2:58 pm Mar. 19, 2013
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio launched a preemptive attack on City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who said she's "in negotiations" on a bill to create an inspector general's office for the New York Police Department.
De Blasio, who is making a concerted play for outer-borough-based and generally anti-Bloomberg parts of the Democratic primary electorate, told reporters gathered in his office that the I.G. needed to have subpoena power and a budget that is not determined by the mayor and City Council. He said other bills were watered down to the point of irrelevance, and warned about a Quinn-orchestrated "bait and switch."
De Blasio said the bill to create an I.G. for the NYPD has been "stalled" in the City Council since June 2012, "like so many other pieces of legislation that are importantly and timely."
That was a reference to the "paid sick time" bill, which has not had a vote in three years, despite having support from a veto-proof majority in the 51-member City Council.
He also suggested Quinn was not bringing the bill up for a vote "perhaps because of her pledge to the [NYPD] commissioner," he said, referring to the report that Quinn would ask him to stay on in his current position if she's elected.
Quinn denied making a direct arrangement, but has repeatedly said any mayor would be "lucky" to have the current commissioner, Ray Kelly, continue to serve. Kelly opposes the bill, as does Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is an important ally of Quinn.
De Blasio said the I.G. would provide oversight regarding police policy, not just on individual instances of wrongdoing. I asked why his office doesn't provide that type of policy oversight of the police department.
"First of all this office does not have subpoena power, which is, I think, a mistake in the city charter," he said. "To do it right, a dedicated office, with expertise in the area" is also needed, he said.
De Blasio, who was a councilman before becoming public advocate, also criticized the oversight provided by the City Council.
"I think they've deferred in many, many cases. And I think that's another reason why we need an inspector general," he said.
Over the years, he said, the "Council has deferred to the mayor."
Another reporter asked whether de Blasio was laying down these markers for what needed to be in the bill because he's seen evidence that Quinn is planning to remove those provisions, or with it was "deduction on your part."
"More deduction than anything," de Blasio said. "But the pattern from previous examples is quite clear. We don't want inspector general-light. We want the real thing."
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