Convenient timing for Bloomberg?
Jul 31, 2013 | 2191 views | 0 0 comments | 48 48 recommendations | email to a friend | print
There is an interesting fight shaping up in the City Council over Mayor Bloomberg’s recent veto of the Community Safety Act, a piece of legislation aimed at the Police Department’s controversial stop-and-frisk policies.

One provision of the act, the bill that would create an inspector general to provide oversight for the department, seems relatively safe; the Council should have enough votes to override the mayor’s veto.

However, the other, much-more contentious piece of legislation, the bill that would give people who feel they have been unfairly racially profiled more leeway to sue the department, isn’t necessarily veto-proof.

The legislation passed the City Council with 34 votes, the same number needed to override the mayor’s veto. That means the mayor needs to sway only one council member to change his or her vote and his veto will be upheld.

We think there’s all sorts of ways for the mayor to accomplish this. There has to be some term-limited council member out there who would love to have a high-paying, do-nothing office job over at Bloomberg LLP waiting for them when they are forced to leave the City Council at the end of this year, right?

Although, that might look like a highly suspicious quid pro quo situation; best to put that alternative on the back burner for now.

Rather than focus on the term-limited members of the City Council, perhaps one of those hard-working elected officials could use a little time off to spend with their families. We hear that Bloomberg has a private jet and that Bermuda is lovely this time of year, how about a vacation for one of the 34 who voted “yes” on the bill timed strategically for the week the City Council will vote to override the veto?

They can’t vote “yes” again if they’re not even in the city.

Again, both of those options present a rather dubious set of circumstances that could be misconstrued as unethical, depending on who you ask, of course.

According to a report in the Daily News this week, though, Bloomberg might have been handed a solution to his dilemma.

The News states that Brooklyn Councilman Erik Dilan is being considered for a cushy, $170,000-a-year executive director post with the city Board of Elections. The job has been vacate since the last executive director was given the boot and shown the door in 2010.

Dilan will be term-limited out of office at the end of this year, and would be forced to look for gainful employment out in the real world. Apparently, Bloomberg is strongly supporting Dilan for the position, which would make things very convenient for the mayor.

Dilan was one of the 34 who voted for the legislation, and if he were to take the position before the City Council voted to override the mayor’s veto, there would only be 33 “yes” votes left, which is one vote shy of the 34 needed, in case you were never very good at math.

The Board of Elections desperately needs an executive director. It is tasked with running the first competitive mayoral election in almost 12 years, as well as other citywide and borough races. In addition to running the general election, there is the Republican and Democratic primaries, as well as the very real possibility of a runoff election on the Democratic side of the ballot.

And let’s not even bring in all of the controversy about going back to the old lever-style voting machines.

This is also a convenient situation for Dilan. No member of the City Council who voted “yes” wants to change their vote and look like they bowed to pressure from Bloomberg, especially when Bloomberg is a lame-duck mayor who can offer them nothing in return for looking like a flip-flopper to their constituents.

Dilan can take the job with the Board of Elections under the pretense that it needs his direction to handle big votes in September and November. If he’s not in the City Council, then he didn’t change his vote, he just wasn’t there anymore to cast it when the veto came before the legislative body.

And if even voters do realize that this was still an abdication of his duties to voters – we’re sure that stop and frisk is an issue in this district with a large minority population – it’s not like Dilan will be able to cash in on the fact that he stuck to his convictions since he won’t be running for office.

But we’re by nature cynical, and perhaps, just perhaps, Dilan feels strongly about the Community Safety Act and wants to be there to help overturn the veto, so would either turn down the job with the board or try to postpone taking it.

But maybe he could be convinced into to taking a relaxing beach getaway, or as we like to call it, Plan B. Just saying.
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