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The New York City Charter is the framework for how our city is governed, laying the foundation for how our government operates and the roles and responsibilities of our elected officials and city departments. The City Charter has been revised countless times, and is a living document that reflects the form and priorities of our government over time.

Throughout its history, Citizens Union has supported periodic comprehensive review of the New York City Charter absent a political agenda via the appointment of an independent Charter Revision Commission to ensure that city government is operating effectively, efficiently and in the public’s best interest. We believe that revising the City Charter (whether through a commission or legislative action) should be conducted deliberately and judiciously by engaging a broad spectrum of experts and ordinary New Yorkers.

Citizens Union advised many efforts to revise the Charter and every Chater Revision Commission, and has recommended avenues for shared decision-making, local input, and independent oversight, while maintaining New York City’s strong mayoral form of government. CU’s Charter proposals that have transformed the lives of New Yorkers include the creation of community boards, abolishing the undemocratic Board of Estimate, the expansion of the City Council with increased powers, elections by proportional representation (in the 1930’s) and Ranked Choice Voting (in the 2020’s), empowering the Civilian Complaint Review Board to conduct investigations into police misconduct, strengthening the public campaign finance program, and many others.

Recent Activity – City Charter Revision

 

Citizens Union Responds to Poor Attendance at the First Public Meeting of the Hastily Planned Charter Revision Commission

June 6, 2024 - Citizens Union releases the following statement from Executive Director Betsy Gotbaum following today’s first public meeting of the Charter Review Commission
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Citizens Union urges the City Council not to rush through advice and consent expansion

May 29th, 2024 - Citizens Union submitted a testimony in response to proposed legislation that would amend the City Charter to require the advice and consent of the City Council for 21 commissioner appointments. In the testimony, Citizens Union urges the Council not to rush through this Charter amendment process, and to allow for more time, committee meetings, and public hearings to fully consider the implications of this proposal.
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Citizens Union Announces Positions on a Statewide Ballot Proposal and Three Citywide Ballot Proposals for 2022 General Election

October 24, 2022 - Citizens Union today announced Citizens Union’s recommendations on proposals on the ballot for this fall’s general election. The first proposal will be posed to all New York State voters, and the additional three proposals will only be on the ballots of New York City voters.
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Citizens Union Celebrates Passing of Ranked Choice Voting and Reforms to the Civilian Complaint Review Board

November 5, 2019 - Citizens Union is pleased that New York City voters have embraced reforms to make our city elections more democratic, and increase oversight of the police department.
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Citizens Union Announces Positions On Ballot Proposals For 2019 General Election

October 7, 2019 - Good Government Group Supports Ranked Choice Voting, Increasing Oversight of NYPD, Modifications to the City Budget, and Changes to Land Use Review; Opposes Proposed Changes to Ethics Rule.
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Citizens Union Applauds Charter Revision Commission for Putting Ranked Choice Voting, CCRB Reforms on November Ballot

July 25, 2019 — Citizens Union, a leading good government group committed to fostering accountability, accessibility, and transparency in our government issues the following statement from Executive Director Betsy Gotbaum on the proposals put on the ballot by the Charter Revision Commission.
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2019 CRC – Response to Preliminary Staff Report

May 2019 - Throughout its history, Citizens Union has supported periodic comprehensive review of the New York City Charter absent a political agenda via the appointment of an independent Charter Revision Commission.
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2019 CRC Testimony – Public Advocate

March 18, 2019 - Good evening Chair Benjamin and distinguished members of the New York City Charter Revision Commission. I am Betsy Gotbaum, executive director of Citizens Union and the former New York City Public Advocate from 2002 to 2009. We are happy to see that you are holding a meeting on the Office of Public Advocate, and for giving Citizens Union and I the opportunity to share our recommendations with you.
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2019 CRC Testimony – Police Accountability

March 7, 2019 - Good evening Chair Benjamin and distinguished members of the New York City Charter Revision Commission. My name is Rachel Bloom and I am the Director of Public Policy and Programs at Citizens Union. We thank you for holding this meeting on police accountability, and for giving Citizens Union the opportunity to publicly share our recommendations with you.
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2018 CRC Testimony – Community Boards

June 19, 2018 - Good afternoon Chair Perales and distinguished members of the New York City Charter Revision Commission. My name is Rachel Bloom and I am the Director of Public Policy and Programs at Citizens Union. We thank you for inviting us here today and giving Citizens Union the opportunity to publicly share our recommendations on community board reforms with you.
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2018 CRC Testimony – Campaign Finance

June 14 2018 - Good afternoon Chair Perales and distinguished members of the New York City Charter Revision Commission. My name is Rachel Bloom and I am the Director of Public Policy and Programs at Citizens Union. We thank you for inviting us here today and giving Citizens Union the opportunity to publicly share our recommendations on campaign finance with you.
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2018 CRC Testimony – Hearing

May 7, 2018 - Good evening Chair Perales and distinguished members of the New York City Charter Revision Commission. My name is Rachel Bloom and I am the Director of Public Policy and Programs at Citizens Union. We thank you for holding this and other public hearings, and giving Citizens Union the opportunity to publicly share our recommendations with you.
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Citizens Union Testimony on Int. 241 – Charter Revision Commission

March 16, 2018 - Good morning Chair Cabrera and members of the Committee on Governmental Operations. My name is Ethan Geringer-Sameth and I am the Public Policy & Program Manager at Citizens Union. Thank you for the opportunity to testify today on the Council proposal for Charter Revision Commission
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Citizens Union Critiques Mayor de Blasio’s Influence on the Charter Revision Commission Process

February 21, 2018 - Citizens Union delivered a letter on Friday, February 16th, to Mayor de Blasio’s office in City Hall, critical of the manner in which the Mayor is approaching the creation of a Charter Revision Commission.
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Citizens Union Issues Recommendations On City Charter Revision Proposals On The Ballot November 2nd 2010

October 27, 2010 - Recommendations on ballot questions are part of historic Good Government Group's 100th anniversary voters directory now available online along with candidate questionnaires. Opposes question #1 reducing the term limits of city elected officials to two terms. Supports a "yes" vote on question #2 requiring disclosure of independent campaign expenditures and easing access to the ballot for candidates.
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2010 City Charter Revision Commission Ballot Questions

On March 3, 2010, Mayor Bloomberg announced the appointment of a City Charter Revision Commission consisting of fifteen members charged…

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Citizens Union Unveils 50 Specific Recommendations For City Charter Revision

June 30, 2010 - Calls for increasing avenues for participation in both elections and governing in a diverse and large city. Calls for independent budgeting for the public advocate, borough presidents, community boards and the conflicts of interest board (COIB.)
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