New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

2019 Charter Revision Commission

On Election Day, November 5, 2019, New York City residents will get a chance to once again amend the City’s Charter by voting on ballot questions. 
Over the past year I have proposed 72 recommendations for amendments to the Charter, 16 of which were included in the City Council Report to the 2019 New York City Charter Revision Commission, with 9 of my recommendation included in whole or in part by the Preliminary Staff Report. In May 9, I submitted a final fifteen recommendations on ethics, city budget, land use, elections and redistricting, and empowering the offices of the Public Advocate and Borough President. You can see for yourself how much was included in all five of the final ballot questions.


On November 5, 2019, New Yorkers will have a chance to amend our Charter — the City’s constitution — by voting on ballot proposals covering a wide variety of issues, from elections to police accountability. This fall, you can vote on that.


These proposed amendments would:

  • Establish ranked choice voting in primary and special elections for the offices of Mayor,Public Advocate, Comptroller, Borough President, and Council Member. Up to 5 candidates could be ranked. This would apply to primary and special elections on or after January 1, 2021.
  • Extend the time to hold Special Elections after a City office is left vacant to 80 days to accommodate State and federal laws relating to military voting and early voting.
  • Amend the timeline for the redistricting of Council districts to ensure that boundaries are established in a timely manner for 2023 primary Council elections.


These proposed amendments would:

  • Amend the Structure of the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) by adding two members, one from the Public Advocate and a joint appointment by the Mayor and the Council (who would also serve as Chair), and provide that the Council directly appoint its members to the Board.
  • Require the Police Commissioner to provide a detailed explanation to the CCRB when deciding to impose discipline on an officer which differs from the level of discipline recommended by either the CCRB or the NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Trials.
  • Allow the CCRB board to delegate its subpoena power to its Executive Director.
  • Allow the CCRB to investigate potentially false official statements made by an officer it is investigating and to recommend discipline, if appropriate.
  • Provide a minimum budget to CCRB sufficient to fund CCRB staff equal to 0.65% of the number of uniformed police officers, unless the Mayor determines that fiscal necessity requires a lower budget.


These proposed amendments would:

  • Extend the Post-Employment Appearance Ban for Elected Officials and certain Senior Appointed Officials from one year to two years for employees/officials who leave City service on or after January 1, 2022.
  • Amend the structure of the Conflicts of Interest Board (COIB) by replacing two members now appointed by the Mayor with one member appointed by the Comptroller and one appointed by the Public Advocate; and updating quorum requirements.
  • Limit the political activity of COIB board members by prohibiting participation in campaigns for local elected offices, and reducing the maximum amount of money that they can contribute to the amounts that candidates can receive from those doing business with the City ($400 or less, depending on the office).
  • Require that the Citywide M/WBE Director report directly to the Mayor and be supported by a mayoral office of M/WBEs.
  • Require advice and consent by the City Council for the Mayor’s appointment of the Corporation Counsel.


These proposed amendments would:

  • Allow the City to use a “rainy day fund” to save money for use in future years, such as for addressing unexpected financial hardships. Changes to State law will also be needed for this rainy day fund to be usable.
  • Set guaranteed minimum budgets for the Public Advocate and Borough Presidents at or above their respective Fiscal Year 2020 budgets, adjusted in future fiscal years by the lower of inflation or the percentage change in the City’s total expense budget (excluding certain components), unless the Mayor determines that fiscal necessity requires a lower budget.
  • Require the Mayor to submit the revenue estimate to the City Council by April 26(instead of June 5). The Mayor would be able to update the fiscal estimate after that date, but if the update will be submitted after May 25, the Mayor must explain why the updated estimate was fiscally necessary.
  • Require the Mayor to submit budget modifications to the Council within 30 days after the submission of any periodic update the City’s financial plan during the year.


These proposed amendments would

  • Provide a ULURP Pre-Certification Notice Period by requiring the Department of City Planning to transmit a detailed project summary of ULURP applications to the affected Community Board, Borough President, and Borough Board at least 30 days before the application is certified for public review, and to post that summary on its website.
  • Provide Community Boards with additional time to review ULURP applications certified for public review by the Department of City Planning between June 1 and July 15, from the current 60 day review period to 90 days for applications certified in June, and to 75 days for applications certified between July 1 and July 15

See the final report, the questions as they will appear on the ballot, abstracts explaining the questions, and a fact sheet from the Charter Revision Commission and remember that to be eligible to vote you must be registered to vote on or before Friday October 11, 2019 and remember to flip the ballot and vote on Tuesday, November 5, 2019.

Get involved to make your voice heard.

Get monthly updates with the information you need to make a difference.