Gentile says city should make corruption fighting easier
The public wants to root out political corruption, but it needs the tools to go after the bad guys, according to Councilmember Vincent Gentile, who is pushing legislation it easier for everyday New Yorkers to help stamp out crooks.
Gentile (D-Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights-Bensonhurst) has introduced legislation that would require the city’s Department of Investigation (DOI) to do a better job of tracking corruption complaints it receives. Under Gentile’s bill, DOI would be required to report on received complaints disaggregated by month, the agency involved, category of employee misconduct and the mechanism through which the complaint was submitted.
Tracking the complaints will help the DOI spot troubling trends and concentrate public outreach strategies with more efficiency, Gentile said.
The DOI, through its famous “If you see something, say something” campaign, is already reaching out to the public through television, radio and print advertising to inform residents on how to report corruption.
But Gentile pointed out that the agency does it a voluntary basis.
Gentile, chairman of the council’s Oversight and Investigations Committee, is introducing the bill, Intro 1618, jointly with fellow Councilmembers Daniel Dromm, Rory Lancman, Helen Rosenthal and Ritchie Torres.
“Intro 1618 will utilize the public, a valued and vigilant resource, to help combat corruption, waste, fraud and misconduct all across the city. Public outreach campaigns enhance civic education and efficiency in government, increasing the taxpayers’ return on investment when city assets are misused,” Gentile said in a statement. “Tracking the complaints submitted by the public to the Department of Investigation will measure the effectiveness of the outreach efforts as well as help fine-tune departmental procedures for years to come.”
Dromm (D-Elmhurst-Jackson Heights) predicted that the bill will make the city safer and more equitable. “By educating New Yorkers on city employee misconduct and tracking complaints, we will help root out corruption and waste of city resources,” he stated.
“Members of the public are an important line of defense against corruption, fraud and waste in New York City,” said Lancman (D-Flushing-Fresh Meadows). “But in order for New Yorkers to stop nefarious behavior in its tracks, we need to provide them with the information on how they can take action to help the city. Expanding DOI’s public education efforts and complaint tracking is smart public policy that will pay dividends in improving how the city operates.”
Gentile, who is term-limited and cannot run for re-election to the City Council, is running for Brooklyn district attorney. Prior to entering politics in the 1990s, he served as an assistant district attorney in Queens.
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