What Does a Borough President Do?

The Borough President is elected by all voters within the borough and has several core responsibilities around land use decisions, community boards appointments, budget funding allocations, and more. The Borough President is largely a ceremonial position with soft powers, but with the ability to influence city government in significant ways, depending on the office holder.

Borough Presidents can play a key role as a planner, ombudsperson, cheerleader, and representative of the borough and its many neighborhoods. With a staff of dozens and a bully pulpit, the Borough President can identify problems, offer proposals, and bring attention to chosen issues.

They coordinate between city agencies in monthly “cabinet” meetings, to ensure any problems with service delivery in the borough are addressed. And they can hold hearings on issues that matter to the public.

Advisory opinions from the Borough President are seen as a key step in the city’s land use review process, where the office weighs in on projects of significance to a community or beyond.

The Borough President appoints community board members and convenes community board leaders. They also make appointments to Community Education Councils and the City Planning Commission, and other boards and commissions.

The Borough President is provided millions of dollars in city budget funds every year to allocate for projects and services in their borough. They can also co-sponsor legislation in the City Council, though they cannot vote on bills.