(New York, NY) — On the last two days of the 2018 legislative session, June 19th and June 20th, the New York State Senate confirmed Martha Gallo and Anthony Kendall — both Battery Park City residents — to the Battery Park City Authority Board. Ms. Gallo and Mr. Kendall were nominated by Governor Andrew Cuomo in accordance with laws supported by Senator Brian Kavanagh, Assemblymembers Deborah Glick and Yuh-Line Niou, and former Senator Daniel Squadron and enacted in December 2017 and earlier this month that require at least two members of the seven-person board to be residents of Battery Park City.
On June 11th, Senator Kavanagh, Assemblymembers Glick and Niou, Congressman Jerrold Nadler, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, and Council Member Margaret Chin wrote to Governor Cuomo, urging him to appoint residents promptly. Ms. Gallo and Mr. Kendall were nominated to replace Board Chair and CEO Dennis Mehiel and Boardmember Hector Batista, who were both serving with expired terms.
“In the decades since it was created, the area under the Battery Park City Authority’s purview has been transformed from a construction project into a flourishing neighborhood — but the Authority’s governance structure hasn’t evolved at the same pace. Battery Park City residents deserve a real say in decisions that affect their community. That’s why I’m proud I could work with Assemblymembers Glick and Niou, former Senator Squadron, Governor Cuomo, our elected colleagues, and members of this community to create a statutory guarantee that two residents will have seats at the table,” State Senator Brian Kavanagh said. “Today, we’ve made good on the promise of that legislation. I’m sure Ms. Gallo and Mr. Kendall will bring an important perspective to the Board’s discussions. I’d also like to thank Mr. Mehiel and Mr. Batista for their work on behalf of Battery Park City, and acknowledge their great service to our community.”
“Ms. Gallo and Mr. Kendall will provide a critical local perspective to the BPCA and I congratulate them on their appointment to the Board,” said Congressman Jerrold Nadler. “In addition, I want to thank my colleagues in the legislature who worked so tirelessly to ensure that legislation was passed that required at least two local residents on the seven member BPCA Board. It was imperative that Battery Park City residents would have a voice on the Board and in the decisions that directly impact them.”
"Battery Park City residents have long deserved voices speaking for them on the Battery Park City Authority Board," said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. "I'm pleased at the appointment of these two new members and hope it will spur further transparency and community consultation when the Authority makes decisions that affect this huge but tight-knit neighborhood."
“For years, I have stood beside residents of Battery Park City to advocate for more community representation on the Board of the Battery Park City Authority in order to have a greater voice in their community,” said Assemblymember Deborah J. Glick. “I am pleased that Governor Cuomo has nominated two individuals with long ties to the community who will also add much needed diversity to the Board. I am thrilled they have received Senate confirmation. I thank Senator Kavanagh and Assemblymember Niou for their leadership and support.”
"Battery Park City residents have fought for years to secure community voices on the BPCA. The two recent appointments to the Authority are steps in the right direction, but we must continue to push for a board that is fully representative of the community it represents,” Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou said. “I thank my colleagues in the Assembly and Senate and community members for their tireless work and advocacy on this issue."
"As a result of the community’s longstanding fight for representation to secure a real voice in the future of their neighborhood, I am proud to join my elected colleagues to welcome Martha Gallo and Anthony Kendall, two Battery Park City residents, to the Battery Park City Authority Board,” said Council Member Margaret S. Chin. “This victory marks a huge step in achieving true resident representation in our local democracy, and now more than ever, leaders in all levels of government must work together to push forward in our efforts to preserve affordability for families and seniors, ensure the safety of our children, and build a more resilient and welcoming neighborhood. I thank my colleagues in the State Legislature and all the advocates at the Democracy for BPC coalition for their extraordinary partnership on this issue.”
“Residents of Battery Park City are excited about the appointment of two of our own, Martha and Anthony,” said Manhattan CB1 Chair Anthony Notaro. “They are accomplished professionals and their willingness to serve is gratifying. We thank Dennis and Hector for their leadership and look forward to working with B.J. in his new role of CEO. BPC has been called ‘THE BEST SMALL TOWN IN THE BIG APPLE,’ and the BPCA board composition makes it even more so.”
Justine Cuccia, a co-founder of Democracy for Battery Park City and Co-Chair of the Manhattan CB1 Battery Park City Committee, said: “The people of Battery Park City have been struggling for years to gain a voice in decisions that affect all of our lives, and a meaningful role in how we are governed. As a result of the strong advocacy of our local elected officials, the Governor has appointed BPC-resident Anthony Kendall as well as former BPC Authority board member and BPC-resident Martha Gallo. With BPC facing gravely serious challenges like resiliency, affordability, and the 2069 expiration of the Ground Lease, this is not the end of our struggle, but is a step forward.”
“This is a remarkable time for the community in Battery Park City, and I am delighted to finally see two members of the BPCA Board be chosen from the local community. The neighborhood is at a crucial time to maintain the mission of sustaining a balanced community. It is encouraging that these two appointments have been approved so quickly after the legislation was passed,” said Tammy Meltzer, Manhattan CB1 Secretary and Chair of the Battery Park City Committee. “My greatest hope is that the Governor will work with the community and our local elected officials to develop a list of more residents who are willing to serve similar to his partnership with the Roosevelt Island Community. Most importantly, none of this would be possible without the tireless efforts of State Senator Kavanagh and Assemblymembers Deborah Glick and Yuh-Line Niou and Council Woman Margaret Chin.”
Ms. Gallo is Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer at AIG and lives on South End Avenue in Battery Park City. Mr. Kendall is the Chairman and CEO of Mitchell & Titus, the nation’s largest minority controlled accounting and consulting firm, and lives on West Street in Battery Park City. Mr. Mehiel served on the BPCA Board for six years as both Chair and CEO. Mr. Batista served on the Board for the past three years.
In June 2017, the New York State Legislature passed a bill sponsored by then-Senator Daniel Squadron and Assemblymember Deborah Glick that requires at least two members of the seven-person Battery Park City Authority Board to be residents of Battery Park City. A second bill which makes technical changes to the law as part of an agreement to give effect to the requirement, was sponsored by Senator Kavanagh and Assemblymember Deborah Glick. Senator Kavanagh and Assemblymember Glick and Niou have worked over the last six months to ensure two residents would be appointed to the Board before the legislative session ended.