Saturday, November 20, 2010

Karen Koslowitz Will Get Council’s Economic Development Chair by Chris Bragg - City tHall News

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Queens Council Member Karen Koslowitz will take over the Economic Development Committee chairmanship, left vacant by the death of Tom White in August, two sources with direct knowledge of the situation confirmed.

Koslowitz currently serves as chair of the Consumer Affairs committee, which is likely to be filled by Manhattan Council Member Dan Garodnick, one of the sources said.

Koslowitz’s office declined comment. Garodnick did not return requests for comment. Nor did the speaker’s office.

The Economic Development committee, once one of the Council’s more prominent, saw less action in recent years because of White’s health issues and poor attendance record. The Economic Development chairmanship carries a $10,000 lulu, the same as the Consumer Affair’s Committee Koslowitz is leaving.

The Technology Committee also carries a $10,000 lulu, though Garodnick refused it earlier this year.

Consumer Affairs would be a step up for the Manhattan lawmaker. Many had expected Garonick to land a higher-profile committee than Technology last January when chairmanships were doled out.

Council Member Gale Brewer, the former Technology chair, who co-chairs the Manhattan delegation with Garodnick, said she had not heard whether he was taking the Consumer Affairs chairmanship. Brewer said she hopes whoever would take over the Technology seat, assuming Garodnick does not remain there, would continue the improvements they helped bring to the committee's operations in recent years.

“I hope it would be somebody who is intelligent and competent with technology, because that kind of background is needed to lead that committee,” she said. “Certainly, Dan is somebody who had that.”

Though several Council members expressed interest in the Economic Development gavel, the seat was reserved for a member from Queens under the deal that made Quinn speaker in 2006, sources with knowledge of the situation said.

A lack of interest in the chairmanship from some of the senior members in the delegation had led to speculation that Ruben Wills, who was just elected to fill White’s seat, might chair the committee.

But a source close to Wills said he had not been offered the position. Wills is, however, seeking a spot on the committee. Wills, who won his race in a special election and will face re-election next year, is expected to focus on constituent services for the time being, the source said.

Meanwhile, Wills’ political opponents are also continuing to foment controversy about Wills’ potential residency issues, though they appear unlikely to derail his swearing-in.

Koslowitz, in her second stint on the Council after being term-limited out in 2001, is known for her commitment to constituent services, though not necessarily for tough oversight as a committee chair. 

She generally keeps a low profile.

One lobbyist, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Koslowitz was among a several potential choices from Queens who likely would not offer much resistance to Council Speaker Christine Quinn or Mayor Michael Bloomberg in the position.

“They want someone in there who is not going to rock the boat,” the lobbyist said. “I couldn’t think of a better successor to Tom White.”