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New to Council, Yang and Bender win committee chairs

Posted by: Eric Roper Updated: January 6, 2014 - 10:58 PM

Two new City Council members will chair committees under a new organizational structure, announced Monday, which also consolidates significant development and regulatory powers under one panel.

Most of the council's work is done in committees, where council members take testimony and make crucial decisions on development projects, ordinances and contracts. Committee decisions are rarely overturned by the full council.

New Council Member Blong Yang, who represents the North Side, will chair the public safety committee. Council Member Lisa Bender, who has a background in urban planning, will chair zoning and planning.

Council Member Lisa Goodman won more power under the new structure. Goodman's community development committee, which oversees the use of housing funds and steers economic development initiatives, now includes regulatory services.

That brings with it significant authority over inspections and business licensing, covering everything from landlords to nightclubs.

Other winners in the new committee structure are Council Member John Quincy, who will chair the city's budget committee, Council Member Kevin Reich, who will chair the transportation and public works committee, and Council Member Cam Gordon, who will chair health, environment and community engagement -- a new committee.

Council member Elizabeth Glidden will serve as both vice president and chair of the intergovernmental relations committee, which oversees the city's legislative agenda.

Other council members will chair committees that meet at irregular intervals. Council Member Andrew Johnson will chair the information technology policy subcommittee, Council Member Abdi Warsame will chair the taxes committee, and Council Member Jacob Frey will chair the elections committee.

Photo credit: Suzanne Murphy

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