Rumor Patrol: Justice Dept. Looking at NYC District Leader Positions

Word on the streets is the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Justice Dept. is quietly conducting a preliminary inquiry into one of New York City's most coveted elected positions: NYS County Committee Member/ Person, commonly known as District Leader. In NYC, each Assembly District has an elected position of Male and Female Committee Member/ Person.


At issue is whether or not qualification for an elected office can be based upon gender, and whether New York State is violating federal law by maintaining the positions. Federal law states gender cannot be used as an occupational basis for employment.


In NYC, particularly Brooklyn and Manhattan, the positions of NYS Committee Member/ Person and District Leader are usually held by the same person. Technically, the NYS Committee Member sits on the County Committee and participates in the selection of judges, while the District Leader takes care of issues related to the Board of Elections, such as staffing Poll sites and handling issues that may arise on election day.


With State and County Committee Member positions specifically set aside based upon gender, arguably the opportunity for two males or two females to serve as Committee Member/ Person in an Assembly district is limited.