NY Lawmakers on the Move, May 4, 2022

Lawmakers on the Move

Mayor Adams Appoints Ulrich as DOB Commissioner

Mayor Eric Adams

New York City Mayor Eric Adams yesterday appointed former City Councilmember Eric Ulrich as commissioner of the Department of Buildings (DOB) and Kazimir Vilenchik, P.E. as first deputy commissioner. 

As the leadership team at DOB, they will enforce the city’s construction codes and zoning resolution, as well as the New York State Multiple Dwelling Law, to protect workers and the public on construction sites and in the city’s nearly 1.1 million buildings. They will also play a key role in advancing the city’s sustainability goals, including through the enforcement of Local Law 97.

“Eric Ulrich and Kazimir Vilenchik are the right leadership team at the right time for the Department of Buildings,” said Mayor Adams. “Our city and our economy cannot recover from the COVID-19 pandemic without a strong construction industry, and this team will deliver while prioritizing worker safety and customer service. I want to thank Acting Commissioner Gus Sirakis for his deep commitment and ongoing service to DOB, and I look forward to continuing my work with Commissioner Ulrich and First Deputy Commissioner Vilenchik to move our city forward.”

A former three-term New York City council member from Queens who served on the City Council’s Committee on Housing and Buildings, Ulrich was a leader in the city’s rebuilding effort after Hurricane Sandy, passing legislation to accelerate the rebuilding process while using the council’s oversight powers to improve the Rapid Repairs and Build It Back programs. Currently, Ulrich serves as a senior advisor to Mayor Adams.

Vilenchik is currently the Brooklyn borough commissioner at DOB, having served as deputy borough commissioner in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island. He has worked at DOB for 14 years and brings over two decades of additional private sector experience.

Addabbo Introduces Legislation Mandating Life Imprisonment when Victim is Police Officer

State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr.

State Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. (D-Queens) recently introduced legislation (S.3459) to make life imprisonment without parole mandatory for defendants convicted of murder in the first degree when the victim is a police officer. 

Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato (D-Queens) sponsored this legislation (A.9502) in the Assembly. 

“Every day police officers risk their own lives protecting and defending members of the community, including strangers, so we can all stay safe,” Addabbo said. “Families of murdered law enforcement officers, like Officers Mora and Rivera who were killed in the line of duty earlier this year, should never have to endure this pain, and criminals of these heinous crimes must never, under any circumstances, be considered for release,” added Addabbo. 

This legislation seeks to close the loophole that allows parole for murderers of police officers by requiring that mandatory life sentences without parole be imposed for these circumstances without exception. 

“I will always have the utmost respect for the men and women who have chosen a career in law enforcement. Let this legislation serve as a warning to the criminals in our State that should they take the life of one of our police officers, they will spend the rest of their lives in prison without the possibility of parole. All in our communities, especially officers and their families, deserve to know that we value the lives of our heroes,” said Pheffer Amato. 

QBP Richards to Host “Cannabis Chat”

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. will host a virtual Community Cannabis Chat today with Tremaine Wright, the Chair of the New York State Cannabis Control Board, which was created to oversee the regulation of the newly legalized adult-use cannabis market in New York State.

Wright will speak with Community Board members and other Queens residents about how the implementation of the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) is impacting Queens. The MRTA legalizes adult-use cannabis (also known as marijuana) in New York State and is intended to correct the harms caused by the prohibition of cannabis. It does so by ending unfair enforcement policies and directing the revenue generated by legal cannabis sales toward communities that have felt the racially disparate impact of cannabis criminalization.

Wright will discuss the future of the cannabis industry, the status of the implementation of the MRTA, the procedures for securing a license to sell cannabis, and more.

“Communities across the Queens have historically been hurt by the excessive and disparate enforcement of the ban on cannabis,” said Richards. “Chair Wright will explain how the legalization of adult-use cannabis will help rectify past disparities by ensuring these communities have a strong opportunity to take advantage of the legal cannabis market. We thank Chair Wright for taking the time to talk with Queens residents about cannabis legalization and to address any concerns they may have.”

The event will take place on Zoom at 6 p.m., tonight, May 4. Members of the public interested in submitting questions to Ms. Wright can sign up at www.queensbp.org/rsvp to participate in the Zoom meeting. Those who do not sign up will still be able to view a livestream of the meeting at www.queensbp.org.

Lander Kicks Off Month-long Listening Tour on Property Tax and Trash Improvements

NYC Comptroller Brad Lander

New York City Comptroller Brad Lander will host a series of town halls on property tax inequities and sanitation conditions across the city. Residents are encouraged to bring feedback and ideas for how city government can better serve their neighborhoods to public forums held both in person and virtually. The Comptroller’s office also launched an online survey asking for resident feedback on sanitation services open to anyone in New York City.

“A just recovery for New York City requires getting the basics right. We need our city government to prioritize clean, safe and affordable neighborhoods, so that all our communities can thrive. The best way to address those issues is by working together to identify problems and design solutions. That’s why we’re coming to neighborhoods across the city to talk trash and taxes — to talk with New Yorkers about how city government can do better on key issues in urban life,” said Lander. 

The five question survey asks constituents to rank and describe the quality of sanitation services in their neighborhoods. The questions asks about whether or not sanitation has improved or worsened in the last year, food scraps and yard waste composting, and other feedback. 

The Comptroller has spoken out in support of overhauling New York’s confusing and inequitable property tax system, and released a budget report in March outlining key recommendations. 

The townhalls will be hosted at:

Northeast Bronx—May 12th at Albert Tuitt Senior Educational Campus 

East Brooklyn—May 17th at Hope Gardens Community Center 

South Brooklyn—May 23rd at PS 170 

Southeast Queens—June 1st at Robert Ross Johnson Family Life Center 

Virtual—June 7th  

To RSVP, visit Office of the NYC Comptroller Events | Eventbrite