Hizzoner hopeful Sal Albanese says mayoral rival Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s bill to create an inspector general for the NYPD is a cop out.
Former Bay Ridge city councilman Sal Albanese argues that Quinn’s plan to create a new position to monitor unlawful activity by the police is unnecessary, expensive, and undemocratic.
Albanese said the powers that would be vested in the new office already belong to the City Council itself — and the Council under Quinn has simply failed to use them.
“They are charged with oversight responsibility, and they’ve got subpoena power — and they’re afraid to use it,” Albanese. “If they have concerns about policing, they should bring the department in, Mr. Kelly and everyone, and ask the right questions.”
A 15-year veteran of the Council’s public safety committee, Albanese said that taking review responsibilities away from the elected city legislature and giving it to a highly paid mayoral appointee would only pass the buck from the Council, and take power away from the voters.
“They basically want to punt it to an unelected official. There’s no accountability involved,” Albanese said. “If the City Council did their job, there’d be better oversight.”
A spokesman for Quinn pointed to a speech the Speaker made earlier this year defending the proposal and pointing out that nearly all government departments have an inspector general.
“This is the same kind of oversight that applies to other city agencies, and to law enforcement entities like the FBI,” Quinn said in April.
But Albanese argued that the NYPD is already regulated like no other bureaucracy.
“Those other agencies don’t have anywhere near the oversight,” said Sal, noting that the NYPD comes under scrutiny from internal affairs and the Department of Investigations, as well as the Council, not to mention the Civilian Complaint Review Board.
Albanese is the only Democratic candidate to declare his unqualified opposition to the idea of an NYPD inspector general. Comptroller John Liu initially supported creating the position, but backed away from it earlier this year. Former comptroller Bill Thompson favors the change, but would amend Quinn’s bill to place the office within the police department rather than above it, and Public Advocate Bill DeBlasio has called for giving the inspector general even more powers than the present legislation would grant.Reach reporter Will Bredderman at wbredderma