Dromm To Charter Comm.: ‘Expand City Council’s Advise & Consent Role’
City Councilmember Daniel Dromm has proposed to the Charter Revision Commission that the advise and consent role of the Council be expanded to include all high-level commissioners, including the Schools Chancellor, appointed by a mayor to serve in an administration.
Dromm (D–Jackson Heights), testifying at LaGuardia Community College in Long Island City, stated that his proposal would have a significant positive impact on city government.
Dromm stated: “A well organized nomination process can be very revealing and useful as an accounting instrument. It can also help the legislative branch engage the executive branch on a range of interests, from narrow constituent concerns to broad city-wide policy issues. Filling a position for a second or third time in the same administration provides opportunities during the confirmation process to seek changes in the administration’s policies and practices.”
The lawmaker pointed out: “A confirmation process will add a better balance to the power dynamic between the city council and the mayor. I would advocate for new rules requiring:
1. A detailed questionnaire completed by the nominee before the hearing, designed to shed light on the nominee’s background experience, relative views on policy issues and potential conflicts of interest.
2. A hearing with the nominee testifying under oath.
3. A written committee report that recommends giving or refusing the ‘consent’ of the city council.”
Dromm noted, “With the rare exception of a few positions in the administration, the city council, as the legislative branch, has no ability to examine an individual’s qualifications for executive positions in an administration.”
He added that the process of advise and consent would provide at a minimum, for public illumination of the nominee’s record and character. “New York City needs a more complete system of checks and balances between branches of government,” Dromm declared.
In addition to the hearing and the question and answer process, Dromm said he would also recommend common practice on the federal level, that once the mayor submits a nomination, the nominee visits personally with each member of the committee that will be holding the hearing.
The Charter Revision Commission is charged with reviewing the entire Charter, holding hearings in all five boroughs and issuing a report outlining findings and recommendations to amend or revise the Charter, which acts as the constitution of the city of New York.