Mayor Bloomberg, at left, speaks in front of a giant Mayor Bloomberg, at right, during the 2009 campaign. Some public testimony to the Charter Revision Commission held that the mayor's influence looms too large of the Conflict of Interest Board and other entities.
Photo by: Jarrett Murphy
The charter commission hears from experts as it considers whether the city's ethics monitors are sufficiently independent.
By: Jarrett Murphy
During its first round of public hearings, the city's Charter Revision Commission heard more than one speaker suggest that it was inappropriate for the city's Conflicts of Interest Board—which largely regulates the mayor and his appointees—to be composed entirely of mayoral appointees. On Wednesday evening, the commission will take up that concern, and hear from experts.
One of the experts will be the mayoral appointee who heads the Conflict of Interest Board.
The Wednesday hearing (at 6 p.m. at City College at 160 Convent Avenue in Manhattan) is the fourth of five "issues forums" during which the commission is exploring areas of the charter that it might target for change. Term limits, voter participation, and government structure have already been examined. The final session, on land use, takes place next Thursday. The commission is considering whether to propose charter changes to the voters this November or wait until the 2011 or 2012 elections to call for a vote.
On Wednesday the commission will hear from COIB chairman Mark Davies, Campaign Finance Board director Amy Loprest, New York State Bar Association special counsel Richard Rifkin, longtime federal prosecutor Benito Romano, and Columbia Law School professor Richard Briffault.
The session will be webcast.
When he announced the issue forums in early May, Charter Revision Commission chairman Matthew Goldstein said that the June 16 forum would "talk about the ethics issues, the Conflict of Interest Board, and the whole question of independent budgets for certain groups." The last point was apparently a reference to the complaints by borough presidents, community boards and the public advocate that the mayor and City Council's control over their budgets inhibits their ability to act independently.