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An effort to help New York City’s day laborers has fallen prey to a power struggle between the Mayor and the City Council. At a March 31 hearing, the administration opposed a council bill calling on the city to consider building job centers that would provide a secure place for day laborers and match them with prospective employers. But it wasn’t the idea of job centers that the city opposed. Guillermo Linares, commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigration Affairs, said the bill, which would create a commission with appointees split between the mayor and the Speaker of the Council, violated city code. “I am advised that under the Charter only the mayor has the power to appoint public officers,” said Linares. The Law Department confirmed the Mayor generally appoints all public officials, unless voters approve another arrangement. Yet the bill’s supporters pointed out that several existing bodies, including the Taxi and Limousine Commission, have members appointed by both. Councilmember Lewis Fidler suggested that the administration was simply reluctant to approve a bill that would reflect well on the Speaker, his mayoral opponent. Meanwhile, at least 25,000 day laborers work in the city, according to the Latin American Workers Project, a labor rights organization. They gather on the streets each day, waiting to be picked up by passersby and drawing complaints from local residents. At least 14 died from workplace accidents in the past six years, according to the City Council. (X. Rong)

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