GOTHAM GAZETTE: SEARCHLIGHT 2002: District 26 JUMP TO YOUR DISTRICT
 
 

District 26
Western Queens



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District 26 - Eric Gioia
47-01 Queens Blvd., Queens 11104
City Hall: (212) 788-7370
District: (718) 383-9566 Fax: (212) 513-7195
Email: gioia@council.nyc.ny.us

Committee Assignments:
Oversight & Investigations, Chair
Civil Service & Labor, member
Economic Development, member
Land Use, member
Zoning & Franchises, member of Land Use subcommittee


Bringing Corruption To Light

William Aquino, a former investigator for the investigator for the city's Civilian Complaint Review Board, recently testified at a City Council hearing that his supervisors practiced racial discrimination, instructed him to distort evidence, and ignored the case of a man who complained he was beaten by an officer while handcuffed to a desk.

When Aquino tried to bring the issues to the attention of his supervisors, he says he was told to keep quiet. When he spoke out at a public forum, he says he was suspended. When his allegations finally reached the city's Department of Investigation, Aquino was told he was not eligible for protection under the city's whistleblower law because he had not initially reported his case to the City Council or to the mayor's office.

I am not able to speak to the accuracy or merits of Aquino's claims. But as a city employee, he should have been aware of the proper process for filing a complaint. He testified that he had no idea where to go.

Recently, the City Council's oversight and investigations committee conducted a survey of the effectiveness of the city's whistleblower laws. We contacted 16 different city government offices including the city's Department of Investigation, the public advocate's office, the comptroller's office, and nearly a dozen city agencies that report to the mayor. The council's investigative staff called saying that they wanted to file a complaint and wanted to know their rights. We found that many agencies did not give our callers the proper information. Three city agencies even told us that a whistleblower law did not exist in New York City.

If we want to keep government running smoothly, we must do more to educate people. In 1992, undertook an advertising campaign called "Get The Worm Out of the Big Apple." It was a series of radio ads, subway posters, and leaflets in city employee paycheck envelopes that urged workers to report incidents of fraud or misconduct. That campaign generated about 175 to 200 calls a day. I also urged the Department of Investigations and public advocate's office to update their web sites with better information and contact phone numbers.

I will be looking at a bill that Councilmember Helen Sears has drafted that would amend the current whistleblower law. Like any bill, it will go through the process of revisions and hearings. But I think Councilmember Sears and I are on the same page with the goal of wanting to do more to protect whistleblowers.

This issue also demonstrates the importance of the City Council's role in investigations and oversight. Most people remember big federal scandals like the Teapot Dome and the Iran-Contra affair. It is the same here in the New York City Council. With the power to investigate such matters, we help ensure that government is serving the best interest of the public. We were able to call witnesses and the Department of Investigation in to testify about how this case was handled. We are the sunlight in the process.

I do not think New Yorkers should be overly concerned when they see stories of corruption or scandals in the news. The fact that these incidents are coming to light means that others are taking their jobs seriously and investigating suspicious activity. I believe that government, like every other profession, is basically full of good people. But in any good garden, you have to do some weeding once in a while.

Based on an interview with Councilmember Eric Gioia by Mark Berkey-Gerard and testimony at the hearing of the council's committee of oversight and investigations on June 25, 2002. Posted July 8, 2002

Eric N. Gioia is City Council Member from District 26.


Community Boards for District 26
Community Board No. 1
36-01 35th Ave., Astoria, NY 11106
(718) 786- 3335
Mr. Vinicio Donato, Chair
Mr. George Delis, District Manager
Community Board No. 2
43-22 50th St., Woodside, NY 11377
(718) 533-8773
Mr. Joseph Conley, Chair
Ms. Dolores Rizzotto, District Manager
Community Board No. 4
104-03 Corona Ave., Corona, NY 11368
(718) 760-3141
Mr. Richard Italiano, Chair
Ms. Rose Rothschild, District Manager
Community Board No. 5
61-23 Myrtle Ave., Glendale, NY 11385
(718) 366-1834
Mr. Frank Principe, Chair
Mr. Gary Giordano, District Manager



Community Plans for District 26 (PDF format)
Waterfront Revitalization and Access Plan (Hunters Point Community Coalition)




Ethnic Makeup and Political Registration


Ethnic Makeup

Political Registration


Public Schools

Elementary Schools


Middle Schools


High Schools



To find out what school district you live in, call the Board of Education at 718-935-2000 or link to Public School Reports



Police Precincts

Although many precincts cover areas solely within one City Council district, there are many which overlap with other districts. In most cases the overlap of precincts among districts is no more than a few blocks. Wherever there is overlap, we have made sure to alert you.


City Parks
Click thumbnail for larger image of parks in this district

Learn more about the condition of the city parks in your district at the New Yorkers for Parks (PDF file).



Community Gardens



Click for larger image
Find out more about community gardens from
the Council on the Environment of New York City


Historic Districts and Landmarks
Learn more about the historic districts and landmarks in this area.


The Waterfront

A
map listing suggestions for use and improvement of the waterfront in this district from the Metropolitan Waterfront
Alliance. (pdf format only)