Joe Lhota on the NYPD Inspector General

Here’s a brief excerpt from Joe Lhota’s press conference in which he describes the provision of the proposed NYPD Inspector General bill that he finds “extremely distressing.”  He references a section of the proposed bill which provides that the inspector general would have “all powers necessary to conduct independent reviews of the [NYPD’s] policies”.  In responding to the question of why he objects to the proposed NYPD IG, but didn’t object to the MTA’s IG when he ran that agency, he goes on to say that the MTA Inspector General “does not have the ability to question the policies directly by the MTA.  It is an audit function.”

I looked at the statute authorizing the MTA Inspector General – here’s what I found in Section 1279(4)(b) and (c) of the Public Authorities Law:

“§ 1279 (4). The inspector general … shall have the following functions, powers and duties:

(b) to initiate such reviews as he may deem appropriate of the operations of the authority and its subsidiaries … in order to identify areas in which performance might be improved and available funds used more effectively;

(c) to recommend remedial actions to be taken by the authority and its subsidiaries … to overcome or correct operating or maintenance deficiencies and inefficiencies that he determines to exist;” (underscore added.)

Lhota is correct that the MTA Inspector General does not have the authority to examine the MTA’s “policies”.  He seems to understate some of the MTA IG’s statutory authority, however.  The statutory sections above appear to give the MTA IG authority for rather broad reviews at the IG’s own initiative and to “recommend remedial actions … to … correct operating deficiencies.”  That seems like a broad mandate.

Would a similarly drafted provision in the NYPD IG bill be acceptable to Joe Lhota?  We’ll try to get an answer.  Also, I’m unclear on whether the MTA IG has full authority to examine the operations of the MTA police. We’ll try to get that answer as well.

GOP Disaster

Today’s charges against Malcolm Smith, Daniel Halloran and four others are a political disaster for New York City’s Republican Party.  The alleged corruption goes to the heart of what little influence remains for the New York City Republican county organizations and their chairmen.

Leaders of two of the five county organizations and one of the four Republican members of the City Council were criminally charged.  The Complaint suggests that at least one, and possibly two, other county county chairmen were expected to support Smith in exchange for a quid pro quo payment.  According to the Complaint, Halloran expected to be able to drag along in his corrupt scheme any of the county chairmen who were not being bribed. Continue reading GOP Disaster