senate Bill S1542

2013-2014 Legislative Session

Relates to the membership of the New York city water board; repealer

download bill text pdf

Sponsored By

Archive: Last Bill Status - In Committee


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor

do you support this bill?

Actions

view actions (2)
Assembly Actions - Lowercase
Senate Actions - UPPERCASE
Jan 08, 2014 referred to corporations, authorities and commissions
Jan 09, 2013 referred to corporations, authorities and commissions

S1542 - Bill Details

Current Committee:
Senate Corporations, Authorities And Commissions
Law Section:
Public Authorities Law
Laws Affected:
Rpld & add §1045-f sub 2, amd §1045-f, Pub Auth L
Versions Introduced in Previous Legislative Sessions:
2011-2012: S1527
2009-2010: S5876

S1542 - Bill Texts

view summary

Relates to the membership of the New York city water board.

view sponsor memo
BILL NUMBER:S1542

TITLE OF BILL:
An act
to amend the public authorities law, in relation to the membership of
the New York city
water board; and to repeal certain provisions of such law relating
thereto

PURPOSE:
To make changes to the composition of the New York city water board.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:

Section one of the bill would change the composition of the New York
City water board from seven appointees, all by the mayor to four
appointees by the mayor, one each by the city comptroller, public
advocate and speaker of the New York city council.

Section two makes certain technical amendments.

Section three sets forth the effective date and the process and timing
for the new appointments.

JUSTIFICATION:
The Water Board leases the City's water and sewer system from the City
and is required to set rates and collect revenues sufficient to cover
operating and debt service expenses. Board powers and
responsibilities are set forth in the statute creating the Board and
the NYC Municipal Water Finance Authority ("NYW"); the Lease between
the Board and the City; and the Financing Agreement among the Board,
the City and NYW.

Under the current statute, the Board consists of seven members
appointed to two year terms by the Mayor. The Mayor also appoints the
Chairperson from among the members. If not reappointed, a member
serves until replaced. Events of the past three years have
demonstrated that this sole Mayoral control of the Water Board does
not serve the best interests of the public.

In the FY 2008 - FY 2010 rate-setting cycles, three successive
double-digit increases in water and sewer rates were imposed.
Fundamental questions about the factors contributing to such
increases were raised by Water Board members, civic and affordable
housing organizations, and elected officials.

These concerns came to a head in the FY 2009 rate-setting process in
May 2008. In response, then-DEP Commissioner Emily Lloyd committed to
conduct an independent in-depth study of the overall rate structure,
and to have the study completed in time to inform the Board's FY 2010
rate
setting. The Water Board agreed to pay for this study out of water and
sewer fee revenues.

Also in 2008, another issue emerged that drew public and Water Board
attention, that of gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale formation that


underlies, in part, the Catskill-Delaware watershed. This drilling
incorporates a new technique called hydraulic fracturing that
involves toxic chemicals and very high volumes of water. DEP's
response to this new threat to the watershed was to commission a
study with an indeterminate due date. Several members of the Board
expressed concern that DEP was not moving aggressively enough to
protect the watershed from the risks of this drilling, which could
undercut the Filtration Avoidance Determination and the hundreds of
millions of dollars the City has spent to protect the watershed.

Subsequent to these two instances of Board members challenging City
actions, three of the Board members who had expressed concerns about
City policy resigned from the Board, one of them after having been
replaced as Chairman after many years of service. Under the new Board
leadership, no effort has been made to hold the DEP to its commitment
to complete the rate study, which as a result was not been completed
on the promised timetable and was not available in the Water Board's
2010 rate-setting process. The DEP study on gas drilling is also
incomplete after almost a year.

These actions and outcomes demonstrate the inadequacy of the Water
Board's current membership structure to safeguard the interests of
ratepayers and the water system. With full Mayoral control and
composition, the Board is merely an instrument of City policy rather
than an independent actor. This affects not only the decisions of the
Board but the very process by which decisions are reached - there is
no independent questioning, monitoring or accountability imposed on
the City.

This bill would address the Board's lack of true independence by
adding appointees of other City-wide elected officials to the Board.
It would not expand the Board, but rather, replace 3 of the 7 Mayoral
appointees with appointees of the City Comptroller, City Council
Speaker, and
Public Advocate. While the Mayor would continue to appoint a majority,
these new members would ensure that new and ongoing challenges would
be addressed freely and impartially.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
2009: Referred to Rules
2010: Referred to Corporations, Authorities & Commissions
2011: Referred to Corporations, Authorities & Commissions
2012: Referred to Corporations, Authorities Commissions

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.

