Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

 

Department of Investigation

Department of Investigation

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    (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    Last week the City of Newark sued New York City over New York’s placement of more than a thousand homeless individuals and families in Newark, through the city’s Special One Time Assistance (SOTA) program. Under the program, New York City employed private brokers to find homes for the families in New Jersey and elsewhere, and, without checking to see if the homes were habitable, paid a full year’s rent in advance and left families to live there. The result was thousands of families sent out of the city into homes that were

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    Mayor de Blasio (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    In the five years following Eric Garner’s death at the hands of then-NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo, Mayor Bill de Blasio has repeatedly fallen back on the same argument to defend the police department when questions are raised about apparent incidents of excessive force or other misconduct by officers: deescalation training.

    “[T]he goal is always to de-escalate,” the mayor said at a news conference on crime statistics on November 6, addressing a recent “chaotic” incident on a

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  • cm ritchie oversight

    DOI Commissioner Margaret Garnett (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    The Department of Investigation, a watchdog agency tasked with rooting out waste, fraud, and abuse in city government, issues hundreds of recommendations each year, urging other city agencies to reform their procedures and enhance the services they provide. It’s not always apparent to the general public, or even elected officials, whether agencies comply with those suggestions, which are typically based on extensive investigations.

    But the department has now promised a new

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    (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    Last week the federal NYCHA monitor issued his first quarterly report. It was a scathing indictment of the agency, describing “putrid liquid” spilling into a laundry room and rats scurrying through a 14-floor high garbage compactor. As one resident explained, “we are hostages in our own homes at night…due to rats that are the size of cats.”

    But as disturbing as these examples are, the most important finding was less graphic but ultimately more dangerous:  A systemic culture of failing to take

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  • mayor commissioner exec

    (photo: Edwin J. Torres/ Mayoral Photography Office)


    In January, the state Joint Commission on Public Ethics, a governmental watchdog agency, revealed that it had held a closed-door vote on a potential ethics investigation into a former top aide to Governor Andrew Cuomo. The aide, Joe Percoco, was convicted on federal corruption charges in a highly publicized trial that also laid bare work he had done from his executive chamber office while on leave to work

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  • mayor bdb fl chir

    (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography)


    In the last three years, Mayor Bill de Blasio has been investigated by law enforcement and oversight entities at the city, state, and federal levels for soliciting donations from people seeking favors from his administration. While several of the investigations have concluded without chargers, investigators and others have criticized the mayor for shirking conflicts of interest and campaign finance rules.

    In the case of the city investigation, conducted by the Department of Investigation (DOI) and referred to the

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    Margaret Garnett (photo via City Hall)


    Margaret Garnett, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s pick to replace recently fired Department of Investigation Commissioner Mark Peters, received praise from City Council Members and the support of City Council Speaker Corey Johnson at a Monday hearing on her nomination. Currently serving as the Executive Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Justice in the New York State Attorney General’s office, Garnett’s nomination hearing came amid significant controversy over de Blasio’s firing of Peters, ...

  • Mark Peters

    Mark Peters (photo: William Alatriste/City Council)


    Department of Investigation Commissioner Mark Peters, in his final days on the job after Mayor Bill de Blasio fired him on Friday, refuted the mayor’s stated reasons for the termination in a bluntly worded letter sent Monday to City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and Council Member Ritchie Torres who chairs the Committee on Oversight and Investigations, and released to the news media (read the full letter below).

    Peters, who was once treasurer to de Blasio’s first mayoral campaign, has had a tense

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  • Mark Peters DOI Cy Vance

    Commissioner Peters at a press conference (photo: @NYC_DOI)


    It took Mayor Bill de Blasio and the New York City Police Department two years to accept what the city’s Department of Investigation had uncovered in 2015, DOI Commissioner Mark Peters said recently: that quality-of-life crime enforcement, like marijuana arrests, does little to reduce violent crime and that these arrests disproportionately affect people of color.

