New York City Council Creates New Investigative Unit

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A recent article from the New York Times reports that the New York City Council has created a new investigative unit that will oversee the operation of city agencies.

The Council had a similar investigative unit during the 1980s under Speaker Peter Vallone Sr.

Now, Speaker Corey Johnson has revived the unit, and he hopes it will act as an independent investigative body to the mayor’s office.

Johnson has chosen Councilman Ritchie Torres to lead the unit while public officials search for a permanent unit chief. Torres will instead serve as the Chair of the Council’s Oversight and Investigations Committee, which will manage the new unit.

Torres estimates that the unit will hire between 10 and 15 professional investigators with experience in fields including criminal justice, law enforcement, and investigative journalism.

The New York Times points out that in recent years, oversight hearings conducted by the Council were in response to issues raised by outside agencies instead of from its own investigative work.

Councilman Torres hopes that the new until will give the Council an opportunity to dig “deep into the operational failures of city government.”

The New York Times also reports that Torres said the unit will look into matters including “The abuse of placards. Deed restriction. [And] the disbursement of city subsidies.”

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