New York, New York – City Council Resolution 115 to support allowing 16- and 17-year-olds to serve on their local community boards passed through the City Council committee on Governmental Relations on Tuesday, June 9th. The successful vote for resolution, co-sponsored by Council Members Kallos, Torres, Levine and Vacca, and introduced at the request of Manhattan Borough President Brewer, signals New York City’s support of Senate bill S04142, sponsored by Senator Andrew Lanza and Assembly bill A02448 sponsored by Assembly Member Nily Rozic which would amend the Public Officers Law and City Charter to allow youth to serve.
“We need to do more to provide meaningful opportunities for young people to participate in the civic life of our city.” Said Council Member Ritchie Torres, the youngest member of the New York City Council. “Sixteen and seventeen year olds can hold jobs and pay taxes, we need to recognize them as legitimate stakeholders and give them a voice in decision making processes that directly affect them.”
“Sixteen- and seventeen-year-olds bring much-needed perspective, energy and commitment to their local Community Boards. I've been deeply impressed by the dynamism of the teenagers who have expressed interest in public service through Community Boards, and they should be empowered to assist their neighbors instead of prevented from participating in public life,” said Council Member Kallos.
“Community boards represent an opportunity for citizens to serve their communities and engage in civic discourse,” said Senator Andrew Lanza, sponsor of the legislation in the Senate. “There are many sixteen and seventeen-year-olds who are ready, willing and able to participate as full community board members and who can offer a fresh perspective on the issues and direction of our community.”