    When the DOI came out with the report detailing these findings, it experienced pushback from the mayor, who publicly questioned the

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  • whats the data point


    What's The [Data] Point? Episode 41 -- 402, with DOI Commissioner Mark Peters [You can download What's The [Data] Point? wherever you get your podcasts, including on iTunes]

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    Mark Peters DOI City Council

    DOI Commissioner Mark Peters (photo: William Alatriste)


    Four years ago, over the veto of then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the City Council passed the Community Safety Act, a landmark piece of legislation relating to policing in New York City. One of the law’s most prominent planks was the creation of the NYPD Inspector General, an independent police department watchdog that would audit NYPD practices and operations and make recommendations on improvements.

    With the nation on edge over widely disseminated videos of black men

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    Council Member Vincent Gentile (photo: William Alatriste/City Council)


    The City Council’s Committee on Oversight and Investigations held a hearing on Monday to discuss three bills, including one which would require the Department of Investigation to conduct an annual public outreach campaign to inform New Yorkers about how to identify corruption and use the resources of the DOI to file corruption complaints.

    The Department of Investigation, the city’s independent watchdog agency, is responsible for investigating wrongdoing by city agencies, officers, elected

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    DOI Commissioner Mark Peters (photo: @DOInews)


    At a City Council preliminary budget hearing on Thursday, Department of Investigation Commissioner Mark Peters laid out new funding and staffing needs for his agency, which is facing a $5 million proposed reduction in its fiscal year 2018 allocation by Mayor Bill de Blasio.

    The proposed preliminary budget for the Department of Investigation (DOI), the watchdog body that monitors and probes public corruption and other wrongdoing at 45 city agencies, is $41.7 million, down from

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    Department of Investigation ad (photo via DOI)


    Formed in the 1870s, the city’s Department of Investigation (DOI) is a law enforcement agency tasked with keeping city government honest. Run well, DOI acts as a safeguard against fraud, abuse, and neglect in municipal government, an advocate for taxpayers, and an enforcer of ethics.

    In 2013, then Mayor Michael Bloomberg described the agency as a "vigilant watchdog," and a

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  • BdB holds paper hearing

    Mayor de Blasio (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    A bureaucratic procedure gone wrong has turned out to be a major headache for Mayor Bill de Blasio that refuses to go away. Even after two recent and damning investigative reports, one city agency maintains its investigation is "ongoing" given newly turned over information and the state Attorney General is still looking into the matter.

    The lifting of deed restrictions on Rivington House, a nursing home on the Lower East Side of Manhattan,

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    Mayor de Blasio & First Deputy Mayor Shorris in 2013 (photo: @NYCTransition)


    Two recent reports on City Hall’s role in the questionable lifting of deed restrictions on a nursing home property issued scathing indictments of both process and personnel in the de Blasio administration. They revealed mismanagement and miscommunication that belies Mayor Bill de Blasio’s own attempts to portray City Hall and its agencies as well-oiled machines that deliver swift and efficient services to the people of New York.

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    Council Member Jumaane Williams (photo: William Alatriste)


    The City Council’s Committee on Oversight and Investigations heard a bill on Tuesday, sponsored by Council Member Jumaane Williams, which would require centralized reporting of data on police misconduct from multiple agencies to identify systemic problems and help create an early intervention system for the NYPD. To the disappointment of Williams and others, though, key stakeholders to be affected by the bill and instrumental in implementing it if it becomes law, were not

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  • de blasio budget presentation independent budgeting

    Mayor de Blasio makes a budget presentation (photo via Mayor's Office)


    During the annual budget process, city agencies and entities are at the mercy of the Mayor and the City Council, who ultimately set the budget. But unlike many, the several agencies and officials who regularly monitor, regulate, or litigate against the mayoral administration are put in an awkward situation, annually appealing for funding in a dynamic that can hamper their ability to carry out charter-mandated duties and, in some cases, lead

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  • bdb town hall mic crowd

    Mayor de Blasio at a town hall (photo: Demetrius Freeman/Mayor's Office)


    Over the last few weeks, facing the spectre of multiple investigations, Mayor Bill de Blasio has repeatedly stressed that he, his administration, and his allies operate ethically. “We hold ourselves to the highest standards of integrity,” the mayor has said repeatedly as reporters have questioned him about allegations of impropriety in his fundraising operations.

    In support, the mayor has regularly referred to the city’s internal mechanisms for ensuring

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