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Throughout its history, Citizens Union has weighed in on issues involving political reform and those of good and effective government. It also has on occasion offered its views on issues that rise to a level of significant citywide importance.

Civil Service Reform

Citizens Union engaged a team of NYU Wagner Graduate Students to develop a Capstone Report on the New York City civil service system and possible reforms. Their report also provided a primer on the history of the city’s civil service system, and was completed after conducting stakeholder interviews.

Public Oversight of Police Misconduct 

Citizens Union, beginning in 2007, reviewed New York City’s policies and procedures governing the handling of alleged police misconduct and the subsequent internal disciplinary action. Members of CU, its board of directors, and staff have participated in meetings with over two dozen key individual stakeholders, including the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB), City Council Members, the Police Commissioner, police officers, district attorneys, representatives of the Mayors Office, among others, to better understand and evaluate the issue. The culmination of the research and discussions was the development of a series of policy recommendation designed to improve public confidence and support for the New York Police Department (NYPD) by strengthening public oversight of police misconduct and ensuring a fairer and more independent procedure for handling complaints of misconduct.

Ultimately, in 2012 the city announced an agreement to implement one of Citizens Union’s recommendations through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to allow the CCRB to prosecute cases of misconduct which it substantiates, which was largely driven by Citizens Union’s advocacy efforts. Citizens Union plans to continue to advocate for additional necessary changes to the civilian oversight process.

Further Resources and Websites of Interest:

2010 Charter Revision Commission – Comprehensive Review of the City Charter

Citizens Union in 2010 conducted a comprehensive review of the City Charter, producing a report for the 2010 Charter Revision Commission providing a comprehensive framework for improving governance, elections, and civic participation in New York City.  Ultimately, many measures supported by Citizens Union were approved by the voters.  See our 2010 Voters Directory for more information on the measures ultimately adopted by the voters.

Further Resources and Websites of Interest:

New Funding Sources for MTA Operations

Citizens Union announced its support for many of the recommendations recently put forward by Metropolitan Transportation Authority Financing Commission (Commission), headed by former Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) chief Richard Ravitch, to address the MTAs dire need for new sources of revenue. 

Further Resources and Websites of Interest:

Congestion Pricing

Citizens Union released a position statement on implementation of congestion pricing in New York City. The proposals put forth by Mayor Bloomberg and the Traffic Congestion Mitigation Commission had the potential to expand the role of government in both mitigating traffic congestion and raising funds for new public transportation projects. Citizens Union offered its recommendations to ensure that the proposals would meet their intended goals. Citizens Union offered its support for congestion pricing, and made a series of recommendations to improve the proposal submitted by the commission. Chief among the recommendations was the call for establishment an independent expert panel to conduct ongoing review of the program and the modification of the plans toll offset structure. Additional support was given for the creation of a dedicated fund for mass transit and the expansion of Bus Rapid Transit.

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