Northeast Queens Councilwoman Vickie Paladino was the only member of the borough delegation that was not given a committee leadership position announced by Speaker Adrienne Adams at Thursday’s stated meeting. A Paladino spokesman confirmed that the Republican was allowed to attend the meeting in person after she was granted a waiver to the city’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate, which she’s said she doesn’t agree with.
“Council member Paladino does have a waiver and she has been tested, so she is allowed on the grounds,” Adams told reporters on the steps of City Hall.
Her fellow Republican, Councilwoman Joann Ariola, who now represents south Queens, was appointed chair of the Committee on Fire and Emergency Management.
“In light of what has happened in our city over the past few weeks where lives were lost, but more lives were saved due to the outstanding efforts of the Fire Department, NYC’s Department of Emergency Services and the Emergency Management Department, my committee and I will work tirelessly to make sure they have the necessary resources needed to continue saving lives,” Ariola said. “Chairing this important committee will also help me better serve my own district, which consists of historical districts and communities where many of the homes are wood-framed and can easily catch fire.”
Council Majority Whip Selvena Brooks-Powers, who represents the eastern portion of the Rockaways, was appointed as chair of the transportation committee.
“My district is a transit desert, underserved by rail and bus services,” she said. “Our communities truly understand the urgent need for a public transportation network that is reliable, accessible, affordable and safe. As we work with our partners in government and stakeholders, my highest priority is to build a more equitable transportation system for all New Yorkers.”
Forest Hills Councilwoman Lynn Schulman was elected by her colleague to serve as chair of the Health Committee.
“I have dedicated my personal and professional life to health care advocacy and look forward to helping all of my constituents and all New Yorkers access affordable and equitable healthcare,” Schulman said.
Flushing Councilwoman Linda Lee will serve as chair of the Mental Health Committee.
“Pandemic-driven stress, housing insecurity, unemployment and other issues have exacerbated deep-rooted issues in our city, and if we want to bring NYC back following the pandemic, we must acknowledge that these problems are complex, interrelated and require multi-faceted solutions,” Lee said.
Councilwoman Tiffany Cabán will lead the Women and Gender Equity Committee, as the first-ever majority women’s Council gets underway.
“I look forward to working with my colleagues to use this position to provide supports to survivors of gender-based violence, guarantee dignified conditions for workers in traditionally gendered professions, and shift resources and power away from patriarchal systems of violence and punishment,’ Cabán said.
Councilwoman Julie Won was named chair of the Contracts Committee; Councilwoman Nantasha Williams takes over the Civil and Human Rights Committee; Councilman James Gennaro is the new leader of the Committee on the Environment; and Councilwoman Sandra Ung was put in charge of the Governmental Operation Committee.
Councilman Robert Holden was named chair of the Committee on Veterans.
“We can never do enough for our veterans after the service they have performed for us all,” Holden said. “I will work every day to take care of our city’s veterans and make them a priority, coordinating closely with the Department of Veterans’ Services. No one who has served our country in the armed forces should be left behind.”
Jackson Heights Councilman Shekar Krishnan takes over as leader of the Parks and Recreation Committee.
“In this city, where we live affects everything around us, including our access to green space and all the benefits that come with it,” Krishnan said. “As the pandemic has shown us, we must invest in our parks with the same urgency as our subways, our hospitals and our schools. This is especially true for our most vulnerable communities. Our parks are a matter of social justice.”
Finally, Councilman Francisco Moya, who was the last to challenge Adams in the Speaker race last month, was appointed chair of the newly created Subcommittee on COVID Recovery and Resiliency.
“We’ve seen the toll of COVID-19 over the past two years across New York City, and my district was the epicenter. As we continue to be challenged by an ever-evolving pandemic, we need to ensure that federal and state funding are being appropriately directed to protect and provide relief to our most vulnerable communities and neighborhoods,” Moya said. “I am grateful to the Speaker for this opportunity as we work to build a more resilient and equitable city.”