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Civic Conversations are events that we hold as an opportunity for the public to engage with elected officials and policymakers around pressing issues of the day.

A Day in the Life of NY Legislators

Our panel featured Assembly Member Rodneyse Bichotte, Senator Michael Gianaris, City Council Member Cory Johnson, Assembly Member Nicole Malliotakis, and City Council Member Antonio Reynoso. Our guests will talk about how they represent their constituents, make critical decisions about New York public policy, and balance the multiple needs of our neighborhoods and communities.


Assembly Member Rodneyse Bichotte is the Assembly Member and State Committee Woman / District Leader for New York State’s 42nd Assembly District. A Democrat, she is Chair of the Oversight of Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises Subcommittee. Assembly Member Bichotte is the first Haitian-American woman elected into office in New York City. Born and raised in Brooklyn, her advocacy centers on providing resources on affordable housing and home ownership, financial literacy, public safety initiatives and better relationships with law enforcement, affordable health care, high-quality education, and economic development. @AMBichotte

Senator Michael Gianaris, a Democrat, was elected to the State Senate in 2010 after having served for 10 years in the State Assembly. The first Greek-American to be elected to office from New York City, Senator Gianaris serves as the Deputy Minority Leader and represents the Queens neighborhoods of Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside, Woodhaven, Ridgewood, and Astoria where he was born and still resides. Senator Gianaris is the author of legislation that would eliminate cash bail in the state of New York and wrote legislation to create an Innocence Commission to review wrongful convictions. Senator Gianaris was also a champion of the state’s passage of marriage equality, and of campaign finance reform. @SenGianaris

Council Member Corey Johnson represents District 3 in the New York City Council, which includes the West Village, Greenwich Village, Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen, Flatiron and part of the Upper West Side. A Democrat elected to his first term in 2013, Council Member Johnson has passed more legislation than most other Council Members, focusing on safeguarding tenant rights, enhancing public health, safeguarding the welfare of animals, and more. He is involved in a range of issues from addressing discrimination against transgender New Yorkers to confronting substandard healthcare delivery at Rikers Island. Council Member Johnson is also focused on bringing resources to his constituents and forging consensus on tough issues. The Council Member is Chair of the Committee on Health, a member of the Council’s LGBT Caucus and Co-Chair of the Manhattan Delegation. @CoreyinNYC

Assembly Member Nicole Malliotakis was first elected to the New York State Assembly in 2010, defeating a two-term incumbent. A Republican, she currently represents a district spanning the boroughs of Brooklyn and Staten Island and was the first Hispanic-American elected from Richmond County. Prior to being elected, Assembly Member Malliotakis served as a liaison for the late state Senator John Marchi and Governor George Pataki. Recovery from Hurricane Sandy has become a hallmark of the Assembly Member’s tenure as an elected official. She has also successfully fought to restore and expand transit service in both Brooklyn and Staten Island, improve programs for senior citizens, and reform education in our state. She has worked to improve New York’s economic climate and reduce the tax burden on small businesses and residents. Assembly Member Malliotakis is running for the Republican nomination for Mayor of New York City. @NMalliotakis ‏

Dick Dadey

 Past Civic Conversations

 Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

Effective Police Accountability, Building Public Trust and Ensuring Public Safety in Our Community

 Featured Speaker: Eric L. Adams, Brooklyn Borough President


Priscilla Gonzales
Director of Organizing
Communities United for Police Reform 

Arnold Kriss
Former Brooklyn Assistant District Attorney and NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Trials

Cyrus R. Vance, Jr
New York County District Attorney

Can New Yorkers Fix Albany’s Corruption Problem?
A Discussion on What Changes Are Needed for Our Lawmakers to Earn Back Our Trust

Expert panelists and the public discussed why there is a crime wave of corruption in Albany and what can be done to fight back and change the capitol’s ethics.

