A borough president is an elective office in each of the five boroughs of New York City. Borough presidents currently have little real power within the New York City government and generally serve as ceremonial leaders who advocate for their boroughs on key issues.
Borough Presidents advise the Mayor, comment on all land-use items in their borough, advocate borough needs in the annual municipal budget process, appoint Community Boards, chair the Borough Boards, and serve as ex officio members of various boards and committees. They generally act as advocates of their boroughs at the mayoral agencies, the city council, the New York State government, public corporations and private businesses. Their regulations are compiled in title 45 of the New York City Rules.
- 1 Reasons for establishment
- 2 Role
- 3 Borough Boards
- 4 Community Boards
- 5 Office holders
- 6 See also
- 7 Notes
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Reasons for establishment
Prior to January 1, 1898, the city was coterminous with New York County, which at that time comprised Manhattan and the Bronx. On that date, Boroughs of Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, the Bronx and Richmond (Staten Island) were created. Brooklyn was coterminous with Kings County, the Boroughs of Manhattan and the Bronx with New York County, and the Borough of Richmond with Richmond County. Queens County included the borough of Queens together with all of what today is known as Nassau County. The boroughs assumed most county functions, but did not replace them.
The offices of borough president were created by charter in 1898 with the formation of the City of Greater New York, to preserve (in a later writer's words) “local pride and affection for the old municipalities” after consolidation.
On January 1, 1899, Queens County was partitioned. The easternmost three towns, with an area of 280 square miles (730 km2), were transferred to form Nassau County.
On April 19, 1912, the New York State Legislature separated the County of Bronx (which began separate activity in January 1914) from the County of New York, which now became coextensive with the Borough of Manhattan.
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To balance local authority along with the centralization of government, the Office of Borough President was established with a functional administrative role derived by having a vote on the New York City Board of Estimate, which was responsible for assisting in the formulation of the city's budget and controlling land use, contract, and franchise powers. The Board of Estimate consisted of the Mayor, the Comptroller and the President of the New York City Council, each of whom were elected citywide and had two votes, and the five Borough presidents, each having one vote.
In 1989, the Supreme Court of the United States, in Board of Estimate of City of New York v. Morris (489 U.S. 688) declared the New York City Board of Estimate unconstitutional on the grounds that the city's most populous borough (Brooklyn) had no greater effective representation on the board than the city's least populous borough (Staten Island), this arrangement being an unconstitutional violation of the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause pursuant to the high court's 1964 "one man, one vote" decision.
The city charter was revised in 1990 and the Board of Estimate was abolished. The Office of Borough President was retained but with greatly reduced power. The borough budget reverted to the mayor or the New York City Council. A Borough President has a small discretionary budget to spend on projects within the borough. The last significant power of the borough presidents—to appoint a member of the New York City Board of Education —was abolished, with the board, on June 30, 2002.
The two major remaining appointments of a Borough President are one member of the city Planning Commission and one member of the Panel for Educational Policy. Borough Presidents generally adopt specific projects to promote while in office; but, since 1990, Borough Presidents have been seen mainly as the ceremonial leaders of their boroughs. Officially, they advise the Mayor on issues relating to each borough, comment on all land-use items in their borough, advocate borough needs in the annual municipal budget process, appoint Community Boards, chair the Borough Boards, and serve as ex officio members of various boards and committees. They generally act as advocates of their boroughs at the mayoral agencies, the City Council, the New York State government, public corporations and private businesses.
Borough presidents are elected to four-year terms; and can serve three consecutive terms (12 years) before term limits.
As of 2014, the borough presidents are:
|The Bronx||Ruben Diaz Jr.||Democratic|
|Staten Island||James Oddo||Republican|
Each Borough has a Borough Board consisting of the Borough President, the City Council members from the borough, and the chair of each of the borough's Community Boards. The Borough Boards meet monthly to serve the needs of the local communities. They may hold public hearings, make inquiries into the performance of public services, and make recommendations about city owned land use and sales within the borough.
New York City is divided into 59 administrative districts, each served by a Community Board. Community Boards are local representative bodies that serve as advocates for New York City residents and communities. Each board has up to 50 voting members, with one half of the membership appointed each year for two-year terms; there are no term limits. Additionally, all City Council members whose council districts cover part of a community district are ex-officio board members and may participate in all board activities. However, council members may not vote on board issues. Borough presidents appoint the voting Community Board members, with half of the appointees nominated by council members representing the district in proportion to the percentage of the community board's population they represent. Broadly assigned by the city charter to "Consider the needs of the district which it serves," the boards have been limited in their ability by ineffective local communication channels, minuscule budgets and archaic technology. As a result, many residents have concluded that they have little impact on the operation of their communities or their lives.
