New York City Charter Revision

This article is organized to get you to know the City Charter and to make recommendations to it regarding three issues: Community Boards, Conflict Of Interest, and Uniform Land Use Review Procedure “ULURP”. In each section the law will be cited, examples of issues that are now occurring and then a list of proposals and or modifications to the City Charter.  You are welcome to come up with your own modification or changes, ours is meant only as a guideline and of course you can address any other aspect of the City Charter that you choose.


Cith Charter Hearing Date and Information in Brooklyn

Date: Monday, May 7, 208 at 6 pm

Location: The Brooklyn Botanic Garden - 1000 Washington Ave, Corner of Montgomery St.

Directions: Q, B and S trains to Prospect Park, walk up Washington Ave

2 and 3 trains to Brooklyn Museum, walk down Washington Ave.


Link to other dates and times


To make it more user friendly, simply click on the title that you want to read about.  Click on the Back to Top to come back to this list.  CB means Community Board, DCP means the Department of City Planning, COIB means the Conflict of Interest Board.

Table of Contents

  1. History of Charter Reform
  2. City Charter Chapter 70 Community Boards
  3. Appointment of Community Board Members
  4. Board Members Can Be District Managers
  5. Monetary Funds of Community Boards
  6. Residents Allowed to Speak at All Meetings
  7. Non-Board Members on Committees
  8. Community Boards Must Reach Out to Community
  9. Power of Community Boards to Make Decisions
  10. Investigation of Unlawful Acts of Board Members
  11. Public Hearing and Recommendation on Land Use Applications
  12. City Charter Chapter 8 – Uniform Land Use Review Procedure “ULURP
  13. City Planning Commission and CB Voting Choices on ULURP
  14. Community Board Votes are Advisory on Land Use issues
  15. City Charter Chapter 68 Conflict of Interest Law
  16. Conflict Of Interest Training and Plan Requirements
  17. Conflict of Interest Board “COIB” Advisory Opinions
  18. How COIB Processes Complaints
  19. Restrictions of Board Members Regarding Conflict of Interest laws
  20. CB9's Failure To Comply with the New York City Charter
  21. CB Vote and Recommendations on ULURP applications
  22. CB must hold public hearings on Needs of community.
  23. The requirement to conduct meeting within Community District
  24. CB Committee meetings must be Open to the Public
  25. CB must Consider Needs of it Residents
  26. CB Must Give Notice of it Meetings and Hearings


History of Charter Reform

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The first major Charter Reform for Community Boards “CBs”was in 1975, where the City Charter helped to empower CBs, by insisting they be apart of the Uniform Land Use Review Process “ULURP”, money was given for CBs’ to hire staff including a District Manager and the ULURP was put into place regarding proposed changes to rezonings.

This was done due to the tremendous push back during the 1960’s civil rights movement, which had led to the State passing a law in 1972, for New York City to  “encourage genuine citizen  participation in local city government”.


In 1989 another monumental Charter Reform was done where again Community Boards was one of the focuses.  It was here that the Charter Commission declared “Sunshine on Community Board Committees and their documents”, which lead to the requirement that all community boards must adhere to the Open Meetings Law and at every open meeting the public should be allowed to speak.  These steps were enacted because of the serious complaints so many residents had about CBs’ meetings happening in private homes, the refusal to allow residents to attend meetings, documents being withheld from the public and community residents not being allowed to speak.

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City Charter Chapter 70 Community Boards

 The Law -  Appointment of Community Board Members
Article 2800 a (1) not more than fifty persons appointed by the borough president for staggered terms of two years, at least one half of whom shall be appointed from nominees of the council members elected from council districts..”

The Results
In 2014 Borough President Eric Adams violated this provision and selected 18 board members instead of 12 that is his limit.  We filed a case against this practice and it currently is on appeal.

Every board member of who has objected to the unlawful behavior of CB9 has been removed off.  Dr. Zorina Vice-Chair of CB9 was removed when she attempted to address some of the unlawful behavior exhibited by board members.  Mr. Robertson chair of the 1st Search Committee and other committees, was removed after his refusal to compromise the selection process of the District Manager by choosing Carmen Martinez, a known ally of Borough President Eric Adams and a relative of his right hand person Inez Martin.

Lorraine Thomas was removed from the board after filing a court case to address the many abuses of CB9 including their refusal to notify her of meetings, allow her to be a member of committees, conducting meetings behind closed doors and refusing to share minutes, and voting records with her.


