But in New York City, we are lucky that we have just such a post, so who is our public advocate?
Well, that’s currently a tricky question.
Councilman Jumaane Williams won a special election last month to fill the post vacated by Letitia James when she was elected attorney general. And Williams took the oath of office earlier this month, but until he steps down from his City Council post, Speaker Corey Johnson is still technically acting public advocate, a post he has held since James resigned.
So while Williams won the seat and was sworn in, his public schedule and press releases don’t identify him as a public advocate; rather he’s just some guy doing and saying stuff.
Meanwhile, Johnson sends out a public schedule every day that identifies him as “acting public advocate.”
So what gives?
Apparently, Williams is trying to spare the city from holding another costly special election to fill his seat. Once he resigns, the mayor will have three days to schedule a special election.
That would likely happen in April, about two months before voters will head to the polls for the June primaries, which Williams – as public advocate now – will have to run in again. If he doesn’t take over the post of public advocate soon, he’ll barely get to use that incumbent advantage!
Williams, Johnson and Mayor Bill de Blasio are trying to come up with a solution in which the special election would take place the same day as the primary, but Johnson has called that scenario “highly unlikely.”
If Williams is stalling to save taxpayers money, then we guess he is doing a pretty good job of being public advocate already even if he doesn’t (officially) have the title.
But what if something happened to the mayor? The public advocate is next in line to assume the role, but would that be Johnson or Williams? Think of the power struggle and civil unrest that would follow!
Of course, our current mayor hasn’t been spending too much time in New York City these days anyway, so something tells us we’ll be a-okay. In fact we might be better off!