Bronx Borough Presidents
|#||Borough President||Party||Term[n 1]|
|1||Louis M. Haffen (1854–1935)||Democratic||1898–1909|
|2||John F. Murray (1862–1928)||Democratic||1909–1910|
|3||Cyrus C. Miller (1866–1956)||Democratic||1910–1914|
|4||Douglas Mathewson (?1870–1948)||Republican/Fusion||1914–1918|
|5||Henry Bruckner (1871–1942)||Democratic||1918–1934|
|6||James J. Lyons (1890–1966)||Democratic||1934–1962|
|7||Joseph F. Periconi (1910–1994)||Republican/Liberal||1962–1966|
|8||Herman Badillo (1929-2014)||Democratic||1966–1970|
|9||Robert Abrams1 (born 1938)||Democratic||1970–1978|
|11||Fernando Ferrer3 (born 1950)||Democratic||1987–2002|
|12||Adolfo Carrión, Jr. (born 1961)||Democratic||2002–2009|
|13||Ruben Diaz, Jr. (born 1973)||Democratic||2009-|
Notes: 1. In November 1978 elected as New York Attorney General 2. On January 5, 1979, elected to fill vacancy; resigned on March 11, 1987 3. On April 15, 1987, elected to fill vacancy
Brooklyn Borough Presidents
|1||Edward M. Grout (1861–1931)||Democratic||1898–1901|
|2||J. Edward Swanstrom (1853–1911)||Fusion||1902–1903|
|3||Martin W. Littleton (1872–1934)||Democratic-Independent||1904–1905|
|4||Bird S. Coler (1867–1941)||Municipal Ownership League||1906–1909|
|5||Alfred E. Steers (c. 1861–1948)||Democratic-Independent||1910–1913|
|6||Lewis H. Pounds (1861–1947)||Republican/Fusion||1913–1917|
|7||Edward J. Riegelmann (1870–1941)||Democratic||1918–1924|
|8||Joseph A. Guider (1870–1926)||Democratic||1925–1926|
|9||James J. Byrne (1863–1930)||Democratic||1926–1930|
|10||Henry Hesterberg (c. 1882–1950)||Democratic||1930–1933|
|11||Raymond V. Ingersoll (1875–1940)||Democratic/Fusion||1934–1940|
|12||John Cashmore (1895–1961)||Democratic||1940–1961|
|13||John F. Hayes (1915–2001)||Democratic||1961|
|14||Abe Stark (1894–1972)||Democratic||1962–1970|
|15||Sebastian Leone (born||Democratic||1970–1976|
|16||Howard Golden (born 1925)||Democratic||1977–2001|
|17||Marty Markowitz (born 1945)||Democratic||2002–2013|
Manhattan Borough Presidents
- Before 1874, when it annexed part of the Bronx, New York City was no greater in extent than the present Borough of Manhattan. For New York's mayors before 1898, see List of mayors of New York City.
|#||Borough President||Party||Term[n 2]
|1||Augustus W. Peters (1844–1898)||Democratic||1898–1899|
|2||James J. Coogan (1845–1915)||Democratic||1899–1901|
|3||Jacob A. Cantor (1854–1921)||Democratic||1902–1903|
|4||John F. Ahearn (1853–1920)||Democratic||1904–1909|
|-||John Cloughen (acting) (died 1911)||Democratic||Dec. 1909 (4 days)|
|5||George McAneny1 (1869–1953)||Fusion/Democratic||1910–1913|
|6||Marcus M. Marks (1858–1934)||Republican||1914–1917|
|7||Frank Dowling2 (c. 1865–1919)||Democratic||1918–1919|
|8||Edward F. Boyle (c.1876–1943)||Democratic||1919|
|-||Michael Loughman (acting) (c.1867–1937)||Democratic||1919|
|9||Henry H. Curran3||Republican||1920–1921|
|10||Julius Miller (1880–1955)||Democratic||1922–1930|
|11||Samuel Levy (1876–1953)||Democratic||1931–1937|
|12||Stanley M. Isaacs (1882–1962)||Republican||1938–1941|
|13||Edgar J. Nathan (1891–1965)||Republican||1942–1945|
|14||Hugo Rogers (1899–1974)||Democratic||1946–1949|
|15||Robert F. Wagner, Jr.4 (1910–1991)||Democratic||1950–1953|
|16||Hulan E. Jack5 (1906–1986)||Democratic||1954–1961|
|17||Edward R. Dudley6 (1911–2005)||Democratic||1962–1964|
|-||Earl Louis Brown (acting)7 (1903–1980)||Democratic||1965|
|18||Constance Baker Motley8 (1921–2005)||Democratic||1965–1966|
|19||Percy Sutton3, 9 (1920–2009)||Democratic||1966–1977|
|20||Andrew Stein3 (born 1945)||Democratic||1978–1985|
|21||David Dinkins10, 3 (born 1927)||Democratic||1986–1989|
|22||Ruth Messinger3 (born 1941)||Democratic||1990–1997|
|23||C. Virginia Fields3 (born 1946)||Democratic||1998–2005|
|24||Scott Stringer (born 1960)||Democratic||2006–2013|
|25||Gale Brewer (born 1951)||Democratic||2014–|
- † Terms begin in January and end in December where not otherwise indicated.