  1. Allow City Council people the power to appoint members to the Community Board and not just recommend (the Borough President doesn’t have to accept a Council person recommendations).
  2. Have CB members be elected and not appointed.
  3. Allow other Assembly people and State Senators the power to appoint members on the Board.
  4. Set term limits of four years, and then the board member is off the board.

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The LawBoard Members Can Be District Managers
  Article 2800 (g). A member of a community board shall be eligible for appointment to the position of district manager

The Results
There have been two board members who have been trying to become District Manager “DM” for CB9.  The first one Carmen Martinez, a known ally of Borough President Eric Adams, who lost her job for stealing 14 years of time. In an effort to get her to be the DM, CB9 disqualified their first search committee results and then conducted the entire second search in violation of their Bylaws, which resulted in the Courts overturning their decision. 

Now Carmen Martinez is no longer the favorite and Chairman Musa Moore known girlfriend Simmon Bennett is trying for the position.  This has resulted in the board demanding the resumes of all potential candidates and the search committee refusing to abide by this order.

As a result, CB9 has not had a District Manager for over 3 years!


  1. No past or present board member may apply for the District Manager position.
  2. If a former Board member applies for District Manager, they must have been off the board for at least a minimum of five years.

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The Law- Monetary Funds of Community Boards
Article 2800 (g). Any funds appropriated by the city to enable the community boards to conduct their duties and responsibilities pursuant to this chapter shall be allocated directly to each board subject to the terms and conditions of such appropriations.

The Results
CB9 has completely failed to notify the board and the public of how this money is spent.  There are no updated financial reports and the Chairman of the Board simply decides where this money is going and who to hire.

Musa Moore the Chairman of the Board in fact has hire his own personal staff from his  organization to be a staff member of CB9.  This was done without any supervision on the part of the board.


The Law – Residents Allowed to Speak at all meetings
Article 2800 (h). At each public meeting, the board shall set aside time to hear from the public.

A court determined this meant only at the monthly general board meetings and not at committee meetings.   Residents are not allowed to speak, to present information or to engage with committee members at committee meetings.  Residents are restricted to only speaking at the general board meeting for 3 minutes during the 30 minute public comment period.  However, during this time board member are also allowed to speak, thus taking time away from residents and thus at general board meeting the residents have been unable to speak.

At each public meeting, including committees and subcommittees, the board shall set aside time to hear from the public. (underline words to be added)

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Please note: According to the Charter Revision Committee of 1989, this line was added (at each public meeting) to address the fact that residents weren’t being allowed to speak both at committee and general board meetings. Thus the added words make it clearer, despite the opinion that it is clear. 

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The Law -  Non-Board Members on Committees
Article 2800 (i).  It may include on such committees persons with a residence or significant interest in the community who are not members of the board.

At CB9 this has resulted in almost every committee not having any residents who are not beholden to the Borough President.  This has also limited the expertise and knowledge that can be gained from having residents be apart of these committees who are not board members.

The word changed from may to shall.  Community Board shall have non-board members on their committees, especially since the job of Community boards are mostly done via Committee. If it is the job of community boards to engage in genuine citizen participation then it should occur at the committee level.  

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The Law Community Boards Must Reach Out to the Community
Article 2800 (D) The Board shall conduct substantial public outreach, including identifying the organizations active in the community district, maintaining a list of the names and mailing addresses of such community organizations, and making such names and, with the consent of the organization, mailing addresses available to the public upon request.

There has been no clear way to measure if substantial public outreach has occurred?  What does that mean? In the Case of CB9, the community is never notified of CB9’s meetings or hearings, when they are cancelled, when they adjourn, when they meet etc…  And yet other organizations meetings are sent out from CB9’s office via their email.

This has resulted in an almost 0% attendance of community residents at community board committee meetings.  The only meetings that contain residents is when the individual Chair might privately invite their friends, co-workers or associates to attend a meeting etc… 


  1. Out reach to the community should include daily and weekly updates via email around CBs committee meetings, hearings and programs. 
  2. Detailed list of meeting dates and times of standing committees for the entire year be produced at the beginning of each year.

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The Law Power of Community Boards to make Decisions
Article 2801 section b states
Whenever any act is authorized to be done or any determination or decision made by any community board, the act, determination or decision of the majority of the members present entitled to vote during the presence of a quorum, shall be held to be the act, determination or decision of such board.

