What's next after Cohen leaves?


To the editor:

This past Nov. 3, the voters living inside City Council District 11 exercised their constitutional right to vote. This was an important Election Day, and even with the pandemic raging and coronavirus positivity rates spiking, voters exercised all means with which to vote, exhibiting a sustained commitment to the process.

One of this year’s categories of elected office was that of the three Bronx Supreme Court judgeships. Having prevailed in this election, Councilman Andrew Cohen will move on to one of these three judgeships. And because of unfortunate timing, he will leave his city council seat vacant in January, until a special election in March will fill it.

Council District 11 always has been actively engaged in challenging current affairs of being a New York City community.

In this age of COVID-19, we are facing even more challenging issues, including some that arise unexpectedly. And for at least three months, we will not have a city council representative at our helm.

If there is any delay of the special election because of COVID-19 issues at the elections board, the lack of representation will be longer. This has inspired several practical questions that I believe should concern other constituents in the council district.

In the office that Andy Cohen is vacating, I understand that “constituent services” will still be available. But which services will be available? Are there some services that may not be available?

Who is managing the office? Who will make executive decisions?

What are the drawbacks of being a community without a council member? What if there are important city council votes that are missed during the vacancy?

Will there be any other individuals qualified and available to advocate for the council district in the event of an emergency?

Before his resignation, I hope that Councilman Cohen’s office will address these and any other issues he deems important to ensure an orderly transition. With due respect to the constituents who elected him to his council seat — and now his judgeship — he should disseminate a transition plan in a public forum such as the councilman’s Facebook page, or even in The Riverdale Press.

He should do so within the next month to minimize the confusion of this difficult circumstance for our district and its residents.

I wish Councilman Cohen the best in his new judicial role serving the people of the Bronx, and thank him for his service to the council district.

Stephanie Coggins

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Stephanie Coggins,