- c. (circa) approximately
- 1. President of the Board of Aldermen of the City of New York (first in succession to the Mayoralty), 1914–1916; New York City Comptroller, 1933
- 2. President of the Board of Aldermen, 1917
- 3. unsuccessful candidate for Mayor of the City of New York
- 4. Mayor of New York City, 1954–1965
- 5. removed from office January 16, 1961
- 6. on January 31, 1961, elected to fill vacancy; in November 1961, elected to a full term; in November 1964 elected to the Supreme Court; resigned on December 31, 1964
- 7. Deputy Borough President, acted as President between Dudley's resignation and Motley's election
- 8. on February 23, 1965, elected to fill vacancy; in November 1965 elected to full term; resigned upon taking office as federal judge
- 9. on September 13, 1966, elected to fill vacancy; in November 1966 elected to remainder of the term; then re-elected twice
- 10. Mayor of New York City, 1990–1993
Queens Borough Presidents
|#||Borough President||Party||Term[n 2]|
|1||Frederick Bowley (1851–1916)||Democratic||1898–1901|
|2||Joseph Cassidy (c.1866–1920)||Democratic||1902–1905|
|3||Joseph Bermel (1860–1921)||Democratic||1906–1908|
|4||Lawrence Gresser (1851–1935)||Democratic||1908–1911|
|5||Maurice E. Connolly (1881–1935)||Democratic||1911–1928|
|6||Bernard M. Patten||Democratic||1928|
|7||George U. Harvey (c. 1881–1946)||Republican||1929–1941|
|8||James A. Burke (1890–1965)||Democratic||1942–1949|
|9||Maurice A. FitzGerald (1897–1951)||Democratic||1950–1951|
|10||Joseph F. Mafera (1895–1967)||Democratic||1951|
|11||James A. Lundy (1903–1973)||Republican||1952–1957|
|12||James J. Crisona (1907–2003)||Democratic||1958–1959|
|13||John T. Clancy (1903–1985)||Democratic||1959–1962|
|14||Mario J. Cariello (1907–1985)||Democratic||1963–1968|
|15||Sidney Leviss (1917–2007)||Democratic||1969–1971|
|16||Donald Manes1 (1934–1986)||Democratic||1971–1986|
|17||Claire Shulman2 (born 1926)||Democratic||1986–2001|
|18||Helen M. Marshall (born 1929)||Democratic||2002–2013|
|19||Melinda Katz (born 1965)||Democratic||2014–|
- c. (circa) approximately
- 1. Stepped down as borough president in February after attempting suicide while under suspicion of corruption. Manes committed suicide on March 13, 1986.
- 2. First woman to hold this position
Richmond/Staten Island Borough Presidents
In 1975, the Borough of Richmond formally renamed itself the Borough of Staten Island.
|#||Borough President||Party||Term[n 2]|
|1||George Cromwell (1860–1934)||Republican||1898–1913|
|2||Charles J. McCormack (died 1915)||Democratic||1914–1915|
|3||Calvin D. Van Name (1857–1924)||Democratic||1915–1921|
|4||Matthew J. Cahill (died 1922)||Democratic||1922|
|5||John A. Lynch||Democratic||1922–1933|
|6||Joseph A. Palma (1889–1969)||Republican||1934–1945|
|7||Cornelius A. Hall (1889–1953)||Democratic||1946–1953|
|8||Edward G. Baker (1906–1971)||Democratic||1953–1954|
|9||Albert V. Maniscalco (1908–1998)||Democratic||1955–1965|
|10||Robert T. Connor (1919–2009)||Republican||1966–1977|
|11||Anthony Gaeta (1927–1988)||Democratic||1978–1984|
|12||Ralph J. Lamberti (born 1933)||Democratic||1984–1989|
|13||Guy V. Molinari (born 1928)||Republican||1990–2001|
|14||James Molinaro (born 1931)||Conservative||2002–2013|
|15||James Oddo (born 1966)||Republican||2014–|
- Government of New York City
- Government and politics of the Bronx
- Government of Staten Island
- New York City Borough President elections, 2013
- List of New York City Borough Halls and municipal buildings
- Boro timelines: Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island
- Terms begin and end in January where the month is not specified.
- Terms begin in January and end in December where not otherwise indicated.
- New York. Laws of New York; 1897, 120th Session, Chapter 378; Section 2; Page 2.
- Jackson, Kenneth T. (1995). The Encyclopedia of New York City. New Haven, Connecticut: The New York Historical Society and Yale University Press. pp. 129–130. ISBN 0-300-05536-6.
- New York. Laws of New York; 1899, 121st Session, Chapter 588; Section 1; Page 1336.
- New York. Laws of New York; 1912, 135th Session, Chapter 548; Section 1; Page 1352.
- Cornell Law School Supreme Court Collection: Board of Estimate of City of New York v. Morris, accessed June 12, 2006
- 'A champion for Brooklyn': Pols have raised big bucks for race to become borough president By Lore Croghan (New York Daily News) January 14, 2013
- "NEW YORK CITY CHARTER, City of New York: As Amended Through July 2004" (PDF). nyc.gov. Government of New York City.