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Originally published: February 21, 2018

Citizens Union delivered a letter on Friday, February 16th, to Mayor de Blasio’s office in City Hall, critical of the manner in which the Mayor is approaching the creation of a Charter Revision Commission. The Commission will review the Charter of the City of New York, inviting input from New Yorkers and then issue a report with recommendations for changes, to be ratified or rejected by the public, in an election.

Citizens Union believes pressure from the Mayor’s office for the Commission to pursue specific reforms on the New York City Charter, directly conflicts with the responsibilities of a Charter Revision Commission.

“I will use my authority to appoint a Charter Revision Commission, and I will give it the mandate to propose a plan for deep public financing of local elections,” stated Mayor de Blasio, last week. However, no authority exists for any elected or appointed official to “mandate” that a specific recommendation is adopted or considered. All decisions regarding what charter revisions are voted on by New Yorkers, are solely those of the Charter Revision Commission.

It is essential to assure the commission’s independence. Citizens Union urges the office of the Mayor to consider the possible appointees to the Commission proposed by the City Council, Public Advocate, Comptroller and the Borough Presidents. Citizens Union also urges the Mayor to respect the importance of the Commission’s independence from the influence of any appointed or elected official.

Citizens Union has conducted an extensive review of the city charter and will offer our recommendations to the Charter Revision Commission while working with the Mayor’s office on implementation of the DemocracyNYC agenda.

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