New York Civic frames and brings media attention to important issues using the Internet, press events, commentaries, public fora, and public testimonies. We also, on request, advise elected and appointed officials on legislation, budget allocation, and management practices.
New York Civic draws on the skills, experience and unique talent of Henry J. Stern, who served government and the people of New York City for over 40 years, including 15 years as Commissioner of Parks & Recreation, nine years as City Council member at-large from Manhattan, four years as First Deputy Commissioner of Consumer Affairs, and four years as President of the Citizens Union. Using Mr. Stern’s detailed and comprehensive knowledge of New York City’s history, politics, geography and government and civic institutions, New York Civic engages in the following:
Highlighting Best and Worst Practices in City and State Government. New York Civic regularly highlights programs, projects, appointments, and people that exemplify what is best and what is worst about government, politics, and civic life, such as:
* Patronage watch
* Innovative programs by agencies
* Government or not-for-profit boondoggles
* City employees who go beyond the call of duty
* City Council legislation, rules, procedures, and appointments
* Bogus lawsuits (e.g. personal injury suits against the city for personal gain)
* Judicial appointments
Advising Government Officials. New York Civic also briefs elected officials on proposed legislation and rules, as well as helps draft legislation for introduction and consideration. With particular focus on new City Council members, we meet with officials and discuss proposed budget allocations. New York Civic also reviews agency performance and advises mayoral agencies, if asked, on improving management practices or opportunities.
Leading Discussions, Debates, Brown-bag Lunches and Fora. These events are at times co-sponsored with not-for-profit, educational and civic groups, with a special focus on small-group sessions with students of government and new government practitioners (Coro Fellows, Urban Fellows, Regis Scholars, and other special internship and work-study programs for high school, college, and postgraduate students). Alternately, events and discussions focus on particular issues where New York Civic has several panelists or participants.
Bringing Attention to Citizen Complaints, Problems, and Praise. For citizens who want to draw attention to flagrantly improper, corrupt or incompetent practices by government, not-for-profits or elected officials, New York Civic serves as a clearing ground and platform for airing problems or praise. We do not serve as an ombudsman for service complaints, but rather as a place to report deeper problems or serious injustices.
Hosting www.nycivic.org. We host this website, which features all of the information, programs, and events listed above. The site also posts references to newspaper or magazine articles and radio and TV programs.
WHO WE ARE
Henry J. Stern, Director
A native New Yorker, Henry J. Stern has served in various capacities in New York City government. In 1973, and again in 1977, he was elected to the City Council as a member-at-large from Manhattan, a position he held for nine years before being appointed commissioner of Parks and Recreation by Mayor Koch on February 14, 1983. He served seven years in the Koch administration, until the end of the mayor’s term, during which he founded the Natural Resources Group, an environmental watchdog for New York City. In 1994, he was re-appointed parks commissioner by Mayor Giuliani and served in that position until 2002.
As commissioner, Mr. Stern was credited with improving the cleanliness and safety of New York City’s 1,700 parks and playgrounds. Most notably, Central Park was largely restored, in partnership with the Central Park Conservancy. He also acquired several thousand acres of new parkland for the city, created over 2,000 "Greenstreets" at traffic intersections, erected 2,500 historic signs, and built over a billion dollars worth of park improvements as part of the capital construction program of Mayor Koch and Mayor Giuliani.
Mr. Stern has received numerous honors in recognition of his environmental protection efforts, including the National Audubon Society Lifetime Achievement Award and the City Club Earthling Award for Environmental Excellence. In February 2002, in an effort to improve the quality of life for New York City residents, Mr. Stern, along with Alan M. Moss, former first deputy parks commissioner, co-founded New York Civic.
Mr. Stern and New York Civic were profiled in the New York Sun in July 2003. Read the article here.
THE CIVIC TEAM