New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

New York Daily News City Council Green-Lights Three New Board of Elections Commissioners by Celeste Katz

City Council Green-Lights Three New Board of Elections Commissioners

It's a done deal: City Council Democrats have voted to approve the appointments of three new commissioners to the Board of Elections.

The vote, conducted in private Thursday, followed a lengthy open hearing of the Council's Rules Committee at which the nominees, all Democrats, answered questions the previous day.

Alan Schulkin, currently the Board's Manhattan deputy chief clerk, will replace former Commissioner Gregory Soumas on the 10-member bipartisan Board.

John Flateau, a CUNY professor and administrator, will represent Brooklyn, replacing Julie Dent.

Attorney Bianka Perez will take the Bronx seat previously held by Naomi Barrera.

Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan), who was among those who grilled the nominees at City Hall and had pushed for a transparent selection process, noted in a statement that the new commissioners had publicly agreed to pursue anti-nepotism reforms at the oft-criticized agency.

"All of this progress was only made possible by a public hearing of the Rules Committee under the leadership of Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and its Chair Brad Lander," Kallos said.

"Their steady support for reform of the Board of Elections has already enabled key progress, and I look forward to working with the Commissioners as partners in getting the Board of Elections running properly."

Mark-Viverito spokesman Eric Koch said there were no "nay" votes cast Thursday, although there may have been some abstentions.

The Council got involved in the selection of the new commissioners -- to varying degrees in the different boroughs -- in a repeat of a Republican power play to take control of three GOP Board appointments last year.

The new commissioners' terms run through 2016. Depending on how many meetings are held, each commissioner can make a maximum of $30,000 annually.


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