Is Ridge’s councilman a no-show? Or is his challenger a know-nothing?
The Bay Ridge Republican Council hopeful blasted the Democratic incumbent at a recent debate for collecting extra pay for chairing a committee the challenger contended hasn’t met in years — but the councilman countered with evidence proving him wrong.
GOPer John Quaglione slammed Councilman Vincent Gentile (D–Bay Ridge) in an Oct. 22 debate for accepting an extra $4,000 a year in taxpayer money for heading up the Select Committee on Libraries. Quaglione pointed out that Gentile had opposed such bonuses before 2006 — when the councilman started getting one — and then claimed that the committee had not met since May 2009.
“Do you have any idea how hard people work for $4,000, people on minimum wage?” demanded the aide to state Sen. Marty Golden.
Quaglione pointed to the City Council’s main page for the Libraries Select Committee — part of the larger Cultural Affairs Committee — which last recorded a meeting four years ago, on May 28, 2009.
But Gentile said he had earned the additional pay because his committee had, in fact, met several times this year and held many rallies against library closures.
“As usual, you don’t do your homework, John,” Gentile said. “If you put in the work, you deserve the compensation.”
Gentile’s office provided several Council documents describing meetings he held in May and September this year. And an online search yielded records of three meetings this year on the City Council website — even though the meetings are not listed on the Libraries Select Committee’s page.
Gentile is the only member of the select committee, though it often convenes jointly with the larger Cultural Affairs committee. Gentile and Councilman Charles Barron (D–East New York) were the only senior councilman not granted a full committee chairmanship when Speaker Quinn handed them out in 2010. But the Ridge rep has promised that he will be part of the Council’s leadership if re-elected — and possibly even the next speaker — as he will be the longest-serving member of the legislative body.