View the Ward 6 Map (PDF)
151 Chestnut Street
Albany, NY 12210
Council Operations and Ethics, Chair
Housing and Community Development
Human Resource and Human Rights
- Albany's Executive Liaison for the LGBTQ Community
Richard Conti was first elected to the Albany Common Council in 1997 and is currently serving his 6th term representing the 6th Ward (Center Square, Hudson/Park, Park South, Washington Park, Washington Square and Lark Street). As a member of the Council he has worked to strengthen the Council's policy making role in government and enhance its ability to serve as a check and balance to the Executive Branch. His primary focus has been neighborhood quality of life, public safety, effective code enforcement and fiscal management.
Richard also won the respect and support of his colleagues on the Common Council who elected him their President Pro Tem, which is the key leadership position on the Council, for the years 2004 through 2019. The President Pro Tem is responsible for setting the Council’s agenda, appointing committees, guiding the legislative process and representing the Council in Leadership meetings with the Executive Branch. As President Pro Tem of the Council, Richard streamlined Council operations and reduced costs.
Originally from Staten Island, Richard received his undergraduate degree in political science from Fordham University at Lincoln Center and eventually relocated to Albany to pursue a career in government relations with the Healthcare Association of New York State, and later served as chief of staff for a senior member of the New York State Assembly and as Executive Director of the Assembly Health Committee where he worked on a range of health policy and finance issues touching on almost every aspect of our health delivery system. Richard was especially involved in helping to draft and enact legislation expanding health care coverage to working families and strengthening access to primary care services.
Prior to being elected to public office Richard was a neighborhood and political activist focusing on grass-roots community organizing. He was an active member of his neighborhood association – the Hudson/Park NA – where he worked with fellow community members on quality of life issues and also served H/PNA’s newsletter editor. As a political activist he worked through the Eleanor Roosevelt Democratic Club (and eventually became ERDC’s president) to help win passage of Albany’s human right’s ordinance extending non-discrimination protections to the gay and lesbian community. Richard also served as the 6th Ward Democratic Committee’s Ward Leader where he successfully worked to diversify the Committees membership and strengthened its activities and visibility including development of a quarterly newsletter mailed to all 6th Ward Democrats! Richard’s past volunteer service also included work with the Pride Center of the Capital Region where he served as editor of Community, the Welcome Table at St. John’s/St. Ann’s Center in the South End, the Buddy Program of the AIDS Council of Northeastern NY (now the Alliance for Positive Health) and Vice Chair of the Albany Community Police Relations Board.
Some of Richard’s significant achievements as a member of the Common Council include:
Quality of Life
Preserving and protecting neighborhood quality of life is one of Richards key concerns. He has worked to strengthen enforcement of vacant building maintenance standards and incentives for
rehabilitation, authored Albany’s Demolition Review Ordinance and spearheaded passage of a law to crack down on illegal drug houses and other nuisance properties. Richard worked to strengthen the general nuisance abatement process through Board of Zoning Appeals and was the first and only Common Council Member to bring a successful nuisance complaint before the BZA. Richard also initiated the Park South neighborhood revitalization process resulting in the Park South Urban Renewal Plan which has led to significant quality of life and public safety improvements in the neighborhood. He also authored language establishing Albany’s Affordable Housing Task Force
Fiscal accountability and oversight are important priorities for Richard. He led the Common Councils investigation of the “Ghost Ticket” scandal which led to important reforms and the implementation of new fiscal accountability standards in the Parking Violations Bureau. He authored an amendment to the City Charter to enhance Council oversight of salary expenditures and won passage of legislation establishing Full Cost Accounting standards for our solid waste management programs. Richard also streamlined the Common Council budget review process and reduced Council postage expenditures by over 60 percent.
