New York City Councilman Vincent Gentile discusses the future of member items and the appointment of Bill Bratton as the new police commissioner and gives incoming council members some advice in an interview with Nick Powell.
Gentile said that with a new speaker set to take over for Christine Quinn in 2014, he would like to reform how member items are doled out to Council members. He said he has been a “poster boy” for lawmakers being punished with fewer member items because they oppose the policies of the Speaker.
“If the Speaker takes it out on the particular member, it doesn’t hurt the member,” he said. “Because it didn’t hurt me. But you hurt the district that they represent. You hurt the voters of New York, the constituents. And those constituents need to be served. And I think a reform that would preclude a speaker taking some retribution on a member because of a vote or a series of votes would be a good reform and I would support that.”
Gentile, who serves on the Committee for Fire and Criminal Justice, also had high praise for the selection of William Bratton to be the next police commissioner. He called the pick a win-win because of Bratton’s proven record in reducing violence as well as his record on repairing community police relations in Los Angeles.
“He has learned some lessons from his first time around in New York and you can see that those lessons were learned when he became chief in Los Angeles,” Gentile said. “Violent crime went way down. And he basically turned around the police community relations. When he left in 2009, the public opinion of the L.A. Police Department was extremely high compared to six or seven years before when he took over.”