December 6, 2022

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Technological development

NYC bills stymied by computer glitches, staff shortages: sources


City Hall is taking a byte out of democracy.

Three months into Council Speaker Adrienne Adams’ tenure, new bills are moving at a glacial pace because of “tech issues” and a shortage of staffers, sources told The Post.

Through Adams’ first three months as speaker, 138 bills were introduced by Council members, including two later withdrawn, according to a data review by The Post. Council members also introduced 108 non-binding resolutions, records show.

By comparison, 595 bills were introduced during Corey Johnson’s first three months overseeing the Council in 2018. His predecessor, Melissa Mark Viverito, saw 174 bills introduced during her first three months.

Rank-and-file members say the delays have been caused by a glitchy computer program called Sharepoint — used to track the status of legislation — which is complicated to use and frequently breaks down. There have also been staffing shortages.

“When I submitted legislation, I had to use another form because the usual system of submitting legislation wasn’t working,” said one frustrated City Hall staffer, who said the Council has yet to explain what the issue was.

“My understanding is that the process has been backlogged because of staffing shortages and some tech issues,” said Queens GOP Councilwoman Vickie Paladino.

Former City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito
Council members saw slightly more early success introducing bills under Former City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito’s leadership.
Stefan Jeremiah for the NY Post

“My constituents have been asking for answers about how long it would take for my bills to be introduced, and my staffers and I have had to explain that it might take as long as 60 to 90 days,” she added. “My concern is that I have a responsibility to my constituents and my community to produce legislation in a timely manner.”

Paladino said a number of her bills were time sensitive — making the delay particularly troubling. Among her ideas are proposals to regulate the use of emergency powers, and another to grant the Council oversight over mask mandates for children.

Democrats have also been grumbling.

former City Council Speaker Corey Johnson
595 bills were introduced during Corey Johnson’s first three months overseeing the Council in 2018.
Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

“It’s been off to a slow start. The communication has not been as good as under prior speakers,” one senior Democratic staffer griped. “People in the Council have no experience. Some people are new. They haven’t had a job like chief of staff before.”

Roughly four-fifths of the Council are freshman members.

The staffer added that the departure of Jason Goldman as the body’s powerful chief of staff at the end of February left a void.

Goldman’s successor, Jeremy John, is a former political action director at DC37, a powerful union which supported Adams’ Speaker bid. He also was the campaign manager for state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s 2014 campaign.

Neither John nor Goldman had experience in city government before their respective appointments.

“I think Jeremy was just slow to get the hang of things, and there is definitely a result from that,” one city pol said.

John and the City Council speaker’s office did not comment.



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