This Week in New York City Government



Mayor de Blasio, Police Commissioner Bratton, Immigrant Affairs Commissioner Agarwal Announce Acceptance of IDNYC as Valid Identification by NYPD

Mayor Bill de Blasio, New York City Police Department Commissioner William Bratton, and Commissioner of Immigrant Affairs Nisha Agarwal today announced an important update to the NYPD Patrol Guide to officially accept the City’s upcoming municipal identification card, IDNYC, as a valid and recognized form of government-issued identification.

This important step will help prevent the arrests of New Yorkers previously unable to provide reliable proof of their identity during interactions with the Police Department — including many immigrant, young adult, and transgender residents. IDNYC cards with names and home addresses will also be recognized as a form of identification in the issuance of summonses, desk appearances tickets, and property claims.

By encouraging New Yorkers to obtain NYPD-recognized photo identification, the Mayor and the Police Commissioner aim to permit police officers to issue summonses for low-level violations rather than making arrests. This will allow officers to focus their attention on more serious crimes.

Mayor de Blasio Announces Key Resiliency Investments to Support Small Businesses and Jobs, Including New Business Resiliency Program and Major Upgrades Across Sandy-Impacted Neighborhoods

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced new targeted resiliency and infrastructure investments that will support businesses and jobs in neighborhoods impacted by Hurricane Sandy, including Business PREP (Preparedness and Resiliency Program), a new program to help small businesses better prepare for emergencies and enhance the resiliency of their operations, assets, and physical space, and a host of major new investments in neighborhoods that include the Rockaways, Staten Island, Coney Island, and Hunts Point.

The new programs and investments are part of the City’s proposed Action Plan Amendment to the $4.21 billion in federal disaster aid it has been allocated by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) through the Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) program. The Action Plan Amendment is being released today ahead of a community engagement process that will take place over the coming weeks throughout Sandy-impacted communities.  More information is available at

The Action Plan Amendment also locks in critical funding to ensure all Build it Back applicants will be served, while creating a Temporary Relocation Program to provide financial assistance to homeowners displaced during construction and expanding Build it Back’s local workforce development initiatives. Following Mayor de Blasio’s Build it Back overhaul in April, the program continues to make dramatic progress – with 949 construction starts and 2,019 reimbursement checks to date, compared to none earlier this year.

De Blasio Administration Ends Use of Punitive Segregation for Adolescent Inmates on Rikers Island

Mayor de Blasio and Department Correction Commissioner Joe Ponte announced the end of punitive segregation for adolescents in New York City jails. As of December 4, the Department of Correction had moved all 16- and 17 year-old inmates out of punitive segregation and ended the practice as a form of punishment for the youngest inmates at the nine operational jails on Rikers. There were 91 adolescents in punitive segregation on January 1, 2014, the day Mayor de Blasio took office.

Upon arriving at the Department in April 2014, Commissioner Ponte appointed a diverse team to study best practices, visit other jurisdictions and interview experts to develop a new, age-appropriate plan for managing the Department’s youngest inmates. Reforms emerging from this initiative focus on five main areas: staff recruitment and training; custody management; educational services; program and reentry services; and family engagement. These reforms aim at fostering positive youth development, reducing violence among adolescents and assisting adolescents in their transition back home after discharge.

The Department has created two new adolescent housing units that serve as alternatives to punitive segregation: Transitional Repair Unit (TRU) and Second Chance Housing. Those inmates who’ve committed low-level or non-violent infractions live in Second Chance Housing and are expected to participate in special programming designed to encourage better decision-making and promote pro-social behavior. TRU is designed to hold adolescents involved in more serious infractions and provides them with access to individual support and therapy.  Today, instead of being sent to punitive segregation, adolescents who break jail rules are placed in either Second Chance Housing or TRU. Read the press release here.

Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio Announce Integrated Flood Protection System Study and Design For Red Hook

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio  announced a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the study and design of an integrated flood protection system (IFPS) in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn. The project, for which the City and State are each committing an initial $50 million, for a total of $100 million, aims to make the waterfront community more resilient and better protected from future storms. The City and State have received some initial Federal Emergency Management Agency Hazard Mitigation Grant Program funding, to be drawn down from the $100 million, to complete the project’s feasibility and design.

