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NYC Council members comply with Speaker Adams’ ban on desk signs, some reluctantly


No City Council members affixed signs to their desks during the chamber’s full meeting Thursday, complying with a directive from Speaker Adrienne Adams aimed at curtailing use of the historic pieces of furniture for messaging about the Israel-Hamas war.

The speaker’s team issued the policy earlier this week after Council members from both sides of the aisle had for months kept posters taped to their desks with messages like “Ceasefire Now” and “#KidnappedFromIsrael.”

Acting on the speaker’s order, Council staff removed posters from all members’ desks ahead of Thursday afternoon’s stated meeting — and no members put up new ones during the session.

Some pols were reluctant to go along with the speaker’s edict.

“If this was going to be done, it should have happened right when the signs were installed,” a Democratic member whose desk used to have a sign affixed to it told the Daily News, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“There has not been any altercation or lack of decorum since the signs went up. At the end of the day, the issue at hand is the war and mass killing of Palestinians and hostages being held. That is what we should be concerned about.”

On the other end of the political spectrum, Republican Brooklyn Councilwoman Inna Vernikov — whose desk has for months been adorned with posters of Israelis taken hostage by Hamas during the Oct. 7 terror attack — responded to the new rule by vowing to defy it.

Signs related to the Israel-Hamas war are seen affixed to City Council members’ desks during a vote on Jan. 30. (Luiz C. Ribeiro for New York Daily News)

“I WILL NOT COMPLY with this unenforceable, tyrannical ‘rule,’” she wrote in an X post Wednesday. “They can carry me out in handcuffs if it so pleases them.”

Vernikov didn’t show up to Thursday’s stated meeting, however, and her desk had no poster on it during the session. She did not return a request for comment on why she was a no-show for the meeting.

Councilmen Bob Holden of Queens and Kalman Yeger of Brooklyn, a pair of conservative Democrats who have previously kept signs supportive of Israel on their desks, opted to attach small posters of Israeli hostages to their jacket lapels during Thursday’s meeting.

“This was much ado about nothing,” Holden said of the speaker’s poster ban. “We have important work to do for the people of New York City, and this is the last thing leadership should be worried about.”

Before the stated meeting, Adams told reporters the sign restriction is about safeguarding the furniture and noted that there have long been rules on the books barring Council members — as well as lawmakers in Congress and other legislative bodies — from using their desks as poster boards.

“Those desks may not seem too historic to some folks, but those are very, very old desks, they do carry tradition,” she said. “Sometimes the material that’s used for the posters can cause damage to that property.”

A Council source said many of the desks are as old as 200 years and date back to when the City Council was still known as the Board of Aldermen.

Asked why she was only now instructing her members to stop displaying posters — after months of letting them — the speaker said she has “allowed a lot of grace when it comes to the signs.”

“Now we are going to restore decorum of the chambers and we’re going to respect the rules,” she explained. “We would hope that everyone follows the rules, I mean that’s something that we even teach our children.”



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