New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Good Government

As founder of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wikilaw.org/&quot; target="_BLANK"><strong>WikiLaw.org</strong></a>, I believe that the Government and its body of law should be&nbsp;<strong>transparent</strong>&nbsp;for the people it governs. As founder of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.votersearch.org/&quot; target="_BLANK"><strong>VoterSearch.org</strong></a>, I believe that protecting your right to vote is essential to an&nbsp;<strong>accountable</strong>&nbsp;government. As former Co-Chair of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cb8m.com/&quot; target="_BLANK"><strong>Community Board 8</strong></a>'s Communication Committee, I worked to&nbsp;<strong>open</strong>&nbsp;the community board by announcing<a href="http://www.mbpo.org/free_details.aspid=64&quot; target="_BLANK"><strong>community board membership applications</strong></a>&nbsp;and ensuring they were widely available at meetings. I have continued my work with&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cb8m.com/&quot; target="_BLANK"><strong>Community Board 8</strong></a>'s Communication Committee and we have made its television show "<a href="http://cb8mspeaks.blip.tv/&quot; target="_BLANK"><strong>Community Board 8 Speaks</strong></a>" available online.<br><br>As your City Council member I will continue the work of making City Hall&nbsp;<strong>transparent</strong>&nbsp;by making its business available online through the web, PDF, podcast, and YouTube like videos. I will&nbsp;<strong>open</strong>City Hall by creating NYC.OpenLegislation.org, a local version of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.opencongress.org/&quot; target="_BLANK"><strong>OpenCongress.org</strong></a>, where anyone will be able to share their views on all business, in support of the mission of the<a href="http://www.participatorypolitics.org/&quot; target="_BLANK"><strong>Participatory Politics Foundation</strong></a>. City Hall will become&nbsp;<strong>accountable</strong>&nbsp;to you the people as NYC.OpenLegislation.org, will let you track business before City Hall and how your representative voted on issues of importance to you.

City and State The 2021 Nonprofit Power 100 by City and State

The 2021 Nonprofit Power 100

17. Ben Kallos

Chair, New York City Council Committee on Contracts

Ben Kallos 

Ben Kallos ( Jeff Reed for the New York City Council )

New York City Council Member Ben Kallos has put a spotlight on the challenges nonprofits face as chair of the Council’s Committee on Contracts. One of his priorities this past year has been pushing the city to restore funding to its Indirect Cost Rate initiative, which aimed to help human services organizations cover administrative and overhead costs. The Upper East Side elected official is now running to serve as Manhattan borough president.

New York County Politics Kallos Introduces Legislation to Mandate Public Posting of City Jobs by William Engle

Kallos Introduces Legislation to Mandate Public Posting of City Jobs

Have you ever wanted to work in city government? If so, Councilmember Ben Kallos (D-Yorkville, Lenox Hill) has some good news; he has introduced a bill to make it far easier for you to find opportunities.

Today, Kallos introduced legislation that would require the city government to notify the public about any new job position or vacancy. The job posting would have to stay up for at least 14 days before the agency started interviewing candidates.

Section 2604(b) (3) of the New York City Charter bans City employees from leveraging their position for personal gain or influencing the hiring of close relatives or peers. However, some City agencies – particularly the New York Board of Elections (BOE)- have circumvented this law by keeping new opportunities hidden from the public, ensuring that their friends and relatives will be the first to apply.

New York Times article from last October highlighted just how rampant cronyism and nepotism are within the BOE. It pointed out, among other things, that the administrative manager is the wife of a councilmember, and the official overseeing voter registration in the City is the mother of a former representative.

New York Daily News Manhattan lawmaker wants more thorough data on NYPD arrests by Shant Shahrigian

Manhattan lawmaker wants more thorough data on NYPD arrests

Councilman Ben Kallos plans to introduce a bill requiring the NYPD to include all crimes in its weekly updates of the CompStat website, which currently maps the “seven major” crimes like murder and rape, along with a handful of other types of illegality.

“Whether it is the ongoing war on drugs only happening in certain communities or just other types of overpolicing, it would be helpful for folks to see that on a map and be able to see that happening in real time,” the Upper East Side Democrat told the Daily News on Wednesday.

New York Daily News NYC would share meeting info via new app, under bill from Manhattan lawmaker by Shant Shahrigian

NYC would share meeting info via new app, under bill from Manhattan lawmaker

You can’t fight City Hall, but it’s good to know what they’re doing from time to time.