The Results
On March 27, 2018 Community Board 9 “CB9” ordered the Search Committee to find a District Manager “DM”, to provide the CB members the copy of the 6 resumes of the applicants, the voting records and the scoring cards which has resulted in the selection of 3 candidates. The request was legal as there was quorum and everyone present voted.  On April 24, 2018, at the general board meeting of CB9 the search committee chair refused to comply with the CB9’s order, with the support of CB9’s chair.

On June 27, 2017 the CB9 voted a straight no on the application of the Bedford Union Armory, there were no discussions or any vote on recommendations.  On August 11, 2018 CB9’s chair Musa Moore, the real estate lobbyist and chair of land use Michael Liburd sent in the official position of CB9 stating that the board had voted a No with Modifications and included a list of 9 modifications that had not been vetted or approved by the board.  The case is now on appeal.

The removal of executive board members of CB and committee chairs, when direct orders of the CB board are disobeyed.

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The Law – Investigation of Unlawful Act of Board Members
§2800 (h) (3) The department of investigation shall investigate any allegations concerning the misuse of a community board title and shall report its findings to the mayor, the council and the borough president in whose borough the community board is located.

We currently have a Real Estate Lobbyist as Chairman of our Board, Musa Moore and we have the Chair of the Landuse Committee, Michael Liburd who brought his agency, the Brooklyn Public Library, in front of his committee and secured an illegal vote for them.  Michael Liburd then pushed them forward to general board to secure a positive response to their application to change the façade on a Landmarked Building. 

Additionally, both Michael Liburd and Musa Moore submitted a fabricated vote and a list of recommendations on the Bedford Union Armory ULURP application.

There have been over seven complaints since 2014 to present, filed with the Department of Investigations and Conflict Of Interest Board, regarding the behavior of CB9 members and the Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.  The only thing the community has gotten back is the fact that a complaint was received.  Nothing else.

That Department of Investigation shall investigate any allegations concerning misuse of authority, position and engagement of conflict of interest of a board member…. and shall report its findings to the public. (underline to be added to City Charter)

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The Laws – Public Hearing and Recommendation on Land Use Applications
 City Charter Article 2800 (2) (d).
Exercise the initial review of applications and proposal of public agencies and private entities for the use, development or improvement of land located in the community district, including the conduct of a public hearing and the preparation and submission to the city planning commission of a written recommendation.

City Charter Article 197-c Uniform Land Use Review Procedure section (e) states: Each affected community board shall..[regarding land use rezoning applications](2) (a) conduct a public hearing thereon and prepare and submit written recommendations directly to the city planning commission and to the  affected borough president.


In the case Community Board 7 vs Schaffer 3rd highest court stated that Community Boards are not allowed to engage in activities that they are not specifically empowered to do by the City Charter.

Community Board 9 is attempting to engage in a rezoning with a private entity.  The only direct action Community Boards are allowed to make in regards to zonng applications is to make recommendations on them, not to file joint applications with them.

Have the City Charters specifically state that CBs are not allowed to engage in activities that they are not empowered to do by the City Charter.


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City Charter Chapter 8 the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure


The Law – City Planning Commission Voting Choices on ULURP
197a (d) city planning commission shall (1) review such plan,[rezoning plan] (2) hold a public hearing on such plan, and (3) by  resolution  approve,  approve  with  modifications  or disapprove such plan.

The Department of City Planning “DCP” has incorporated four choices for Community Boards to vote upon regarding rezoning applications under the ULURP process.  (1) No, (2) No with Modification, (3)Yes, (4)Yes with modifications.

What has happened is that when CB’s choose the No with Modifications some members and the public really think they are saying No.  However, when this position gets to the New York City Planning Commission, they will only consider modifications in the Yes with Conditions category.    This is not explained to the CB and the community residents, that the No with Conditions actually then turns to a Yes with Conditions. 

To eliminate from DCP’s application choice of No with Conditions and have the CBs and the Borough Presidents have the same choices as DCP commission has.

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The Law – Community Board Votes are Advisory on LandUse Issues
The City Charter Chapter 8 states that Community Board and Borough Presidents recommendations are simply advisory.

All throughout NYC communities of color are being upzoned.  They are hoodwinked into engaging with the DCP under the pretense that they will get something; improved services, community benefits, protection against displacement etc….

