Brooklyn lawmaker quits post for Freelancers Union, staff find out through tweet

Councilman Rafael Espinal during a Jan. 30, 2019 candidate’s forum for NYC Public Advocate. (Photo by Mark Hallum)

Brooklyn Councilman Rafael Espinal is handing in his resignation letter to take a job with the Freelancers Union — and it could not as more of a shock to his employees.

Those serving in his office learned he would depart Friday, but found out about his new gig over Twitter. Espinal’s resignation is immediate, and a special election is likely to occur in or about May.

That’s when most of his staff may lose their positions. (The City Council Speaker’s office assumes management of a City Council district office whenever a seat is vacated until voters elect a successor.)

“We are all very unsure of what is happening and our futures. We have no idea about the resignation letter,” a staffer told amNewYork Metro on the condition of anonymity. “I literally found out that he’s going to the Freelancers Union today, on Twitter. So I don’t know… I barely know anything.”

Though NY1’s Gloria Pazmino posted that Espinal – term limited in 2021 – would take a job with the Freelancers Union, his resignation letter only listed off accomplishments in his six years in City Council. It offered no confirmation of his new vocation or explanation for the suddenness of his exit. 

Espinal is just one of the majority of council members who are term-limited in 2021 and seeking either another elected office or job opportunities elsewhere. Last year, he was one of dozens of candidates competing in the public advocate special election after Letitia James resigned to become the new state attorney general; Jumaane Williams won the job last February.

Just days ago, Espinal dropped out of the Democratic primary for Brooklyn borough president.

Espinal’s district covers the neighborhoods of Cypress Hills, Bushwick, Brownsville, Ocean Hill and East New York.

The Freelancers Union is a nonprofit organization which bills itself as “promoting the interests of independent workers through advocacy, education, and services.”

This is a developing story that will be updated as more information is forthcoming.