UFT President Mulgrew: Allies needed more than ever

UFT President Michael Mulgrew (second from right) is joined on stage by (from left) City Council Finance Committee Chair Danny Dromm, Speaker Corey Johnson and Education Committee Chair Mark Treyger. (Photo: Jonathan Fickies)

By Joe Loverde

Published by the United Federation of Teachers on February 1, 2018

The Supreme Court ruling in the Janus case is looming. The federal tax overhaul is a bitter pill for New York State. At times like these, UFT President Michael Mulgrew told the Delegate Assembly on Jan. 17, the union needs politicians in office who understand its members’ needs and are willing to fight for public schools.

“We need our allies more than ever,” he said.

A few minutes later, three of those allies — new City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, new Council Finance Committee Chair Danny Dromm and new Council Education Committee Chair Mark Treyger — were introduced to rousing applause.

“We have a City Council that understands what we do and works with us hand in hand,” Mulgrew told the delegates who packed Shanker Hall in Manhattan for the first meeting of the new year. “And these three are some of the best partners you can have.”

Johnson, who grew up in a union household and credited Mulgrew with helping him become elected speaker, called the UFT “a strong, progressive, well-organized union that serves children every day to make this city better — in good times and in bad.”

Johnson called the Council threesome “a dream team” for the union and public education.

Dromm, a teacher from 1984 to 2009 at PS 199 in Queens where he served as chapter leader, told delegates that the UFT “has created change in this city.” When he was a chapter leader, Dromm said, “Members would ask what politics has to do with education. I think the three of us standing here today shows what it means, and we will continue to fight in solidarity with the United Federation of Teachers.”

Treyger, who was first elected to the Council in 2013, started as a paraprofessional and later became a teacher and delegate at New Utrecht HS in Brooklyn. He told the delegates, “When it comes time to make budget decisions, that’s when you find out who your friends are.”

Mulgrew said having Gov. Andrew Cuomo as a partner — an alliance which took some work — has also paid dividends for UFT members. Mulgrew noted that Cuomo was trying to shield New Yorkers from some of the harm of the loss of state income tax deductions. Of the 3 percent increase in state education aid in the governor’s proposed budget despite the state’s looming deficit, Mulgrew said he was “proud that New York State is spending more than any state on public education. That’s the way it should be.”

The UFT president pointed out the loudest applause during Cuomo’s budget speech came when the governor said New York “will be the state that protects workers and unions.”

Read more here.

Dromm Elected Council Finance Chair

 

 


I am honored to have been elected by my colleagues to serve as the next NYC Council Finance Committee Chairperson.

As Finance Committee Chairperson, I have oversight over NYC’s $86 billion dollar budget.  Additionally, my committee has jurisdiction over the city’s Banking Commission, Department of Design and Construction, Department of Finance, Independent Budget Office, and Office of the Comptroller, as well as reviewing and modifying the City Budget and municipal fiscal policy and revenue from any additional sources.

Being Finance Committee Chairperson gives me the opportunity to set priorities for the city using the vast resources that are available to us.  I intend to use this position to move a progressive budget forward working closely with Speaker Corey Johnson who I thank for giving me this opportunity to serve.

Sincerely,

 Daniel Dromm
NYC Council Member
25th District

NY Daily News: Speaker Corey Johnson fills leadership positions, awards top spots to Democrats who helped him

 

Corey Johnson speaks at a press conference on Jan. 5, 2018. (JEFFERSON SIEGEL/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)

By Erin Durkin

Originally published by the New York Daily News on Thursday, January 11, 2018

New City Council Speaker Corey Johnson doled out plum committee posts Thursday — awarding powerful posts to allies of the county Democratic parties that helped him get the top job.

Queens and Brooklyn Democrats claimed some of the top spots — with Danny Dromm (D-Queens) tapped to lead the powerful finance committee, and Rafael Salamanca (D-Bronx) taking over as land use chair.

Conspicuously overlooked were two veteran Brooklyn progressives — Councilmen Jumaane Williams and Brad Lander, who did not get committee chairmanships.

“There was no vindictiveness. There was none. Zero. I tried to help as many people as possible,” Johnson said.

“Not everyone of course got exactly what they wanted, but I was as flexible as humanly possible to try to make everyone happy,” he said. “Whether you supported me or not, you’re going to be respected.”

The Council approved the assignments by a vote of 49-0 Thursday.

A deal struck by the leaders of the Queens and Bronx Democratic parties last month secured the necessary votes for Johnson to win the speaker’s race over seven other candidates.

There’s no longer cash at stake in the committee jockeying — since Council members voted in 2016 to give themselves a raise to $148,500 a year, and eliminate the “lulus” of $5,000 to $20,000 that used to go to committee chairs.

Councilman Danny Dromm speaks at a conference in Manhattan.

Councilman Danny Dromm speaks at a conference in Manhattan.  (JEFF BACHNER/FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)

Still, pols prize the committee posts for their influence, and the vast majority of the 51 members were awarded a post.

Bronx Councilman Ritchie Torres will lead a newly-created oversight and investigations committee dedicated to doing probes of city agencies.

Johnson created a new committee dedicated specifically to for-hire vehicles like Uber and Lyft – and gave its chairmanship to Ruben Diaz Sr., who got at least $11,800 in campaign contribution from employees and owners of taxi, limousine and dispatch companies for his election last year. That panel may work on policies like slapping a surcharge on e-hail cars entering Manhattan.

The Council also carved out three separate committees on criminal justice issues – one for criminal justice, one for the justice system, and one for juvenile justice.

Bronx Councilman Andy King was re-appointed to his post as juvenile justice chair despite being under investigation for sexual harassment allegations. Johnson defended the move, saying there will be due process in the case.

Queens Councilman Donovan Richards got the top job on the public safety committee, Mark Treyger of Brooklyn got education, and Mark Levine of Manhattan got the health committee.

Williams, who previously chaired the housing and buildings committee, ran for speaker and objected to the selection of a white candidate for the post. He skipped the vote that elected Johnson speaker, instead traveling to Albany for Gov. Cuomo’s State of the State speech. Williams wasn’t at City Hall Thursday because he was arrested earlier in the day at an immigration protest.

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Councilman Rafael Salamanca is seen on May 26, 2016. (ANTHONY DELMUNDO/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)

Robert Cornegy of Brooklyn, who ran for speaker but later threw his support behind Johnson, will now chair the housing panel.

Lander, who previously ran the rules committee, is a leader of the progressive bloc of Council members that dominated the last Council and engineered the election of former Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, but whose influence has waned more recently as the county parties reclaimed their traditional post as kingmakers.

“I don’t feel in any way overlooked. I feel thrilled,” said Lander, who will keep his job as deputy majority leader for policy, where he said he got the most done over the last four years.

“Obviously people who were on [Johnson’s] team earlier, who were part of helping him become speaker, of course that is reflected in some of the plum positions. It will always be that way under any speaker. It was last term, it was the term before that, it was the term before that, and it is this time too. That’s how politics work.”

The committee on recovery and resiliency, which focused on Hurricane Sandy rebuilding, was eliminated. Another new panel will focus on the city’s hospital system, separate from the regular health committee.

Two Republicans got chairmanships — minority leader Steve Matteo at the helm of the standards and ethics committee, and fellow Staten Island Republican Joe Borelli leading the fire committee.

Read more here.