EFFECTIVE DATE:
Immediately, with provisions.

view full text
download pdf
                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                  1542

                       2013-2014 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                               (PREFILED)

                             January 9, 2013
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sen. PERKINS -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
  printed to be committed to the Committee on Corporations,  Authorities
  and Commissions

AN  ACT  to amend the public authorities law, in relation to the member-
  ship of  the  New  York  city  water  board;  and  to  repeal  certain
  provisions of such law relating thereto

  THE  PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section 1. Subdivision 2 of section 1045-f of the  public  authorities
law is REPEALED and a new subdivision 2 is added to read as follows:
  2.  A. THE WATER BOARD SHALL CONSIST OF SEVEN MEMBERS TO BE APPOINTED,
AS FOLLOWS:
  (I) FOUR MEMBERS APPOINTED BY THE MAYOR;
  (II) ONE MEMBER APPOINTED BY THE NEW YORK CITY COMPTROLLER;
  (III) ONE MEMBER APPOINTED BY THE PUBLIC ADVOCATE FOR THE CITY OF  NEW
YORK; AND
  (IV) ONE MEMBER APPOINTED BY THE SPEAKER OF THE NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL.
  B.  TERMS  OF  OFFICE  OF THE MEMBERS SHALL BE TWO YEARS. AT LEAST ONE
MEMBER APPOINTED BY THE MAYOR SHALL HAVE EXPERIENCE IN  THE  SCIENCE  OF
WATER RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT. NO MEMBER SHALL BE A DIRECTOR OF THE AUTHOR-
ITY.  THE  CHAIRMAN  SHALL BE ELECTED BY MAJORITY VOTE OF THE MEMBERS OF
THE BOARD. ALL MEMBERS SHALL CONTINUE TO HOLD OFFICE UNTIL THEIR SUCCES-
SORS ARE APPOINTED AND QUALIFIED.  VACANCIES  SHALL  BE  FILLED  IN  THE
MANNER  PROVIDED  FOR ORIGINAL APPOINTMENTS. VACANCIES, OCCURRING OTHER-
WISE THAN BY EXPIRATION OF TERM OF OFFICE, SHALL BE FILLED IN  THE  SAME
MANNER AS ORIGINAL APPOINTMENTS FOR THE UNEXPIRED TERMS.
  S  2.  Subdivisions  3,  4,  5  and  7 of section 1045-f of the public
authorities law, as added by chapter  513  of  the  laws  of  1984,  are
amended to read as follows:

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD04227-01-3

S. 1542                             2

  3.  Each  member of the water board shall be entitled to reimbursement
for his OR HER actual and necessary expenses incurred in the performance
of his OR HER official duties and a per diem allowance  of  one  hundred
fifty  dollars  when  rendering  service  as a member; provided that the
aggregate of such per diem allowance to any one member in any one fiscal
year of the board shall not exceed the sum of five thousand dollars.
  4. Notwithstanding any inconsistent provision of law, general, special
or  local, or any city charter, no officer or employee of the city shall
be deemed to have forfeited or shall forfeit his office or employment or
any benefits provided under the retirement and social security  law,  by
reason  of  his  OR  HER  acceptance  of  membership on the water board,
provided, however, that a member of the board  who  holds  other  public
office  or  employment  shall  receive  no  additional  compensation for
services rendered pursuant to this  title,  but  shall  be  entitled  to
reimbursement  for  his OR HER actual and necessary expenses incurred in
the performance of such services.
  5. The [mayor] APPOINTING AUTHORITY may remove [any member] HIS OR HER
APPOINTEE for inefficiency, neglect of  duty  or  misconduct  in  office
after  giving  such member a copy of the charges against such member and
an opportunity to be heard and defended, in person or by  counsel,  upon
not  less  than ten days' notice. If any member shall be so removed, the
[mayor] APPOINTING AUTHORITY shall file in the office of  the  clerk  of
the  city  a  complete statement of charges against such member, and the
[mayor's] APPOINTING  AUTHORITY'S  findings  thereon,  together  with  a
complete record of the proceedings.
  7.  A  majority  of  the members of the water board shall constitute a
quorum for the transaction of any business or the exercise of any  power
of the board. The water board shall have power to act by the affirmative
vote  of  not  less than a majority of the members in office at any duly
held meeting thereof. The water board may delegate to one or more of its
members or its officers, agents and employees, such powers and duties as
it may deem proper. Any member who is an officer of  the  city  may,  by
written  instrument,  filed  with  and approved as to form by the board,
designate another city officer to perform in [his] THE MEMBER'S  absence
his  OR  HER  duties under this title. The term "member" as used in this
section shall include such persons so  designated  as  provided  herein.
The  designation  of  any such person shall be deemed temporary only and
shall not affect the civil service or retirement rights of the person so
designated.
  S 3. This act shall take effect immediately, provided that  the  first
three  vacancies after the effective date of this act shall be filled by
the New York city comptroller, the public advocate for the city  of  New
York  and the speaker of the New York city council, respectively, pursu-
ant to section one of this act.

Comments

Open Legislation comments facilitate discussion of New York State legislation. All comments are subject to moderation. Comments deemed off-topic, commercial, campaign-related, self-promotional; or that contain profanity or hate speech; or that link to sites outside of the nysenate.gov domain are not permitted, and will not be published. Comment moderation is generally performed Monday through Friday.

By contributing or voting you agree to the Terms of Participation and verify you are over 13.