The New York City Council is a unicameral body consisting of 51 members, each elected from a geographic district, normally for four-year terms. Out of the 51 council districts in New York City, 10 districts are located in the borough of Manhattan (1 through 10).
Similar to Congress at the federal level, the Council are New York City’s legislative body. The Council is separate from the Mayor’s administration but an equal partner in how our City is run.
Primarily, the council serves as a check against the mayor in so called the mayor-council government model. The council monitors the performance of city agencies and makes land use decisions as well as introducing and voting on legislation having to do with all aspects of City life. The city council also has sole responsibility for approving the city budget (similar to how congress approves budget at the federal level).
The Speaker is elected by Council Members and leads the City Council in setting priorities, passing laws, and directing public money for the benefit of New Yorkers. Proposed legislation is submitted through the Speaker’s Office. Currently, Speaker Corey Johnson heads the Council.
The Majority Leader
The Majority Leader of the Council comes from the political party with the most representation. Currently, the Majority Leader is Democrat Laurie Cumbo of District 35 in Brooklyn, leading 48 democrat council members throughout the city.
The Minority Leader
The Minority Leader of the Council comes from the political party with the second most representation. Currently, the Minority Leader is Republican Steven Matteo of District 50 on Staten Island, leading 3 republican council members.
Current Council Members in Manhattan
District #1 – Battery Park City, Civic Center, Chinatown, Financial District, Little Italy, the Lower East Side, NoHo, SoHo, South Street Seaport, South Village, TriBeCa & Washington Square. Council Member: Margaret S. Chin
District #4 – Upper East Side, Carnegie Hill, Yorkville, Central Park South, Midtown East, Times Square, Koreatown, Peter Cooper Village and Stuyvesant Town, Waterside Plaza, Tudor City, Turtle Bay, Murray Hill, Sutton Place. Council Member: Keith Powers
The public advocate is a non-voting member of the New York City Council with the right to introduce and co-sponsor legislation. Prior to a 2002 charter revision, the Public Advocate was also the presiding officer of the Council.
The public advocate also serves as an ombudsman for city government, providing oversight for city agencies, investigating citizens’ complaints about city services and making proposals to address perceived shortcomings or failures of those services. These duties, worded somewhat ambiguously, are laid out in Section 24 of the City Charter.
The public advocate serves on the committee which selects the director of the New York City Independent Budget Office and appoints members to several boards and commissions, including one member of the New York City Planning Commission. The public advocate also serves as chair of the Commission of Public Information and Communication established by Section 1061 of the New York City Charter. Along with the Mayor and the Comptroller, the public advocate is one of three municipal offices elected by all the city’s voters. In the event of a vacancy or incapacity of the mayor, the public advocate is first in line to become mayor. Since 2019, former 45th District City Councilman Jumaane Williams has been serving the position.