Bloomberg’s Pick for Rent Guidelines Chair Still Leaves Thankless Vacancy
Eliot Brown Feb. 26, 2010, 5:36 p.m.
Mayor Bloomberg on Friday appointed a new chairman of the Rent Guidelines Board: Jonathan Kimmel, an existing member of the nine-person board. Given that this leaves a slot vacant on the board, this also leaves open the question of just who can be suckered into the thankless job, the description for which involves being yelled at by tenants and landlords for little fame, and even less pay.
Given that many votes on the nine-person board are 5-4, the Bloomberg administration will indeed need to find someone before any controversial votes come up (typically votes on rent increases happen in the early summer).
Mr. Kimmel has been a mayoral appointee on the board since 2006, and given that the Bloomberg administration appointees generally side with landlords, one shouldn’t expect any radical changes from the board. The RGB regulates the rent increases each year for the city’s rent-stabilized and rent-controlled housing stock, which totals about 1 million apartments.
The vacancy for the part-time job came about when longtime chairman Marvin Markus, a municipal finance banker at Goldman Sachs, told the Bloomberg administration he was leaving his post late last year. One of the smarter minds around in housing–a point even acknowledged by his foes–Mr. Markus generally came down on the landlord side of things, drawing aspersions (and the nickname “Marvin Markup”) from tenants.