Some City Council committee meetings could get a little awkward
Feb 05, 2014 | 1385 views | 0 0 comments | 36 36 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A photo posted to Facebook of the meeting of the Queens delegation. Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (far left, seated) looks like something might have upset him, and that something is noticeably absent from the photo.
A photo posted to Facebook of the meeting of the Queens delegation. Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (far left, seated) looks like something might have upset him, and that something is noticeably absent from the photo.
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Long before Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito was elected speaker of the City Council, she was known as that woman who wouldn't recite the Pledge of Allegiance before council meetings.

That didn't go unnoticed when she first threw her hat in the ring for the post, and Councilman Eric Ulrich of Queens said that he would never vote for Mark-Viverito for that very reason. In the end, he reneged on that promise and did indeed vote for her.

The flip-flop brought Ulrich a lot of criticism from a not necessarily unlikely, but a bit surprising group: veterans. We here at Pol Position – hey some people care about keeping us in the loop! - were cc'ed on a string of emails from various veteran's groups discussing Ulrich's decision and how they might hold him accountable for it in the future.

Now, in a bit of delicious irony, Ulrich was appointed by the speaker to head up the council's Veteran's Committee, so now Ulrich will be holding hearings and providing oversight on the issues that matter most to the very people that were so upset with him for voting for Mark-Viverito in the first place.

Awkward!

But Ulrich isn't the only councilman whose committee assignment is going to put him in an interesting position. Last week, Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who chairs the Cultural Affairs and Libraries Committee, announced last week that his committee would look into reports of lavish spending by Queens Library President Thomas Galante during his office makeover, including a reported private teak smoking deck.

That in and of itself wouldn't be too unusual, except that before Van Bramer was elected to the City Council, he spent about a decade as chief external affairs officer for the library under Galante. So now Van Bramer is going to be investigating his own boss.

Of course, that might present a bit of a conflict of interest, a fact that didn't go unnoticed by Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley during a meeting of the Queens delegation at the office of Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz in Forest Hills last week, according to a report in the Daily News.

Such an insinuation reportedly infuriated Van Bramer, who apparently blew his top. But we know the day Galante goes to testify might be the first time we here at Pol Position have ever paid attention to a hearing of the Cultural Affairs and Libraries Committee.

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