By Jeremy Walsh
Queens City Council members picked up a bevy of committee chairmanships last Thursday as the 2010 legislative year began in earnest.
The Council’s new members got some key slots from Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan).
Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) was awarded the post he desired: chairmanship of the Immigration Committee. Dromm has expressed interest in trying to establish a center in his district to normalize the dealings between day laborers and the contractors who employ them. He also said he would push for improved health care options for immigrants.
“I fully intend to use every power of this committee to shine the light on issues that are important,” he said at a news conference Monday with a host of immigrant advocacy organizations.
Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills) became chairwoman of Consumer Affairs, reprising a role she held from 1994 until the end of her previous tenure in the Council.
“She’s honored and grateful to chair the Consumer Affairs Committee again,” Koslowitz spokesman Greg Lavine said. “It’s a committee that truly affects people’s lives on a day-to-day level, and a lot of great work can be done to fight for the interests of everyday New Yorkers and make their lives better.”
Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) won the top spot on the Cultural Affairs, Libraries, Intergroup and International Relations Committee, an understandable appointment given his previous career as the Queens Library’s external affairs director.
“I think we want to make sure that all cultural institutions, both large and small, get the attention and all of the resources that we can possibly provide them,” he said.
Four Queens incumbents also climbed the ladder at City Hall.
Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans), formerly chairman of the Consumer Affairs Committee, ascended to the Land Use Committee chairmanship, while Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village) was appointed to lead the Fire and Criminal Justice Committee. Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras (D-East Elmhurst) took over chairmanship of the Women’s Issues Committee from outgoing Councilwoman Helen Sears.
Crowley used her membership on the police and fire committee last year to rail against staffing cuts at firehouses around the city and to criticize the mayor’s new 911 call-taking system after a fatal fire in Woodside.
“I believe that the Committee on Fire and Criminal Justice is one of the most important committees with regards to the safety and protection of all New Yorkers, and it is an honor to serve as chair,” she said in a statement.
Councilman James Sanders (D-Laurelton) ascended to chair the Civil Service and Labor Committee.
“I look forward to working with Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the unions for the betterment of New York City,” he said in a statement.
Each chairmanship comes with a $10,000 stipend.
Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.