Speaker Quinn and sick leave

| lpenner@queenscourier.com |

The potential methods used by New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn to defeat the proposed “sick leave bill” supported by 36 of 51 members of the New York City Council is nothing to cheer about, when you look into the details.

This measure would force companies to pay employees a minimum of five sick leave days per year. Speaker Quinn has kept this bill proposed by Manhattan Council member Gale Brewer bottled up in committee since 2009 while she contemplates her political options.

As an all but publicly announced candidate for mayor in 2013, Speaker Quinn has to make a choice by affording all 51 Council members a vote which will either make labor happy or the business community unhappy. In the meantime, she continues to raise campaign contributions from both the labor unions and the same business people along with the usual City Hall “Pay for Play” crowd.

Her potential method in defeating this legislation is to deny 50 other members of the NYC Council the right to vote up or down on the proposed legislation. Wasn’t Quinn elected to represent voters of her West Village district and not all five boroughs? Her actions denied almost eight million New Yorkers a direct say regardless of their side of the issue.

This is just another example of how NYC Council Speaker Quinn long ago removed the veil of her Manhattan liberal independent reformer image to reveal that she is a seasoned Democratic Party machine leader. She follows in the fine tradition of her predecessors, former Council Speakers Gifford Miller, Peter Vallone Senior and the late Tom Cuite.

On January 18, 2010 after being relected Speaker, Quinn announced her appointments of various Council committee chairpersons. Councilmembers loyal to their respective county organizations (the ones that endorsed her candidacy for speaker) were rewarded with salary increases known as lulus ranging from $4,000 to $28,000 to chair Council committees. These were renewed once again in January 2012. The average salary for a New Yorker is $41,000 per year. Every councilmember has a base salary of $112,500 plus bonuses, for a part-time job.

Under Quinn’s reign, it continues to be the usual political quid pro quo with councilmembers. Vote as instructed by the speaker and members will continue to receive the perks of office. These include salary bonuses for chairing Council committees, extra cash for local district offices, staff and mailings along with your share of several hundred million dollars available for funding local neighborhood pork-barrel projects and a favorable gerrymandered district after reapportionment to grease the wheels of re-election.

The five county Democratic political bosses don’t care if you are liberal or conservative, gay or straight, man or woman — just play ball like Quinn and you’re welcome to the smoke-filled clubhouse back rooms! Diogenes is still searching for a more honest potential Mayoral candidate in 2013 than Quinn.