New York City Council’s 51-member legislative body is in the process of onboarding 35 fresh faces this month, 31 of which are women and many of whom are people of color. The new council members are hitting the ground running as the city deals with another surge of COVID-19, among other things, that has them working from home.

Orientation for new council members started on Dec. 8 as the city shifted attention to the holidays, the new year, and welcoming a new mayor. Now that members are officially sworn in, the real work of adjusting begins.
The Amsterdam News reached out to a few of the generally listed phone numbers for council members, but they seemed to still be in the process of being set up. Councilmember Rita Joseph, who replaced Councilmember Dr. Mathieu Eugene in Flatbush, confirmed that she’s still waiting to get the all clear to move into the office.

Councilmember Crystal Hudson put out a statement via Twitter about her feelings on being sworn in and said that they are waiting for the Omicron variant of COVID to subside before scheduling a public inauguration ceremony.

“While I started in my official capacity on January 1, and today was my first day in the ’office,’ my team and I have been hard at work for months,” said Hudson in a statement. “I’ve brought on an all-star team of public servants who I can’t wait to introduce you to later this month. In the next few weeks, we’ll work together to safely set up a district office, explore creative solutions to serving constituents while keeping rampant spread of COVID-19 top of mind, and meet you in your neighborhood—outdoors, masked up and socially distanced.”

Hudson also added that she’s excited to vote for Councilmember Adrienne Adams to replace City Council Speaker Corey Johnson this week. Adams is expected to be the first Black woman councilmember to serve as speaker of the New York City Council.

“I’m confident in soon-to-be-Speaker Adams’ trust in the body, fairness in legislating, and vision to center New Yorkers who have often been overlooked in her agenda,” said Hudson.

Councilmember Chi A. Ossé, who replaced Councilmember Robert Cornegy in Crown Heights and Bed-Stuy, said that he is in his own office at the moment while onboarding from central staff continues with basic phone numbers and email set up. He hadn’t received the keys to Cornegy’s old office, inside the refurbished site of a historic milk bottling plant at Bed-Stuy’s Restoration Plaza, until last week, he said.

Ossé said that with the Omicron variant of COVID still in play, people are waiting to see a “peak and fall” before moving in-person to offices hopefully in the next two weeks.

Ariama C. Long is a Report for America Corps member and writes about culture and politics in New York City for the Amsterdam News. Your donation to match our RFA grant helps keep her writing stories like this one; please consider making a tax-deductible gift of any amount today by visiting: https://tinyurl.com/fcszwj8w

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