The study and design advance a State and City commitment to develop a comprehensive flood management system for Red Hook, part of the City’s comprehensive, five borough resiliency plan, focused on strengthening coastal defenses, upgrading buildings, protecting infrastructure and critical services, and making homes, businesses, and neighborhoods safer and more vibrant. The project was first announced in the City’s comprehensive resiliency plan and by Governor Cuomo and Vice President Biden as part an innovative storm plan aimed at making the waterfront community more resilient and better protected from future storms.

The Red Hook IFPS study will be a comprehensive and detailed assessment of all aspects needed to advance the design of an integrated flood protection system, in collaboration with the community. The Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency will lead the implementation of the Red Hook IFPS. The final measures will be developed in consultation with the Red Hook NY Rising Community Reconstruction Planning Committee, established by the Governor to provide additional rebuilding and revitalization assistance to communities severely damaged Superstorm Sandy.

The RFP will be executed by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC), in close collaboration with the Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency and the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery.

Mayor de Blasio, District Attorney Vance Announce $101 Million Investment in Infrastructure and Programming to Enhance Safety in NYCHA Developments

Mayor de Blasio and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. today announced significant new investments to enhance security at targeted New York City Housing Authority developments, as part of the administration’s initiative to build stronger families and safer neighborhoods for people living in public housing developments.

The Manhattan DA’s Office—using a portion of funds forfeited by French bank BNP Paribas for violating U.S. sanctions—is committing approximately $101 million to fund key infrastructure upgrades, such as additional exterior and interior security cameras, exterior permanent lighting, new doors and layered (keyfob) access, as well as additional public safety evaluation and programming.

The announcement builds on the Mayor’s Action Plan for Neighborhood Safety, the $210.5 million plan announced by Mayor de Blasio in July 2014 to strengthen neighborhoods and reduce violent crime at the 15 NYCHA developments that account for nearly 20 percent of all violent crime in public housing through more targeted law enforcement efforts, immediate physical improvements, aggressive community engagement and outreach efforts, and the expansion of work and education programs. This initiative includes $25 million from the City Council and the City Council Speaker’s Office to fund infrastructure improvements.

Fulfilling Pledge, Mayor de Blasio Joins Brooklynites to Break Ground on 100 Percent Affordable Building at Pacific Park

Mayor Bill de Blasio today joined local officials and community leaders to break ground on a new 298-unit, 100 percent affordable building at Pacific Park Brooklyn. The building, 535 Carlton Avenue, is being developed by Greenland Forest City Partners and is the second affordable housing project built at Pacific Park Brooklyn, formerly known as Atlantic Yards. A third building, also 100 percent affordable and negotiated by the de Blasio administration will break ground in 2015.

The new building will contribute to the Mayor’s plan to build and preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing over the next decade. Today’s groundbreaking reflects a commitment Greenland Forest City Partners made with Governor Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio and local community groups in June 2014 to build 2,250 affordable apartments by 2025. Read the press release here.

First Lady Chirlane Mccray Announces Changes to her Team

First Lady Chirlane McCray announced that Roxanne John, the Executive Director of Gracie Mansion, will now assume the role of Chief of Staff in addition to her current position. She will serve from Gracie Mansion. A new hire, Jackie Bray, will be the First Lady’s Deputy Chief of Staff. She will serve from City Hall.

“Roxanne’s leadership and expanded portfolio, along with Jackie Bray’s breadth of experience, will bring additional support to implementing the Mayor’s agenda,” said First Lady Chirlane McCray. “In 2015, we will deepen our focus on issues like mental health, domestic violence and expanding educational opportunities for all our children.”

John, the daughter of Trinidadian immigrants, joined the administration in September. Before that, she served as the Vice President of Marketing at the Institute for International Research, and brings 25 years of experience in the media and event industry to her new position.

Jackie Bray most recently served as the Deputy Chief of Staff of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  In her role at NOAA, Bray managed headquarter staff offices, liaised between NOAA and other agencies, and directed the day-to-day management of agency headquarters.

Citywide and Borough Electeds:

City Council Votes on Regulations for Social Adult Day Care Programs

The Council voted on legislation requiring all social adult day care facilities in the City to register with the Department for the Aging and comply with regulations developed by New York State. Additionally, the Council voted on a package of bills addressing humane treatment of animals in city pet shops.

