Yes, there are quite a few out-of-work elected officials this holiday season across Queens and Brooklyn, and now that the dust has settled it's time to start speculating where those who find themselves out of office for the first time in years will be looking for gainful employment.
In Queens, there's actually an opening at Borough Hall for a go-getter with a hands-on knowledge of public policy and PowerPoint. When Karen Kozlowitz was elected to replace Melinda Katz in the City Council, her deputy borough president post suddenly became available. We'd provide you with a detailed job description, but after watching Kozlowitz for the past eight years, we can't really tell you what the deputy borough president is supposed to “do.”
(Although, in all fairness, people around the Ledger/Star Corporate Park have said the same about the Pol Position desk, but we have very serious responsibilities indeed!)
But we're pretty sure that – like us – the deputy borough president has some sort of official duties and responsibilities, and our sources on the inside tell us that Barry Grodenchik has emerged as a frontrunner to replace the outgoing Kozlowitz. You might remember Grodenchik as the one-time assemblyman from Flushing who lost his seat to Jimmy Meng in a 2004 primary. He may have left office, but he never left politics, and worked behind the scenes as a lobbyist and can be regularly spotted around City Hall or at some sort of public hearing or another.
Good luck Barry, and if you get the job, could you tell us exactly what you do? Thanks.
And out in Northeast Queens, the Weprin brothers are trying to pull The Old Switcheroo. When David Weprin decided to leave the City Council to run for comptroller, brother Assemblyman Mark Weprin thought he might like to take David's seat, which he won. However, David lost his bid for comptroller and suddenly found himself on the outside of public office, so what did he do? He decided to make a bid for brother Mark's seat, so if he wins the constituents in that part of the borough won't have to worry about learning a bunch of new names – it will still be Assemblyman Weprin and Councilman Weprin.
And then there is the perennial Pol Position fave: Tony Avella. He lost his bid to become the next mayor of New York City, but the rumor mill is swirling that he is considering running against State Senator Frank Padavan next year. For those of you new to the political scene in northeast Queens, there is very little love lost between these two.
In fact, Avella considered challenging Padavan a few years back, but then reconsidered. He did, however, brag to a Daily News reporter that he was pretty sure Padavan was “scared” of a potential Avella challenge. Then, in a Pol Position exclusive, Padavan told a Forest Hills group that Avella's comments made him mad as hell and that the felt like serving up a knuckle sandwich to Avella.
If Avella does decide to run, get yo' popcorn ready!
And then there's Brooklyn, where there unfortunately isn't too much on the political hot stove, it seems. Bill de Blasio is going to the public advocate's office to try and do something with that post, and everybody else is sitiing around and waiting to see what Democratic Party head Vito Lopez decides to decree. Although Charles Barron has announced that he will challenge Christine Quinn for the speakership of the City Council, which should generate numerous juicy arguments, err, we mean sound bites.
We're not sure, however, if Charles Barron realizes that you get elected to the speakership by getting your peers to vote for you, and we're not sure who on the City Council is going to go out on a limb and support the outspoken (and we use that term very generously) Barron, but we're all for him trying.
In fact, things are so relaxed in Brooklyn right now, we spotted outgoing Councilman David Yassky sporting a pair of faded jeans and sneakers instead of the usual suit and tie at a recent press conference. Life is easy.