For lawmakers who fall short when it comes to passing legislation, a common defense is that they make up for it by providing great constituent services for their community.

As part of our ranking of the members of the New York City Council, we decided to find out for ourselves.

To assess responsiveness to constituent concerns, we sent an anonymous email to every member with a simple question, albeit one that the City Council doesn’t directly deal with: Could you provide any information on how to sign up for Medicare?

Some lawmakers – like outgoing Councilman James Vacca, who was the quickest – responded within minutes. Around half didn’t respond at all.

While we ranked all the council members based on how quickly they replied, speed is only part of the equation. In a few cases, we received an immediate auto-reply with contact information for office staffers. These we counted as better than no reply at all, but we ranked them after all of the actual, individualized replies.

Some replies were functionally the same as an auto-reply. Vacca, who responded within two minutes, advised us to call his office the next day and speak to a specific staffer. Council members Chaim Deutsch and Steven Matteo sent similar follow-up emails.

RELATED: The best New York City Council members

RELATED: The worst New York City Council members

A few others requested that we first verify our status as a local constituent.

“Unfortunately, my office receives thousands of emails per week,” read a message from New York City Councilman David Greenfield’s office. “While we review each one, we do prioritize those who live in my council district. If you believe that you live in my district, PLEASE reply to this email with your phone number so that we can prioritize your issue. Your email has already be assigned to an expert staff member from my office who will call you back within 24 hours to personally discuss your issue.”

The first council member to write back with an answer was City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley, whose deputy chief of staff provided a link to enroll online and a phone number for Social Security, while also noting the option of signing up in person at the local Social Security office.

An adviser to City Councilman Dan Garodnick also wrote back promptly with a contact number. While noting that Medicare is not under the city’s jurisdiction, the adviser took the opportunity to note that Garodnick had sponsored the Medicare Rights Center, which could help answer questions.

Similarly, we came up with a test to see how quickly each member would respond to a press inquiry: a request to submit the elected official’s latest headshot to update our photo archive. The responses to this request came more quickly, with Ydanis Rodriguez topping the list, but 11 members still failed to reply.


Below is the ranking of the New York City Council members – excluding Bill Perkins, who took office too recently to be included in our rankings, and including Ruben Wills, who has since been expelled from the City Council – based on constituent response, with the ranking based on communications response listed beside them.

RELATED: Ranking all of the New York City Council Members

Name Constituent response Communications response
James Vacca 1 27
Chaim Deutsch 2 21
Steven Matteo 3 36
David Greenfield 4 Last (tie)
Elizabeth Crowley 5 9
Daniel Garodnick 6 25
Brad Lander 7 33
Jumaane Williams 8 3
Andrew Cohen 9 11
Rosie Mendez 10 16
Melissa Mark-Viverito 11 4
Laurie Cumbo 12 Last (tie)
Annabel Palma 13 Last (tie)
Ben Kallos 14 10
Eric Ulrich 15 5
Helen Rosenthal 16 30
Joseph Borelli 17 7
Vincent Gentile 18 14
Alan Maisel 19 17
Mathieu Eugene 20 2
I. Daneek Miller 21 35
Mark Levine 22 12
Barry Grodenchik 23 18
Jimmy Van Bramer 24 Last (tie)
Antonio Reynoso 25 (tie) Last (tie)
Inez Barron 25 (tie) Last (tie)
Margaret Chin Last (tie) 37
Corey Johnson Last (tie) Last (tie)
Ydanis Rodriguez Last (tie) 1
Andy King Last (tie) 26
Fernando Cabrera Last (tie) 15
Ritchie Torres Last (tie) 20
Vanessa Gibson Last (tie) 22
Rafael Salamanca Jr. Last (tie) 34
Paul Vallone Last (tie) 8
Peter Koo Last (tie) 32
Julissa Ferreras-Copeland Last (tie) Last (tie)
Costa Constantinides Last (tie) 24
Rory Lancman Last (tie) 6
Daniel Dromm Last (tie) 29
Ruben Wills Last (tie) Last (tie)
Karen Koslowitz Last (tie) 13
Donovan Richards Last (tie) Last (tie)
Stephen Levin Last (tie) Last (tie)
Robert Cornegy Jr. Last (tie) 19
Rafael Espinal Jr. Last (tie) 28
Carlos Menchaca Last (tie) 31
Darlene Mealy Last (tie) 38
Mark Treyger Last (tie) 39
Deborah Rose Last (tie) 23