Press Release Archive

Press Release

Press Release #050803
Wednesday, August 3, 2005
Paul Elliott 212-788-2958


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 administrative tribunals.

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:

  • 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 debt; and
  • 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.

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.”

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 of Manhattan.

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 correspondence.

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.