Even before becoming a member of the Common Council Richard had established himself as a community activist helping win passage of Albany’s Human Rights Ordinance and Domestic Partner Registry. That work continues as a member of the Common Council where he established the City of Albany Human Rights Commission and expanded our non-discrimination laws to include gender identity and expression and the prohibition in discrimination in city contracts and grant awards. He also was the lead sponsor of resolutions placing the Council on record in support of marriage equality and legislation establishing enhanced penalties for bias-motivated violence. He was also was the lead sponsor of the local law creating the Community Police Review Board.
Washington Park is the jewel in Albany’s public park system and a neighborhood treasure. As a member of the Council Richard worked to put in place standards to minimize damage to Washington Park from special events and also strengthened neighborhood notification of street closures and parking restrictions due to special events in the park.
Parking continues to be a challenge for downtown neighborhoods, both for residents and the locally owned small businesses that support our community. Richard understands that we have distinct daytime and nighttime parking challenges and there is no one solution. He was a leader in the successful effort to win passage of state legislation authorizing Albany’s permit parking system to address daytime parking issues and continues to work on potential modifications and improvements to the system. In addition, Richard successfully reformed alternate side of the
street parking rules to benefit neighborhood residents, revised hours of operation for nearby parking meters to enhance overnight resident parking and enacted provisions authorizing use of multi-space meters which also further enhances the availability of overnight parking.
Preserving our environment will always be one of Richard’s priorities. He has been a consistent opponent of commercial development in the Pine Bush and also successfully placed the Common Council on record in support of stronger wetlands protection laws, Hudson River PCB clean-up and the expanded bottle bill. Richard was a co-sponsor of the law to phase out pesticide use on public property and also authored the law to put in place enforcement tools to prohibit smoking in public bus shelters.
Government works best when the public is involved. That’s why Richard reformed Common Council procedures to expand opportunities for public participation in Council proceedings and the appointment of citizens to public boards and commissions, and he established a public comment period at special meetings of the Council. Richard is also pursuing the passage of major ethics reform and conflict of interest legislation for the City of Albany.
In addition to is work on the Common Council, Richard regularly attends and participates in the meetings of all four 6th Ward neighborhood associations and works closely with these organizations to address a variety of neighborhood issues. As a member of the Board of the Lark Street Business Improvement District (BID) he works with the business community to assure that Lark Street continues to be a vital commercial strip and heart of our neighborhood. In addition, Richard pioneered the development of an electronic newsletter -- 6th Ward E-News – which keeps readers informed of neighborhood and Common Council issues and also provides important public service alerts related to snow emergencies and parking restrictions/road closures due to special events. Today, the 6th Ward E-News hits over 1,000 email addresses per issue. In addition, Richard maintains an active social media presence on Facebook and twitter to keep residents aware of neighborhood and Council issues.
Richard’s neighborhood and Council work has been recognized with the following awards from various organizations:
- Hudson/Park Neighborhood Association "Blue Moon Award" 2000, 2004, 2007
- Neighborhood Resource Center "Outstanding Public Official" 2006
- Neighborhood Resource Center "Outstanding Newsletter" 2008
- Pride Center of the Capital Region "Peter Drago Leadership in Government Award" 2009
Richard is optimistic about the future of our neighborhoods and the City of Albany. He sees Lark Street and lower New Scotland Avenue as vibrant commercial corridors that will strengthen our surrounding residential neighborhoods. Richard is also optimistic that implementation of
Albany’s comprehensive plan – Albany 2030 – and and new zoning code will be the foundation of building a vibrant city of the future.
Although we have significant challenges ahead, especially in the area of strengthen our financial base in the light of the significant amount of tax exempt property within our city and dealing with our long term solid waste management needs, Richard sees opportunities in an agenda that builds on the following:
- Streamlining government to make it more efficient and responsive to community needs;
- Focusing on economic development that expands our tax base and reduces financial burdens on property tax payers;
- Neighborhood revitalization that takes advantage of the key assets of our urban centers;
- Implementation of a long-term solid waste management plan;
- Continued work on the recently renewed Park South Urban Renewal Plan; and
- Working to enhance the availability of affordable housing