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How you can influence changes to New York City's charter

A report outlines several recommendations, including giving subpoena power to the public advocate.

The Charter Revision Commission is asking for feedback

The Charter Revision Commission is asking for feedback on recommendations for how to change the city charter. Photo Credit: Samantha Wieder

New Yorkers can help shape revisions to the city charter that will likely be on their ballots in November at a series of hearings beginning Tuesday.

In an 80-page “Preliminary Staff Report,” released last week, several recommendations were made to the commission on how to change the charter to help make government more effective, accountable or efficient and encourage participation from New Yorkers. 

The recommendations under consideration are based on testimony from the public and experts. They include giving the city’s public advocate subpoena power, establishing ranked choice voting in city elections and giving the City Council and public advocate the ability to appoint members to the Civilian Complaint Review Board. Other ideas had to do with the land use approval process, the budget and the job of the city’s borough presidents. 

The ideas in the report “really require a charter revision and cannot be done simply by legislation or by rule of the mayor,” Charter Revision Commission Chair Gail Benjamin said.

The commission, which has 15 members appointed by the mayor and other elected officials, is hosting five hearings, one in each borough, to get feedback from the public on the recommendations. It will then vote in June on a resolution and again in July to adopt the final proposals that will be submitted to the City Clerk and appear on the ballot in November.

The commission is the first to do a top-to-bottom review of the charter in nearly 30 years.

See below for the public hearing schedule.


When: April 30 at 6 p.m.

Where: Jamaica Performing Arts Center, 153-10 Jamaica Ave.


When: May 2 at 6 p.m.

Where: Brooklyn Borough Hall, 209 Joralemon St. 


When: May 7 at 6 p.m.

Where: Lovinger Theatre at Lehman College, 250 Bedford Park Blvd. West


When: May 9 at 6 p.m. 

Where: Council Chambers at City Hall

Staten Island

When: May 14 at 6 p.m. 

Where: Williamson Theatre at the College of Staten Island, 2800 Victory Blvd.


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