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Van Bramer returns his lulus

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer returns his $20,000 stipend to the taxpayers.
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City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) believes in giving back. In this case, he’s giving back his lulus.

That’s the nickname given to taxpayer-funded stipends paid out to City Council members for their extra work on committees that range from $5,000 to $25,000. The awards are decided by Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (D-Manhattan).

Van Bramer received $20,000 for his work as chairman of the Cultural Affairs and Libraries Committee and as a leading member of the Budget Negotiating Team. He is also majority lLeader of the City Council.

“Returning my $20,000 stipend as majority leader of the New York City Council is the right thing to do for me,” Van Bramer said. “While donating the stipend to charity may be noble, not taking it at all is consistent with a pledge I made when I first ran for the City Council in 2009.”

Citizens Union, a good-government watchdog founded in 1887 during the height of the corrupt Tammany Hall political machine, applauded Van Bramer’s move. “Lulus are an outgrowth of the Council’s creation of too many committees to justify the need to provide extra income to almost all of its members,” Executive Director Dick Dadey said. “Citizens Union commends Councilman Van Bramer for leading by example in not accepting his stipend, and for his commitment to reform this lulu system in the City Council.”

Van Bramer, the second highest ranking member of the Council, said, “I serve in government out of a desire to help others and to build up the people and their neighborhoods I serve. That is what drives me to work hard and it always will.”

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparry@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4538.

Posted 12:00 am, January 28, 2015
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