However, what everyone fails to see is that once a community enters into an agreement for DCP to do a study or a rezoning, the final result belongs to DCP.  Once developers know a rezoning in going to happen they immediately begin buying property and speculating.  They know the Community is powerless to stop a rezoning and they know that de Blasio continues to be pro-development.  

This speculation alone begins to cause displacement, as prices rise and property is transferred and the word gets out that a major rezoning is going to happen.

DCP then presents their plan after years of community engagement.  The residents yell, the politicians yell, but can’t seem to do anything.  DCP makes some minor changes and then the rubberstamping process of the ULURP begins!


  1. Give more power to Community Board to engage in negotiations with DCP regarding district wide rezoning.
  2. Allow Community Board veto power regarding district wide rezoning applications.
  3. Give Community Board veto power over all ULURP applications!

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New York City Charter Chapter 68 The Law Conflict Of Interest Law

The Law Conflict Of Interest Training and Plan Requirements
Article 2603 (B) 2 (b) Each public servant shall undergo training provided by the board in the provisions of this chapter on or before the sixtieth day after he or she becomes a public servant, and periodically as appropriate during the course of his or her city service. Every two years, each agency shall develop and implement an appropriate agency training plan in consultation with the board and the mayor’s office of operations.
(c) The failure of a public servant to receive the training required by this paragraph, to receive a copy of this chapter, or to sign the statement required by this paragraph, or the failure of the agency to maintain the required statement on file or record of training completed, shall have no effect on the duty of such public servant to comply with this chapter or on the enforcement of the provisions thereof. [Eff. 11/2/2010]
There have been only two known trainings that have occurred with CB9 within the past four years and not all members actually attended them.  Thus this provision is not being performed.


  1. That Community Board members who fail to comply with this provision shall be removed off of the board immediately. 
  2. The required training plans and signing of conflict of interest provisions shall be made available upon request to the public.
  3. The Public should be notified and invited to all conflict of interest trainings of a community board.

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The Law Conflict of Interest Board "COIB" Advisory Opinions
Article 2603 (C) 1. The board shall render advisory opinions with respect to all matters covered by this chapter. An advisory opinion shall be rendered on the request of a public servant or a supervisory official of a public servant and shall apply only to such public servant. The request shall be in such form as the board may require and shall be signed by the person making the request. The opinion of the board shall be based on such facts as are presented in the request or subsequently submitted in a written, signed document.
When the Conflict of interest Board came into effect they were doing on an average 30 opinions every year.  However, since the de Blasio administration that number has been reduced to down to an average of 2 a year, with some years no opinion being done. 

That this agency conduct and produce at least a minimum of 20 opinions a year.

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The Law How Conflict of Interest Board Processes Complaints
Article 2603 e. Complaints.
1. The board shall receive complaints alleging violations of this chapter. 2. Whenever a written complaint is received by the board, it shall: (a) dismiss the complaint if it determines that no further action is required by the board; or (b) refer the complaint to the commissioner of investigation if further investigation is required for the board to determine what action is appropriate; or (c) make an initial determination that there is probable cause to believe that a public servant has violated a provision of this chapter; or (d) refer an alleged violation of this chapter to the head of the agency served by the public servant, if the board deems the violation to be minor or if related disciplinary charges are pending against the public servant. 3. For the purposes of this subdivision, a public servant includes a former public servant.

There have been six registered complaints against CB9 board members within four years for Conflict of Interest.  This includes Lobbyist being chairs of a community board, Borough President placing his employees on the board, and Chairs of committees having their agency come before their committee seeking requests.  No one knows what has happened to these complaints, because the entire process is done behind closed doors.

Without disclosure there is no accountability, without accountability you have an agency that is ineffective.

COIB must make a final determination regarding complaints and must inform the complainant of the their determination.  The determination should include the reason for their decision and any measures COIB will be taking that is applicable by law.

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The Law – Restrictions of Board Members Regarding the Conflict of Interest Laws
Article §2604. a. Prohibited interests in firms engaged in business dealings with the city

  1. no public servant shall have an interest in a firm which such public servant knows is engaged in business dealings with the agency served by such public servant;

Basically what the Conflict Of Interest Board says is that a board member may not chair, nor vote and must reveal his/her conflict of interest when a board member’s agency is coming before the Community Board.

