12/31/2018 — Breaking Bochinche: Corey Johnson picks an administrator to run the Public Advocates’ office

By GERSON BORRERO

The Speaker of the New York City Council is not waiting for the crystal ball countdown at midnight tonight to ring in 2019, when he officially takes charge of his duties as acting Public Advocate, as has been written about in The New York Times and the NY Post.

According to two insider bochincheros, “Corey has chosen Lilian Pascone to be the administrator of the Public Advocate’s office.”

The daily duties for Pascone, who currently serves as counsel to the Speaker’s Chief of Staff Jason Goldman, are very clear: “She will run things,” a well versed source told me. Assisting Pascone in the operations will be Anthony Pérez, who holds the title of Senior Advisor in the Speaker’s office, and Jacob Tugendrajch, who works in the Council’s Press operation.

While some of Letitia “Tish” James’ core staff is staying, the senior staff will be leaving or has left to work with James in her new capacity as New York State Attorney General.

One seasoned political operator of the municipal government opined that this is “a really good move for Corey to make. He will be able to get things done in the 55 days he will hold the title of Public Advocate.”

That opinion was not shared by another seasoned veteran of Council political operations:

“I think there’s going to be some pushback from some of the leading candidates who will feel that the Speaker is overstepping his boundaries.”

Another source felt that some editorial boards and electeds, like Councilman Kalman Yeager who has called for the PA office to be abolished, will be critical of Speaker Johnson.

All of that remains to be seen.

With this hands-on approach Speaker Johnson will unwillingly influence the discussion and debates that will ensue among those seeking the office in the special election set to take place Tuesday, February 26, 2019.

In the short period of time he has as Public Advocate, Johnson wants to strengthen the role of the Council and its members in the advocacy process.

The speaker is going to take full advantage of the opportunity.

So look for the Council’s calendar to be busier than usual for the first seven weeks of this new year!

NOTE: Earlier version of this article misspelled Lilian Pascone’s name as Pascon.