Last week, Crain’s put out the names of two people from Brooklyn vying for the Finance Committee Chairmanship: Lew Fidler and Domenic Recchia.
There’s apparently another name to add to the mix: Simcha Felder, who I’m told has sent word to the speaker that he’s interested in the position.
The current Finance chairman is David Weprin, of Queens, who lost a primary bid for city comptroller. The notion that Queens will be able to hang onto the Finance chairmanship while also holding another plum job–the chairmanship of the Land Use Committee–seems unlikely. (Land Use is being vacated since its current occupant, Melinda Katz, also ran unsuccessfully for city comptroller.) Queens lost three seats to Republicans, and the need to placate members in other boroughs, mainly in Brooklyn and the Bronx, has been growing. The Queens members got those plum positions because its voting block, combined with members from Manhattan, helped propell Christine Quinn into the speaker’s position.
Fidler, Recchia and Fidler each have public and private sector experience that would easily justify their selection. But they each also have distinct and powerful sets of political allies.
Fidler is, arguably, the one closest to the speaker. It’s not uncommon for calls into her office to result in a response from Fidler. He’s also close with Brooklyn Democratic County Leader Vito Lopez, a power broker whose influence can’t be ignored.
Recchia is also close with Lopez. But he’s close with Mayor Michael Bloomberg, too. When the mayor signed the term limits extension bill, Recchia was sitting right next to him. Fidler is one of Bloomberg’s biggest critics, which would make budget negotiations extremely entertaining. Having Recchia in that spot would be, theoretically, less of a headache for the mayor.
Felder would be the moderate choice. He is close with Bloomberg–he campaigned with him–but sometimes goes off-message (Five-minute grace period, funding local groups.) Felder also has a good enough relationship with Quinn, considering he walked out of the room when the Council voted for her as speaker in 2005.
UPDATE: Please also see Adam Lisberg’s Sunday piece, which I neglected to mention, on said jockeying.