CB9 Chairman of the Land Use Committee, Michael Liburd, who is a board member of the Brooklyn Public Library “BPL” just this past April 2018, had the BPL come before his committee seeking approval to change the façade of the Grand Armory Plaza Library that is landmarked.  He didn’t disclose his conflict, he chaired the meeting, and even took an illegal vote, knowing that his committee didn’t have quorum.  Normally Land marking projects go in front of the Housing committee not the Land Use committee of CB9.

Another example, we have a Real Estate Lobbyist as Chairman of the community Board who did not disclose this conflict of interest at the time he was being elected in as Chairman and voted and chaired the board when land use issues were voted upon.  He also submitted a falsified vote and recommendations on the Bedford Union Armory which was never even presented or voted upon by the Community Board.  This case is now on appeal.


  1. That complainants who submit Conflict of Interest inquires be notified of the COIB’s steps they are taking and the final determination of these requests.
  2. That board members who has been found to have a conflict of interest be removed from the board immediately.

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Failure To Comply with the New York City Charter

One of the primary issues that was discussed in the last City Charter Revision which focused on Community Boards was how dysfunctional Community Boards were in communities of color and/or low to moderate income.  The Commission had assumed that enforcing the Opening Meetings Law, declaring Sunshine on all CB committees and their documents, would help to address these issues.  But that has not been the case as the below City Charter violations have continued to occur.

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The Law – The Board's Vote and Recommendations on ULURP Applications
Article 197-c Uniform Land Use Review Procedure section (e) states: Each affected community board shall..[regarding land use rezoning applications](2) (a) conduct a public hearing thereon and prepare and submit written recommendation directly to the city planning commission and to the  affected borough president.

The Results
On August 11, 2017 Michael Librud, Chairman of CB9 landuse committee and Musa Moore, Real Estate Lobbyist and Chairman of CB9 submitted a vote of “No with Modifications” and supplied a list of modifications on the Bedford Union Armory that had never been voted upon by CB9.

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The Law – CB Must Hold Public Hearings on the Needs of Community.
Consult with agencies on the capital needs of the district, review departmental estimates, hold public hearings on such needs and estimates.

There have been no public hearings scheduled in CB9 for the past two years about the needs of the District.  The only thing that has occurred, is that CB9 has without any notice to the community has simply read off these district needs at a general board meeting, allowed residents to make a few comments and that is it!

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The Law The Requirement to Conduct Meeting within Community District
Article 2800 (H) each community board shall meet at least once each month within the community district and conduct at least one public hearing each month…..The borough president shall provide each board with a meeting place if requested by the board.

CB9 has been conducting its LandUse committee meetings outside the district to deter participation and limit engagement.  A Land Use committee meeting has been scheduled on Thursday, May 10, 2018 that would classified as a hearing on a ULURP application proposed by DCP, a discussion regarding a proposed developer’s rezoning application and a discussion and vote on CB9 engaging in a rezoning with a private entity.  No notifications about this meeting, its agenda or its location has been sent out to the community.

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The Law CB Committee Meetings Must Be Open to the Public
Article 2800 (i).  Each community board may create committees on matters relating to its duties and responsibilities….. meetings of such committees shall be open to the public.

The Results
The entire 2 and 3rd Search Committee meetings were done in secret.  The community was never notified of these meetings and thus were unable to attend.  One board members stated our meetings are open we just have a policy of invite only.

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The Law CB Must Consider Needs of Its Residents
d. Each community board shall: consider the needs of the district which it serves.

The Results
How can a CB consider the needs of its district if it refuses to allow its residents the opportunity to speak or to be on committees?  In the case of CB9 they have a policy that residents are not allowed to speak at the committee level, just committee members, unless of course the Chairperson likes you.  Residents can only speak for three minutes at the general board meeting, if there is enough time.  God forbid if you have several concerns or want answers that will never happen.

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The Law CB Must Give Notice of Its Meetings and Hearings
Article 2800 (h). Each board shall give adequate public notice of its meetings and hearings and shall make such meetings and hearings available for broadcasting and cablecasting.

The Results
CB9 for the second time has conducted its entire search committee to select a District Manager, in secret.  They simply have failed to provide any notice of their search committee meetings thus preventing the public from attending and from broadcasting and cablecasting.

Additionally, not one so called hearing of CB9 board has been advertised or notification has been given to the public about the hearing.  CB9 simply conducts the so called hearing at committee or general board meeting not allowing residents to speak or ask questions and then describes these meetings as Hearings.

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