In a move that took his colleagues by surprise, Councilmember David Greenfield is making plans to leave the City Council at the end of the year to become the director of a nonprofit organization that helps poverty-stricken Jews.
Crain’s New York Business politics reporter Will Bredderman was the first to report on Greenfield’s decision not to run for re-election.
Greenfield will become the executive director of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, Crain’s reported Monday.
Due to New York City’s election law, Greenfield will be able to hand-pick a successor to run for his Council seat. Each campaign for public office has a “committee on vacancies,” a panel charged with selecting a new candidate to run for the seat if the declared candidate makes a decision by a certain date not to run. The deadline for such a decision by Greenfield is July 17.
Greenfield (D-Borough Park-Midwood-parts of Bensonhurst) plans to nominate Kalman Yeger, a Borough Park political operative, to run for his Council seat, according to the Crain’s report.
The nonprofit sector is not unknown to Greenfield. Prior to entering politics, he served as the director of the Sephardic Community Federation.
Greenfield, who first won the seat in the heavily Jewish 44th Council District in 2010, was considered a shoo-in for re-election this November.
He is the chairman of one of the Council’s most powerful committees, the Land Use Committee, which holds sway over the city’s zoning regulations.
“The New York Building Congress congratulates City Councilmember David Greenfield on being named the executive director of the Metropolitan Council of Jewish Poverty,” said New York Building Congress President and CEO Carlo A. Scissura. “As chairman of the powerful Land Use Committee, David has expertly charted a course that combines a vision for economic growth with the need to safeguard and improve the quality of life of all residents throughout the five boroughs. We look forward to continuing our strong relationship with David as he embarks of this important new chapter in his career.”
In a 2015 interview with the Brooklyn Eagle, Greenfield said his political philosophy is simple. “I try to bring some common sense to government,” he said.
Pointing to an example, Greenfield said he has successfully sponsored bills to reduce the aggravations drivers face on city streets.
One bill he sponsored led to a new law that allows drivers to pre-pay at Muni-Meters if they arrive at their destination early. Prior to the law change, motorists had to wait until the meters became operational at 9 a.m. to pay for parking. It was a great inconvenience, Greenfield said.