Queens Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer was named new majority leader and the Cultural Affairs Committee chair.
“I am deeply honored to have been elected by Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and my colleagues to be the new majority leader of the City Council,” Van Bramer said. “It has always been my goal to play a meaningful leadership role in this new, progressive council.”
Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras, who played a key role in securing the Willets Point development and a community benefits package with the expansion of the USTA, will now chair the Finance Committee and be the first woman and person of color to do so.
“This momentous appointment marks an exciting milestone not only for myself and my colleagues in government, but for all New Yorkers, all people of color and all young girls who never before thought that they can grow up and shatter glass ceilings,” Ferreras said.
Her appointment wasn't without controversy though, as she was immediately criticized for her part in then-State Senator Hiram Monserrate's funneling of money from a nonprofit he founded to fund a campaign. Ferreras headed the board of directors of the nonprofit when the embezzlement occurred.
Ferreras shrugged off the old allegations, noting that an investigation absolved her of any wrongdoing. Monserrate was sent to jail.
Former P.S. 199 teacher and Councilman Daniel Dromm was elected to chair the Education Committee.
“Education has always been my passion, and it’s what got me involved in politics in the first place,” Dromm said. “The communities I serve have consistently expressed that quality public education is a top concern.”
Councilman Eric Ulrich was assigned to chair the Veterans Committee.Meanwhile, Brooklyn Councilman Stephen Levin was appointed to chair the General Welfare Committee, and praised the speaker and her efforts at creating a new era in city politics.
“The process of selecting committees and leadership at the City Council has been more transparent, inclusive, and in the interest of serving the people of our city than ever before thanks to Speaker Mark-Viverito,” Levin said. “This council leadership and its committees reflect the diversity and values of New York City.”