Social Adult Day Care Regulation

Social adult day care programs provide functionally impaired individuals—such as those suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia—with personal care, nutritious meals, and the opportunity to socialize in a safe, supervised setting. While New York State has developed regulations for adult day care facilities, they currently apply only to programs that receive direct funding from the State or the City. As a result, New York City has seen a surge in unregulated social adult day care programs engaging in questionable practices.

Many of these unregulated programs are funded through managed long term care companies (MLTCs), and are compensated for each additional participant they enroll for social adult day care, often regardless of whether the participant is actually functionally impaired. This creates the potential for exploitative practices at the expense of a vulnerable population, and raises questions about misuse of Medicaid dollars.

Introduction 358-A, sponsored by Council Member Margaret Chin, would require that all social adult day care programs register with the Department for the Aging and adhere to basic standards on participant eligibility, program services and administration, staffing, and facilities. Failure to register or adhere to regulations would result in a civil penalty of between $250 and $1,000 per day.

The law would take effect 180 days after enactment; however, penalties for violating program standards would not be assessed until one year after the law’s enactment.

Comptroller Stringer Audit Reveals That NYCHA Squandered Opportunities for at Least $692 Million in Revenue and Savings

The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) missed out on at least $692 million in revenue and cost savings opportunities and repeatedly failed to meet revenue and savings projections, according to an audit of NYCHA’s finances and financial practicesreleased today by New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer. 

Since 1934, NYCHA has provided housing to low and moderate income New York City residents.  Currently, more than 400,000 New Yorkers reside in the 334 public housing developments and 235,000 residents receive Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program rental assistance. In 2013, NYCHA reported total revenues of $3.1 billion, consisting primarily of federal Section 8 subsidies, tenant revenue and federal public housing operating subsidy, along with $419 million in federal public housing capital funds.

Comptroller Scott M. Stringer Releases Analysis of New York’s Economy & November Financial Plan

New York City’s economy outpaced the nation over the first three quarters of the year, helping to strengthen the City’s financial position, according to an analysis by New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer of the City’s 2014 November Financial Plan (November Plan).

The Comptroller’s report “The State of the City’s Economy and Finances” is submitted to the City Council in accordance with the New York City Charter mandate that the Comptroller evaluate the City’s most recent financial plan and present his findings on the condition of the City’s economy and finances.
The November Plan shows a FY15 budget of $76.94 billion.  However, that figure does not include the labor costs for the tentative labor agreements announced after the release of the November Plan with the school supervisors and administrators and the uniform superior officers that are above the pattern funded in the budget.

The Comptroller’s Office forecasts that tax revenues could be higher by $522 million in FY15, $668 million in FY16, $966 million in FY17, and $1.29 billion in FY18. After accounting for the Comptroller’s Office’s budget risks, including the full labor cost of the uniformed superior officers’ agreement extended to the unsettled uniform unions and other offsets, the Comptroller’s restated budget gaps are: $1.46 billion in FY16, $516 million in FY17 and $780 million in FY18.

The report also looks at the actual expenditures and revenues from the close of FY14.  Despite $3.5 billion in new revenue, for the sixth consecutive year, the City depleted its existing budget cushion faster than it accumulated new resources for the future.

Borough President Diaz Distributed Toys to Military Families with Wildlife Conservation Society

On Friday, December 19, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and John Calvelli, Executive Vice President of Public Affairs at Wildlife Conservation Society, joined Santa and Mrs. Claus at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo to distribute toys to local Bronx military families in need of support this holiday season.

Borough President Adams Hosts Holiday Concert for Over 2,000 Brooklyn Youth from Underserved Communities

On Saturday, Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams hosted a holiday concert at the Christian Cultural Center in East New York for over two thousand Brooklyn youth from underserved communities, who also received toys and books as gifts following the event. There were performances from groups including the Soul Tigers marching band and step team, based out of IS 292 Margaret S. Douglas in East New York, the Brooklyn Ballet, as well as the choir, dance team and step team from St. Joseph High School in Downtown Brooklyn. Borough President Adams spoke to the importance of supporting underserved communities this holiday season.

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