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Given historically quick timeline, expansive scope of Commission’s work, and lack of public input, Commission’s proposals must wait until next year’s ballot 

NEW YORK, NY (06/25/2024) — Yesterday, the New York City Charter Review Commission issued its preliminary report on potential changes to the City’s charter. In response, Susan Lerner, Executive Director of Common Cause New York and Betsy Gotbaum, Executive Director of Citizens Union, issued the following statement about the Commission’s process and need to provide greater opportunity for public input:

“The Charter revision process is a powerful and important avenue for New York City to enact meaningful change. Unfortunately, this Commission is operating on a historically rushed timeline, doing a disservice to New Yorkers who will be impacted by its work and undermining trust in any final recommendations. While we are encouraged to see the Commission recommend against major changes to the City’s Charter regarding city elections without more time and further review, we continue to urge the Commission to delay putting any substantive proposals on the ballot this November. Instead, we urge the Commission to establish a better procedure for future Charter revisions that sets a minimum time before the Commission can place a measure before the voters, allowing the Commission time to thoughtfully consider issues and providing the public with greater opportunity to consider any changes and make their voice heard before proposals are finalized. New Yorkers deserve to have confidence that government is working for them, and that requires a commitment to transparency and access.”


In May, New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced the creation of a Charter Revision Commission to consider changes to the City’s existing laws. Despite the Commission’s review of the entire Charter, unlike previous Commissions, this one will operate for just two months before a final recommendation is put to voters.

Every Commission in the last 20 years operated for between 4 to 12 months. This Commission will operate for just two months during the summer and a primary election season, making it harder to get the public’s attention. Only Mayor Giuliani’s three Commissions, and Mayor Bloomberg’s 2002 Commission, were as short as the current Commission.

Previous Charter Review Commissions have also taken their time putting proposals on the ballot. The most recent Commission, which was convened by Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2021, voted on proposals eleven months before they were put on the 2022 ballot.

During the Commission’s public hearings, Common Cause New York, Citizens Union, and many other organizations repeatedly testified that the Commission’s rushed process and inaccessible opportunities for public feedback were insufficient for everyday New Yorkers. The organizations called on the Commission to delay its progress and ensure that any proposals put before voters are done so after this November’s elections so that voters can have time to adequately review the questions they are asked to vote on.

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