Mayor Makes 11th Hour Appointments to City Boards

0:00 Mayor Josh Cohn and his coalition on the City Council pushed through 25 appointments to City Boards and Commissions on Dec. 20, their last […]

Published January 11, 2024 5:32 PM
2 min read

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Mayor Josh Cohn and his coalition on the City Council pushed through 25 appointments to City Boards and Commissions on Dec. 20, their last meeting before the inauguration of a new Council. 

Among those appointments was a new member of the City Board of Ethics – the same board that Cohn and his bloc had sued after it ruled that the Mayor had a conflict of interest last year. Cohn and Council members Carolina Johnson, Julie Souza, and Ben Stacks also had voted to have the City finance that lawsuit and the Ethics Board’s legal defense. 

After heated backlash from the community, the Mayor and his allies dropped the suit.

The new member of the Ethics Board is Ted Livingston, a Westchester County prosecutor who is the husband of City Court Judge Valerie Livingston. He replaces Ted Dunn. Mayor Cohn appointed Valerie  Livingston to a 10-year term as City Judge two years ago. 

Council members Josh Nathan and Bill Henderson both objected to the last-minute appointments.

“I think we should just do it with the 2024 Council and give them that respect,” Nathan said. “I’m sure there will be plenty of support, but I think it’s rather odd to do it at year end for the next year…. I think it’s inappropriate.”

Cohn responded that the end of the year is when he typically has made such appointments, and he had been doing so for six years without objection. 

This year, however, is different. Cohn has had the support of a clear 4-3 majority, but the new Council consists of a new four-member majority that has been critical of how he and his coalition have conducted the City’s business. 

“We’re just hearing all of these names for the first time tonight,” Henderson objected. “I’d like an opportunity to really understand who you want to appoint, especially the new appointees.… I would request that the appointments take place in the first meeting in 2024.”

Nathan added: “I join in that request. It’s a long list and it’s not just reappointments of people we know who have served, it’s a lot of new people and quite a lengthy list. I don’t know even who’s on it and I think since this is for 2024, it should be getting the nod of the 2024 Council.”

Cohn said that while a formal vote wasn’t necessary, he was willing to put the matter to a Council vote. His coalition promptly supported his appointments, along with one non-member of his group, Lori Fontanes, making the vote 5-2.

Before closing that section of the meeting, Cohn weighed in on the challenge to his appointments. “People who don’t want divisiveness amaze me,” Cohn said. 

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