Featured Speaker:

Hon. Eric T. Schneiderman
Attorney General of the State of New York


Ellen Biben
Adjunct Professor of Law at New York University Law School,
Former NYS Inspector General and Former Executive Director of Joint Commission on Public Ethics

Richard Briffault
Professor of Legislation at Columbia Law School
Chair of NYC Conflicts of Interest Board and Former Moreland Commissioner

Hon. Richard Brodsky
Senior Fellow at Demos, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Public Policy at NYU Wagner Graduate School, and Former NYS Assemblymember for the 92nd District

Jennifer Rodgers
Executive Director of the Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity
Former Assistant US Attorney for the Southern District of New York

Moderated by: Dick Dadey, Executive Director, Citizens Union

Civic Conversation – Civil Service Reform, Jan 29, 2014 from Citizens Union on Vimeo.

Civil Service Reform: Tensions, Trends, and Tradeoffs

We focused on the fiscal challenges facing the city and a review of civil service reform options and how they might produce a stronger, better supported and fairly compensated workforce that is managed well by the city and meets the needs of taxpayers.

Arthur Cheliotes
President, Local 1180, Communications Workers of America AFL-CIO

Henry Garrido
Associate Director
DC 37

Michael Jacobson
CUNY Institute for State and Local Governance

Carol Kellermann
Citizens Budget Commission

Ronnie Lowenstein
New York City Independent Budget Office

Moderated by Dick Dadey, Executive Director, Citizens Union

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Charting New York City’s Future

The last major review of New York City’s Charter occurred twenty years ago with the 1989 Charter Commission. Today, it is widely anticipated that a charter commission will be convened by Mayor Bloomberg. There have been calls by many that it encompass similar guiding principles and a mission as the 1989 Commission to review our city’s laws and codes top-to-bottom. Join us for a conversation with former charter commission members and city officials on what they think a 2010 charter commission should address.

To read more about the 1989 Charter Commission and New York City’s governance structure, read our report “NYC Government: 1989 and Today” prepared by NYU Wagner Capstone students.


Stephen J. Fiala
Richmond County Clerk; Member 2005 Charter Commission

Ester Fuchs
Professor of International and Public Affairs and Political Science, Columbia University; Chair 2005 Charter Commission

Eric Lane
Professor of Public Law and Public Service, Hofstra University; Executive Director/Counsel 1989 Charter Commission

César Perales
President, LatinoJustice/PRLDEF; Former NYC Deputy Mayor

William C. Thompson Jr.
former Comptroller of the City of New York

Moderated by Doug Muzzio
Professor of Public Affairs, Baruch College

 Monday, May 11, 2009

Ana Maria Archila
Co-Executive Director, Make the Road NY

Reverend David Brawley
Co-Chair, East Brooklyn Congregations

Joel I. Klein
Chancellor, New York City Department of Education

Monica Major
President, Community Education Council, District 11

Michael Mulgrew
Chief Operating Officer, United Federation of Teachers

Professor Joseph Viteritti
Former Executive Director, Commission on School Governance

Moderated by Doug Muzzio
Professor of Public Affairs, Baruch College

Thursday, September 25, 2008
Campaign Finance Finance Reform in New York State: 
How to Reduce the Influence of Campaign Money on Public Policy

Dan Cantor
Executive Director, Working Families Party

The Honorable Adriano Espaillat
Member, New York State Assembly

Blair Horner
Legislative Director, New York Public Interest Research Group

Susan Lerner
Executive Director, Common Cause/NY

Michael Malbin
Executive Director, Campaign Finance Institute and
Professor of American Politics, Rockefeller College, University at Albany

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Grading NYC Public Schools: 
Do New Accountability Measures Help Our Kids?
How Performance Assessment Affects NYC Public Schools

Chris Cerf
Deputy Chancellor, New York City Department of Education

Pedro Noguera
NYU School of Education and Co-Chair of the City Council’s Middle School Task Force

Diane Ravitch
Research Professor of Education at NYU and former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education

Esmeralda Simmons
Executive Director, Center for Law and Social Justice, Medgar Evers College, former member of the NYC Board of Education

Randi Weingarten
President, United Federation of Teachers

Moderated by Jennifer Medina, Education Reporter, The New York Times

This program was made possible by a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

To read‘s report on this event, click here.

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