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Deutsch to scuttle own firm by year’s end

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He’s taking a pay cut!

Newly re-elected Councilman Chaim Deutsch (D–Sheepshead Bay) is going to have to dump the thousands of dollars in extra cash he rakes in each year through his real estate management company.

Deutsch takes home roughly $130,000 a year as the president of his Brooklyn-based company Chasa Management on top of the $148,000 he makes from City Hall. But last year Mayor DeBlasio signed a bill that gave all city legislators a hefty pay raise, while also forcing them to give up any outside by Jan. 1, 2018. So Deutsch will have to hop off that gravy train — and he said he’s ready to take the cut.

“Now that I am re-elected I will no longer receive outside income, starting the new year,” Deutsch said in a text message.

But Deutsch would not elaborate on what his exact plans are for the company.

Deutsch initially faced a feisty challenge from his cousin-in-law Kalman Yeger, but he skated to victory after Councilman David Greenfield (D–Midwood) tapped Yeger to succeed him in the neighboring district. Yeger used Deutsch’s income as a sticking point way back when he was still challenging him for the Sheepshead Bay seat, claiming he made too much money from his private real estate company to be an effective member of the city’s legislative body.

Deutsch was just as cryptic at the time, refusing to flesh out his plan for the company — whether he would divest himself from it but keep it alive, or shut it down entirely — instead he simply promised to comply with the law.

And now with the deadline for legislators to give up all outside income just about a month away, Deutsch still wouldn’t expand on his plans, though a source said he will close up shop entirely.

• • •

Councilman Jumaane Williams (D–Flatbush), who has thrown his hat into the ring for Council speaker to replace term-limited Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito (D–Manhattan), wants to extend term limits for legislators.

Williams drafted a bill as part of his campaign for speaker that, if passed through a voter referendum, would give Council members the ability to stay in office for 12 years rather than the current eight. Williams says it would help maintain checks and balances in City Hall if legislators and the city’s top leaders, such as the Mayor and Public Advocate, weren’t all up for re-election at the same time.

“When it comes to good government, the things that people want the council to do, it’s very difficult do in the current structure. The council has to be a counterbalance to the Mayor, but that’s hard to do if all members are up at the same time as the mayor,” said Williams. “I want to make sure it’s staggered, some members up at the one time, other members at the same time.”

While all of the seven other candidates vying for the speaker’s seat said they would support the extension, according to the Daily News, William’s idea has come under fire from some both current and elected members of the Council, who say the taxpayers have already spoken when they voted to keep terms limits at two in 2010, according to Kings County Politics.

• • •

Albany’s Democratic state senators are scrambling to work out a deal to get the eight rogue members of the breakaway Independent Democratic Conference, which sits across the aisle with the Grand Old Party to give the Republicans a majority in the chamber, to rejoin the Democratic fold.

Four high-ranking party members penned a letter to the state Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D–Westchester) and the breakaway leader Jeff Klein (D–Bronx) on Nov. 27 pressing them to forge an alliance — and threatening Klein’s faction with primary challengers and Stewart-Cousins with a leadership shake-up if they don’t come to terms.

Both Klein and Stewart-Cousins seemed eager to strike a deal, according to the New York Times, but even if the Independent Democratic Conference’s members, including state Sen. Jesse Hamilton (D–Crown Heights), gave up their leadership posts and perks and rejoined the true blues, the Republicans would still retain a majority because of state Sen. Simcha Felder (D–Midwood), who isn’t a member the turncoat clique but nonetheless caucuses with the Grand Old Party.

Felder, who once took home an award for best Conservative senator in New York and says he votes for whatever benefits his own district, previously told his paper that he would come back to the Democratic caucus if the Independent Democratic Conference also rejoined the mainline Dems.

“The Democrats who have really ruined the opportunity for there to be a Democratic majority is the IDC,” Felder said back in March. “If I had an ability to serve with the majority in the Democratic caucus, I would be happy to be there.”

But it remains to be seen what Felder will do if Klein’s group does call his bluff.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Posted 12:00 am, November 30, 2017
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