The New York City Council voted 48-2, with one abstention, to approve Mark Peters’ appointment as commissioner of the Department of Investigation during Tuesday’s stated meeting, despite the initial reservations of some Council members that his’ relationship with Mayor Bill de Blasio may be a conflict of interest. Peters previously served as treasurer for de Blasio’s mayoral campaign.
Peters was unanimously approved by the Council’s Rules Committee in the morning, with only Councilman Jumaane Williams abstaining. Williams was one of several Council members who raised questions about Peters’ ability to be independent given his close ties to the mayor. But in explaining his decision to abstain, Williams acknowledged Peters’ qualifications for the position.
“I think he had a good background, I think he’s going to be a good commissioner, I think he’s proven his independence going forward, mine was just the appearance and precedence it set as opposed to anything against Mr. Peters himself,” Williams said. The councilman added that he still had some questions about de Blasio’s input in Peters’ future selection of an inspector general for the Police Department.
During the stated meeting, Councilman Dan Garodnick echoed Williams’ concerns about the NYPD inspector general and “strongly” urged Peters to make his selection without the mayor’s involvement.
The only members to vote against Peters were Councilwoman Annabel Palma of the Bronx and Queens Councilman Rory Lancman. Palma did not explain her vote, but Lancman said that the main reason for his “no” vote was that Peters played a significant role in the mayor’s “political fortunes.”
“I don’t have any doubt or questions about Mark’s personal integrity or the mayor’s personal integrity, but the public does not get to sit in committee rooms and get to know their commissioners well enough to make individual nuanced judgments about their character,” Lancman said after the meeting. “Commissioner of Investigation is one of those positions that the public has to be able to see in a very plain and simple way that this person is going to be able to call the balls and strikes as they see them, and not be concerned about the impact it might have on the mayor or one of the mayor’s donors.”
Tags: annabel-palma, City Council Rules Committee, dan-garodnick, Department of Investigation Commissioner, Jumaane Williams, Mark Peters, Mayor Bill de Blasio, New York City Council, New York Police Department, NYPD Inspector General, Rory Lancman