COMMON CAUSE NEW YORK
LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK NEW YORK PUBLIC INTEREST RESEARCH GROUP REINVENT ALBANY
WOMEN’S CITY CLUB OF NEW YORK
The Honorable Bill de Blasio
Mayor, City of New York
New York, NY 10007
Mr. Dean Fuleihan
Director, Office of Management and Budget
City of New York
255 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10012
VIA EMAIL AND MAIL
Re: Funding for Commission on Public Information and Communication (COPIC) Dear Mayor de Blasio and Director Fuleihan,
We write as government watchdog groups and members of the NYC Transparency Working Group to request that the final city budget include funding sufficient for the Commission on Public Information and Communication (COPIC) to hire staff and conduct its charter mandated duties.
COPIC was created by the 1989 City Charter revision. Section 1061(c) of the City Charter regarding COPIC, states: “The commission shall appoint an executive director, a general counsel and such other officers, employees, and consultants as are necessary to fulfill its duties, within appropriations available therefor.”
We believe that this indicates the COPIC should receive its own budget, beyond that provided to the Public Advocate for its current staff. We understand that the Public Advocate has requested $100,000 for such staffing, though note that the charter-mandated listing of staff indicates that a higher number of $250,000 would be more appropriate.
The Commission on Public Information and Communication was most recently reconvened by Public Advocate Letitia James in December 2014, with appointees from your administration, and other representation from the Public Advocate, City Council and Borough Presidents. It held its second meeting on May 19, 2015, voting on a plan to carry out its mandate, specifically focusing on compliance with Local Law 103 of 2013 regarding the webcasting of city government entities.
Given the promise of COPIC to increase public accessibility of city government meetings, data and information, we request the modest budget of $250,000 for staffing of COPIC to ensure it is able to fulfill
the duties outlined in the City Charter. We believe this will also serve to assist other city government entities in fulfilling their mandates by expanding their reach and accessibility to the public.
Noel Hidalgo, Executive Director
Rachael Fauss, Director of Public Policy
Andrew Rasiej, Founder
Lauren George, Associate Director
Common Cause New York
Cathy Gray, Vice President
League of Women Voters of the City of New York
Gene Russianoff, Staff Attorney
John Kaehny, Executive Director
Jacqueline Ebanks, Executive Director
Women’s City Club of New York
Cc. Public Advocate Letitia James
Councilmember Julissa Ferreras, Chair, Committee on Finance
Councilmember Ben Kallos, Chair, Committee on Governmental Operations Umair Khan, Interim Executive Director, COPIC
Jon Paul Lupo, Director of City Legislative Affairs, Office of the Mayor
Jeff Merritt, Director of Innovation, Mayor’s Office of Technology and Innovation
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