After the New York City Council voted on Tuesday to adopt the city’s Fiscal Year 2021 budget, Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams announced that he plans to prevent the execution of the budget during the final tax warrant process, under the New York City Charter Ch. 58, Section 1518.
Williams, the son of Grenadian immigrants, was furious that the budget did not include a New York Police Department (NYPD) hiring freeze or a commitment to “true school safety reform.”
“In a moment when New Yorkers, with the entire nation, are demanding a reimagining of public safety, a reckoning with systemic injustices and inequities, the city falls far short with a budget that misses the moment of need,” he said.
“It sends a message to New Yorkers that, in a time of economic and public health devastation, the city cannot adequately fund senior services, city hospitals. or youth jobs, cannot afford to hire doctors, nurses, teachers, guidance counselors, social workers, but, unquestionably, needs to add over 1,000 police officers,” Williams added. It perpetuates the idea that the NYPD is sacrosanct, and the solution is always more police, and that we must accept this.
“This budget reiterates that message in a failure to commit on paper to a just transition for school safety,” he continued. “It is one that I cannot support and will not sign off on. “These are not my only objections in this budget, but they are the most glaring, the clearest actions that this administration could have corrected, and emblematic of such an unwillingness to commit to real transformational change that I am compelled to act in my charter mandated capacity as Public Advocate.”
Williams said this action “cannot be taken lightly,” stating that “it seems that when New Yorkers raised their voices for change, when my office called for specific, tangible actions, this administration either did not listen, did not care, or did not take us seriously.
“Nor, it seems, did they read the charter,” he said.