New York Daily News Heroes and villains: Naming the names of NYC Council members who do the right thing on lulus, and those who don't by Editorial
Summer brings the Daily News’ semi-annual ritual of shaming hypocrites on the City Council and of noting those who are true to their word.
Twice a year, the speaker doles out bonuses to members as rewards for obeisance. The Council justifies the payments, known as lulus, by calling them compensation for added committee duties that supplements the standard annual salary of $112,500.
Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito decides who gets how much, placing her in the position of, in effect, legally buying votes. The practice is unknown in federal, state and local legislatures across the country — although it’s a way of life and graft in Albany.
Eleven of the 51 members refuse the money on the principle that all lawmakers should be paid the same, as is the case in Congress for everyone from the least to the most senior.
Here are the local heroes: Jimmy Van Bramer of Queens, who turns back $20,000 yearly; Brad Lander from Brooklyn and Dan Garodnick of Manhattan, who say no to $15,000 each; and Rory Lancman of Queens, Alan Maisel, Carlos Menchaca and Mark Treyger of Brooklyn, Andy Cohen of the Bronx, Ben Kallos, Mark Levine and Helen Rosenthal of Manhattan, all of whom relinquish $8,000.
Despite having told this Editorial Board or the good-government group Citizens Union that lulus should be limited only to the top leadership, six members pocket the money: Corey Johnson and Ydanis Rodriguez of Manhattan, Daneek Miller, Danny Dromm and Paul Vallone of Queens and Vinny Gentile of Brooklyn.
Seventeen supposed reformers take the money and claim without proof to donate it to charity: From Brooklyn, Robert Cornegy, David Greenfield, Antonio Reynoso, Darlene Mealy, Mathieu Eugene, Rafael Espinal, Chaim Deutsch and Inez Barron. From Queens, Costa Constantinides, Julissa Ferreras, Peter Koo, Karen Koslowitz and Eric Ulrich. From the Bronx, Fernando Cabrera and Ritchie Torres. From Staten Island, Debi Rose. From Manhattan, Inez Dickens.
The rest of the Council makes no bones about grabbing the cash even as they cheapen their offices.