By Mark Hallum
Three City Council members from Queens were chosen to lead some of the most important committees in local government following the election of Corey Johnson (D-Manhattan) as speaker.
Councilman I. Daneek Miller (D-Jamaica), re-appointed as chairman of the Civil Service and Labor Committee, said his committee has revitalized a faltering public-service job market under his leadership.
Years of decline, he said, were followed by a 20 percent increase in the municipal workforce after a campaign to educate people in the city on the benefits of working in the public sector.
“When I took office in 2014, a full one-third of the city’s workforce was eligible for retirement within a few years,” Miller said. “We engaged our partners in government and labor to provide Civil Service 101 workshops throughout the city. Additionally, the opening of a new testing center in Queens, as well as the streamlining of testing processes, has significantly improved the civil service exam experience for everyone. Through the enactment of worker retention and protection laws, we were able to save thousands of jobs across several industries in the city, including hotel workers, bus drivers and grocery workers.
“With the unqualified support of this administration, we championed the passage of an ambitious Paid Sick Leave provision that enabled working families to no longer choose between earning a living and caring for either themselves or a loved one.”
Miller was also appointed to the Committees on Transportation, Land Use, Public Safety, and Immigration and the Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting and Maritime Uses.
Paul Vallone (D-Bayside) became chairman of the Committee on Economic Development, which oversees the Department of Small Business Services and the Economic Development Corporation.
“It is a great honor to oversee a committee that has played a substantial and integral role in the New York City budget,” Vallone said. “I look forward to working with our new speaker and my fellow colleagues to sculpt NYCEDC’s vision to drive growth in our city and improve our quality of life.
“I’m also proud that the Queens delegation is once again united and strongly represented in our speaker’s vision for the upcoming legislative session. This will be a wonderful new opportunity for District 19 to finally have a seat at the table on true economic development for the City of New York.”
Vallone also serves on the Committees on Aging, Veterans, For-Hire Vehicles, and Public Safety as well as Sanitation and Solid Waste Management.
Greenspace champion Barry Grodenchik (D-Oakland Gardens) was appointed as chairman of the Committee on Parks and Recreation and touted his district’s expanse of parkland.
“As a lifelong New Yorker who grew up in city parks and the current representative of a district with over a thousand acres of parkland, I welcome the opportunity to work to improve the parks that are vital to every community in the city,” Grodenchik said. “I thank Speaker Corey Johnson for his support and look forward to working with my colleagues on the committee as well as with Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver and his staff.”
Parkland accounts for about 14 percent of the city, according to Grodenchik.
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall