NEW YORK (10/5/20) – Statement from Council Member Lander on the vote to remove Andy King from the New York City Council:
“I am voting today to remove Andy King from the New York City Council. This is a serious vote, but it is not a difficult one. Council Member King’s behavior has been egregious, and it shows contempt for City Council staff, for the Council as an institution, for the goal of building a world free of gender-based harassment, and for his responsibilities to his constituents.
“I should have voted to remove Council Member King last year, when the Council first considered the charges against him, and voted instead for a suspension, fine, and monitor. At the time, I failed to listen carefully enough to Council staffers, especially the courageous staffer who came forward to report his harassment. While I genuinely appreciate the extensive work of the members and staff of the City Council’s Committee on Standards and Ethics, and acknowledge the challenge of accountability in democratic institutions like the City Council, there is a flaw in a process where accusations of harassment — of an abuse of power of a Council Member over staff — are brought to, investigated by, and disposed by a group comprised entirely of the peers of the Member in question.
“Thank you to the members of Harassment Free New York City Council, primarily for their work to demand a City Council free from harassment, and also for pushing me not only to understand the Council’s mistake last year, but also to see the need for systemic changes in how the City deals with accusations of harassment by elected officials. We should comply with their demand to hold a hearing on harassment in the City Council, and then move forward to establish a new system for investigation and consequences.
“Today, we are doing what is necessary, and what we should have done a year ago. Going forward, I am committed to learning from this abuse, and working with my colleagues and Council staff to build a City Council that better supports and protects all its people.”