Guide to the New York City Charter Commission Proposals

Maggie Barrows
October 22, 2019

New York City is having a Charter Revision Commission this fall, and you can give your input on Election Day, November 5 -- and during the city's first ever early voting period, from October 26 to November 3.

The New York City Charter is the City’s constitution, which creates a framework for our government. The City Charter shapes how tax dollars are spent, how decisions are made about changes to neighborhoods, the power given to elected officials, and more. A variety of proposals are on the ballot this fall.


  • Amend the timeline for redistricting to ensure that district lines are drawn in a timely manner for future primary City Council elections.
  • Use ranked choice voting in primary and special elections for City elected officials such as the Mayor and City Council members.
  • Extend the time from 45 to 80 days between when an elected official leaves office during their term and a special election is held.

Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB):

  • Add two members to the CCRB board, one appointed by the Public Advocate and one jointly appointed by the Mayor and the Speaker of the City Council (who would also serve as Chair).
  • Require the Police Commissioner to provide an explanation to the CCRB when they deviate from the CCRB’s disciplinary recommendations.
  • Authorize subpoena power for the CCRB Executive Director.
  • Allow the CCRB to investigate potentially false official statements made by an officer under investigation and to recommend discipline, if appropriate.
  • Guarantee the CCRB budget.

Ethics and Governance:

  • Prohibit elected officials and senior appointed officials from lobbying the city government for two years after leaving city service.
  • Replace two members of the Conflicts of Interest Board currently appointed by the Mayor with one appointed by the Comptroller and one by the Public Advocate.
  • Prohibit COIB board members from participating in campaigns for local elected offices, and reduce the maximum amount of money that they can contribute.
  • Require the Citywide Minority/Women-owned Business Enterprises (M/WBE) Director report directly to the Mayor.
  • Require advice and consent—a system of checks and balances —by the City Council for the Mayor’s appointment of the Corporation Counsel.

City Budget:

  • Allow the City to use a “rainy day fund” to save money for use in future years (state law permitting).
  • Guarantee the budgets for the Public Advocate and Borough Presidents.
  • Require the Mayor to submit the revenue estimate to the City Council by May 25 (instead of June 5).
  • Require the Mayor to submit budget modifications to the City Council within 30 days of updating the city’s financial plan.

Land Use (ULURP):

  • Give affected Community Boards, Borough Presidents, and Borough Boards advance notice of ULURP applications by requiring the Department of City Planning to provide a detailed project summary 30 days before the application is certified for public review.
  • Give Community Boards additional time during the summer to review ULURP applications.

Find out more about the Charter Commission and get details about the ballot proposals in other languages