Brick resigns as Gotham film commish

Richard Brick, the commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting, tendered his resignation to new Mayor Rudolph Giuliani Monday. He will exit Jan. 21, while deputy commissioner Charles Darby is willing to stay on until he gets another job. Both came to city government from line producer backgrounds.

The development was surprising, since it seemed clear Brick wanted to be reappointed. Reached late Monday, Brick acknowledged he’d sent the letter of resignation and gave two weeks notice.

“I didn’t have a sense that this administration’s priorities were consonant with the needs of our industry, at a time when the need is for more support, not less,” Brick said. He declined to comment further or say whether he’s flexible about his exit date.

While each commissioner named by former mayor DavidDinkins was expected to tender a pro forma resignation while the Giuliani administration decided whom to appoint, this is different. Sources said Brick decided to think of himself as a line producer once again when he got no feedback from the Giuliani administration about his chances of reappointment.

The development could throw the industry into the political turmoil it endured after Jaynne Keyes left the office to become a William Morris agent.

Eight torturous months after Keyes left, Brick was appointed by deputy mayor Barry Sullivan after a second search by the headhunting firm Russell Reynolds.

The bickering over Brick’s job began late last year when a letter, authored on Directors Guild of America stationery and written by DGA officers Alan Gordon and Jane Schimel, called for the appointment of a new commissioner, unleashing a litany of complaints. The letter proved to be an embarrassment, since it was the opinion of the two officers, one of whom, Schimel, was said to be interested in the job.

Shortly after, the Council of Motion Picture and TV Unions, which includes the 15 major unions and guilds including the DGA, voted by majority to endorse Brick. Though the local industry has been its strongest since the devastating 1990-91 studio boycott — recording a 64% increase over 1992 with 1,715 shooting days — the city film commissioner job has once again become the most common topic of conversation in industry circles.

Even critics acknowledge he has used an increased office budget and high energy to heighten the visibility of the office. The office’s permitting system has become computerized and moves to office space in the Ed Sullivan Theatre this spring, a few floors up from David Letterman.

Actor Ron Silver, a strong Giuliani supporter during the campaign who was among those helping to find a permanent commissioner, was surprised upon hearing of Brick’s decision. Silver said the Giuliani administration hasn’t yet gotten around to evaluating the post.

“It could be at least several weeks away,” Silver said.

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