By Patrick Donachie
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has nominated two new members to the board of trustees of the City University of New York, and both nominations are familiar names in the world of New York mayoral politics.
In a statement released last Friday, Cuomo announced he had nominated former City Comptroller and 2009 mayoral candidate Bill Thompson for the role of the board’s chairman. Thompson would replace Benno Schmidt, who was the chair of the board for the past 13 years.
Cuomo also nominated Fernando Ferrer to the board. Ferrer was the borough president of the Bronx from 1987 to 2001. He also ran for the Democratic mayoral nomination in 2001, losing narrowly to former Public Advocate Mark Green, who was subsequently bested by Michael Bloomberg in the general election.
“Bill brings a tremendous diversity of experience to this role – in both the public and private sectors, and as a former president of the New York City Board of Education. Fernando is eminently qualified from his work serving the people of New York, and I believe he will also be a strong addition to CUNY,” Cuomo said. “The world-class education that CUNY provides is integral to students across New York City and the surrounding communities, and I am confident that the system will continue to reach new heights under Bill’s and Fernando’s leadership.”
The two nominations come during a tumultuous period for CUNY and Cuomo’s relationship with the institution. Earlier this year, Cuomo suggested in his proposed budget that New York City should pay $485 million into CUNY for the 2016-2017 fiscal year, which would equal about 30 percent of the total CUNY budget. Cuomo eventually relented on the idea in late March, and said the city’s CUNY budget would not increase. CUNY’s faculty and staff have been working without a contract for the past six years, however.
The nominations will require confirmation by the state Senate, according to the governor’s office.
Reach reporter Patrick Donachie by e-mail at pdona