New York City Public Advocate

The office of New York City Public Advocate (President of the City Council) is a citywide elected position in New York City, which is first in line to succeed the mayor. The office serves as a direct link between the electorate and city government, effectively acting as an ombudsman, or watchdog, for New Yorkers.

Public Advocate of New York City
Seal of the City of New York
Flag of the City of New York
Jumaane Williams
since March 19, 2019
Term length4 years; may serve two consecutive terms
Inaugural holderMark Green
SuccessionFirst in the New York City mayoral line of succession
DeputyFirst Deputy Public Advocate, Nick E. Smith[1]
Salary$184,800 USD (2021)[2]

History edit

The office was created in 1993, when the New York City Council voted to rename the position of President of the City Council. Following the City Charter revision of 1989 which eliminated the powerful New York City Board of Estimate on which the president held a seat, the post was seen as largely ceremonial; its only notable responsibility was to cast the deciding vote in the City Council in the unlikely event of a tie, a power that was eliminated in 2001.[3] At the time, it was thought likely that the post would be abolished altogether.[4] The position survived, and has been held by Democrats throughout its history. Mark Green was the first public advocate and served through his unsuccessful run for Mayor in 2001.

Also in 2001, the City Council amended the city charter to transfer the public advocate's functions as presiding officer of the City Council to a Speaker elected from among the council members. Green's successor, Betsy Gotbaum, thus had her role limited to being the city's de facto ombudsman. The 2009 election to succeed Gotbaum was highly competitive and was won by Bill de Blasio, who later became the first public advocate to win the Mayor's office.

The current public advocate is Jumaane Williams, following a special election on February 26, 2019.

Duties edit

The public advocate is a non-voting member of the New York City Council with the right to introduce and co-sponsor legislation. Prior to a 2002 charter revision, the Public Advocate was also the presiding officer of the council.[5] The public advocate also serves as an ombudsman for city government, providing oversight for city agencies, investigating citizens' complaints about city services and making proposals to address perceived shortcomings or failures of those services. These duties, worded somewhat ambiguously, are laid out in Section 24 of the City Charter. The public advocate serves on the committee which selects the director of the New York City Independent Budget Office and appoints members to several boards and commissions, including one member of the New York City Planning Commission. The public advocate also serves as chairman of the Commission of Public Information and Communication established by Section 1061 of the New York City Charter.

Along with the mayor and the comptroller, the public advocate is one of three municipal offices elected by all the city's voters. In the event of a vacancy or incapacity of the mayor, the public advocate is first in line to become mayor.[6]

List of New York City public advocates edit

No. Image Name Term of office Party affiliation Notes
1   Mark Green January 1, 1994 – December 31, 2001 Democratic
2   Betsy Gotbaum January 1, 2002 – December 31, 2009 Democratic
  • elected to two four-year terms[10]
  • did not run for re-election[11]
3   Bill de Blasio January 1, 2010 – December 31, 2013 Democratic
4   Letitia James January 1, 2014 – December 31, 2018 Democratic
  Corey Johnson (acting) January 1, 2019 – March 19, 2019 Democratic
  • became the acting public advocate upon James being sworn in as Attorney General of New York State[17]
5   Jumaane Williams March 19, 2019 – present Democratic

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ Ross, Scott (October 12, 2009). "Bloomberg Wants to Axe Public Advocate". NBC New York. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  4. ^ Raab, Selwyn (January 30, 1993). "'President' Is Confusing; Council May Alter Title". The New York Times. Retrieved December 3, 2010.
  5. ^ Cardwell, Diane (December 2, 2002). "Betsy Gotbaum, the Advocate, Struggles to Reach Her Public". The New York Times. Retrieved January 14, 2013.
  6. ^ "The Mayor". What makes New York City run? : a citizen's guide to how city government works (trade) (Third ed.). New York, N.Y.: League of Women Voters of the City of New York Education Fund. 2001. pp. 30–31. ISBN 0-916130-02-9.
  7. ^ Hicks, Jonathan P. (November 3, 1993). "Green Breezes in Rematch From Primary". New York Times. p. B5. Retrieved January 2, 2019.
  8. ^ Nagourney, Adam (November 5, 1997). "Giuliani Sweeps to Second Term As Mayor; Whitman Holds on By a Razor-Thin Margin - Firm Grip on City – Mayor Wins 4 Boroughs – Messinger Makes Her Concession". New York Times. p. A1. Retrieved January 2, 2019.
  9. ^ Nagourney, Adam (November 7, 2001). "The 2001 Elections: Bloomberg Edges Green in Race for Mayor; McGreevey is an Easy Winner in New Jersey". New York Times. p. A1. Retrieved January 2, 2019.
  10. ^ "The Races in New York City". New York Times. November 10, 2005. p. B6. Retrieved January 2, 2019.
  11. ^ Santos, Fernanda (October 27, 2008). "Betsy Gotbaum Says She Will Not Seek Re-election as the City's Public Advocate". New York Times. p. A28. Retrieved January 2, 2019.
  12. ^ Chen, David W.; Barbaro, Michael (November 3, 2019). "Bloomberg Wins 3rd Term as Mayor in Unexpectedly Close Race". New York Times. p. A1. Retrieved January 2, 2019.
  13. ^ Barbaro, Michael; Chen, David W. (November 6, 2013). "De Blasio Is Elected New York City Mayor in Landslide; Christie Coasts To 2nd Term as Governor". New York Times. p. A1. Retrieved January 2, 2019.
  14. ^ Powell, Michael (November 7, 2013). "In New York City's Sharp Left Turn, Questions of Just How Far". New York Times. p. A29. Retrieved January 2, 2019.
  15. ^ Neuman, William; Goodman, J. David (November 8, 2017). "De Blasio Coasts to Re-election, as Second-Term Challenges Await". New York Times. p. A1. Retrieved January 2, 2019.
  16. ^ Mays, Jeffrey C. (November 7, 2018). "Breaking Barriers, Letitia James Is Elected New York Attorney General". New York Times. p. A28. Retrieved January 2, 2019.
  17. ^ a b Goodman, J. David (December 31, 2018). "2 of New York's Most Influential Offices Are About to Be Held by One Person". New York Times. p. A17. Retrieved January 2, 2019.
  18. ^ Mays, Jeffery C. (February 26, 2019). "Jumaane Williams Wins Public Advocate Race in New York City". New York Times. p. A1. Retrieved February 26, 2019.

External links edit