Under a forthcoming bill from Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan), the city would be required to do a better job sharing info about future meetings and city business.

The legislation, set to be introduced Thursday, would make the city create an app to publish timely information about every public meeting held by municipal government entities.

The bill also mandates a standard format for the presentation of the info on the app and on city government websites.

“I want to put government in people’s pockets in a good way with an app that will tell you what’s happening and when you need to make your voice heard, so you get the city you want,” Kallos told the Daily News on Tuesday.

NYC Council Member Ben Kallos (Alec Tabak for New York Daily News)

A task force would be convened to come up with a concept to display meeting info on the app and city websites, according to Kallos.

He said by using open-source software for the app, the city could produce the technology cost-free.

New Yorkers who want to get involved with their communities are often in the dark about things like monthly community council meetings at local precincts and how to register to testify at City Council hearings, Kallos said.

“Ever since this election, people keep stopping me in the street asking me how they can get more involved in government,” the councilman said. “That’s a feature, not a bug. I think government is deliberate in making it difficult for people to get involved.”

New York Daily News NYC Council bill would raise wages for human services workers by Shant Shahrigan

NYC Council bill would raise wages for human services workers

Nonprofits that get city contracts to provide human services would have to give their employees raises, under a bill set to be introduced in the City Council on Thursday.

The legislation would help facilitate a “worker-led recovery” from the economic ravages of the coronavirus pandemic, said Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan), the bill’s prime sponsor.

New York Daily News P.C. Richard & Son says City Hall should be in the hot seat for their ‘Get Cool NYC’ program by Rich Calder

P.C. Richard & Son says City Hall should be in the hot seat for their ‘Get Cool NYC’ program

City officials claim P.C. Richard & Son failed to live up to its longtime slogan, “Richard IS Reliable,” by abruptly reneging on a nearly $10 million “emergency” contract in June to both supply and install 30,000 air conditioners in homes of low-income New Yorkers at least 60 years old by late July.

“P.C. Richard advertises itself as being reliable, but New York City couldn’t rely on them in our time of need,” quipped Ben Kallos, Manhattan NYC Councilman who chairs the Committee on Contracts.

However, company officials told the Daily News the deal went sour after just two weeks once P.C. Richard realized it could only install about 125 a day because most of the information city agencies provided for scheduling work was wrong and led to big delays. They claim the misinformation included providing the chain with faulty addresses and phone numbers for residents getting the units as well as assigning air conditioner models to homes that were not compatible.

New York Post Powerful NYC Democrat demands Board of Elections overhaul after ‘total collapse’ by Nolan Hicks Bernadette Hogan

Powerful NYC Democrat demands Board of Elections overhaul after ‘total collapse’

Thousands of New Yorkers were forced to go to the polls after not receiving their requested ballots, while thousands of more votes were discarded because the Post Office failed to postmark them or because voters failed to sign the correct portion of a confusingly-designed ballot envelope.

“It is the party chairs for the Democratic and Republican Parties that have filled the Board of Elections with patronage to the point where it can no longer function,” said Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan), who sits on the committee that oversees the embattled state-sanctioned agency.

“The party hacks rule and it has to end,” Kallos said. “They think there’s nothing anyone can do about it and it has to end.”

The City Board of Elections claimed that it has an “excellent working relationship” with its state regulators and that the Kellner snub was nothing more than a scheduling conflict.

Gothamist A Day Of Virtual Action To Push Online Voter Registration Amid Coronavirus Outbreak by Brigid Bergin

A Day Of Virtual Action To Push Online Voter Registration Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

The state bill grew out of a push for an online voter registration system here in New York City, led by City Councilmember Ben Kallos.  He said three years ago that he wanted to make registering to vote as easy as calling an Uber. His bill passed the Council and was signed into law by Mayor de Blasio in 2017. But the New York City Board of Elections has indicated it would not process the forms completed online through a system built by the New York City Campaign Finance Board, unless it is required by a change in state law. 

Kallos said it’s time for the state to act, not just to make registering to vote easier, but to reduce the risk to public health. 

“While we're telling everyone to just stay home, it's wrong to still require people to print out a voter registration form, fill it out by hand, get a postage stamp, go to a post office, expose themselves to mail it, when we could just as easily do it online,” he said. “And then, similarly, it's a little bit crazy that we would require very low-wage workers at the Board of Elections, often making minimum wage, to go in at a time like this and literally transcribe what people hand write into a computer, when we could just skip the step...let people enter it from home and keep everybody safe during the process.”