice, constitutional law, matrimonial and family law, among other areas of specialty. She regularly receives appointments from Supreme Court Justices for various court appointments such as Referee, Court Evaluator, Guardian Ad Litem, and is “Of Counsel” for numerous law firms.
In 2001/2002, Commissioner Marino served her country with distinction as a First Lieutenant in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps of the United States Army Reserve. Dedication to her fellow Veterans remains a hallmark of her professional life, as demonstrated by her service as Chief Counsel to Veterans Quality of Life Access Network, Inc., a non-profit organization that assists military Veterans.
A prominent advocate for animals, Commissioner Marino volunteers at New York City Animal Care and Control, and is Chief Counsel to Kinship Circle, a non-profit organization that promotes animal advocacy and education.
Commissioner Marino was educated at University of California at Berkeley, New York University, and the City University School of Law at Queens College, and is a member of the American, New York State, New York City, and Queens Bar Associations, as well as the Queens County Women’s and Queens County Columbian Lawyers Bar Associations. She is also very active in the New York State Trial Lawyers Association.
Jacques Jiha was appointed Commissioner of New York City’s Department of Finance by Mayor Bill de Blasio on April 8, 2014. Commissioner Jiha was nominated by Mayor Bill de Blasio to the TLC’s Board and subsequently confirmed by the NYC Council on August 21, 2014. Prior to becoming Commissioner, Mr. Jiha was the Executive Vice President / Chief Operating Officer & Chief Financial Officer of Earl G. Graves, Ltd., a multi-media company with properties in print, digital media, television, events and the internet. A staunch advocate of public service, Mr. Jiha served on a number of government and not-for-profit boards. He was a board member of the Ronald McDonald House of New York, a board member of Public Health Solutions and a trustee of the Public Health Solutions Retirement Trust, a member of the Investment Advisory Committee of the New York Common Retirement Fund, and he was also the Secretary of the board of the New York State Dormitory Authority – one the largest issuers of municipal debt in the country on behalf of public and private universities and medical institutions, and the State of New York.
Previously, Mr. Jiha served as Deputy Comptroller for Pension Investment and Public Finance in the Office of the New York State Comptroller. As the state’s chief investment officer, he managed the assets of the New York State Common Retirement Fund (CRF) – then the nation’s second-largest pension fund valued at $120 billion. He also oversaw New York’s College Savings Program, with assets of $2 billion, and the state’s short-term investment pool of $5 billion. He was also in charge of all activities related to the issuance of New York State general obligation bonds, bond anticipation notes, tax and revenue anticipation notes, and certificates of participation. Mr. Jiha was also the Co-Executive Director of the New York State Local Government Assistance Corporation (LGAC) in charge of the sale of refunding bonds, the ratification of swap agreements, and the selection of financial advisors and underwriters. Prior thereto, Mr. Jiha was Nassau County Deputy Comptroller for Audits and Finances. He also worked for the New York City Office of the Comptroller in increasingly responsible positions: first as Chief Economist and later as Deputy Comptroller for Budget. Earlier, Mr. Jiha served as Executive Director of the New York State Legislative Tax Study Commission and as Principal Economist for the New York State Assembly Committee on Ways and Means. He holds a Ph.D. and a Master’s degree in Economics from the New School for Social Research and a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Fordham University.