Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been on a bit of a hiring spree lately, finally getting around to replacing some of the holdovers from previous administrations. His latest hire is NYC Councilwoman Helen Foster, a Bronx Democrat who is about to be out of a job at the end of the year, thanks to term limits.


Cuomo announced today that he has tapped Foster to serve as commissioner of the State Division of Human Rights. Pending state Senate confirmation, she’ll be the acting commissioner. She’s replacing Galen Kirkland, a holdover from the Paterson administration.

Foster’s appointment needs to be confirmed by the state Senate, which means that barring any return to Albany by the Legislature, which is not expected at this point, she won’t offically be commissioner until January. She resigned from her Council seat effective today, according to the governor’s office.

Foster’s salary, which is set by statute, will be $109,800.

Foster was elected to the Council in 2001. She was the first African-American woman from the Bronx to be elected to a city office.  She replaced her father, Wendell Foster, who became the first black person elected to city office from the Bronx in 1978. He held his seat until he was forced out by term limits.

During her time on the Council, Foster was perhaps best known (rather dubiously) for having the worst attendance record of all her colleagues. She missed 56 council meetings out of 142 she was scheduled to attend in Fiscal Year 2013, although most of those were committee meetings. Also, as of August, Foster hadn’t been the primary sponsor of a single bill passed into law since March 2010.

Assemblywoman Vanessa Gibson won a seven-way Democratic primary to replace Foster earlier this month.  Her victory maintains a traditionally “black seat” ni an increasingly Latino-dominated district.