Council will also vote on legislation requiring notification of tree plantings at hospital and school entrances and exits
City Hall – The New York City Council will be voting on legislation today at the Stated Meeting that will authorize the proposed merger of the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) and the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS). The Council will also vote on legislation that will require the Department of Parks and Recreation to provide notification prior to planting trees within 100 feet of a hospital’s or school’s entrance or exit.
DEPARTMENT OF JUVENILE JUSTICE AND ACS MERGER
The Council will be voting on the merger of the Department of Juvenile Justice and the Administration for Children’s Services, first mentioned in the Mayor’s 2010 State of the City speech. Through integration, the City will be able to provide better services for those in detention and stronger supervision for those who can be safely maintained in the community. The merger will also enable child welfare programs to be increasingly used to create positive long-term plans for youth and their families when youth enter into the juvenile justice system and will decrease the City’s use of detention. With the merger, the city will also save an estimated $2.4 million in city funds.
“We must always work toward the best interest of our children, and that means constantly reevaluating how the City provides services for them,” said Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “I commend Mayor Bloomberg, Commissioner Mattingly and my colleagues Chair Sara González and Chair Annabel Palma for all their work on this agency merger. With their leadership and oversight, I can confidently say that we are continuing to make New York City’s children’s safety and welfare a priority.”
“I have repeatedly expressed my heartfelt position that we must continue to seek better and more meaningful outcomes for children who come into contact with the Juvenile Justice system. As children, they have the inherent ability to absorb transformative lessons in their lives and to use them to turn their lives around. We are seeing proof that Commissioner Mattingly and his team share that commitment throughout the many meetings and discussions we shared, in the testimony we heard and in the progress we have made which will not only lead to lower detention and recidivism rates but also enable us to, at long last, close Spofford once and for all,” said Council Member Sara González, Chair of the Juvenile Justice Committee.
“The General Welfare and the Juvenile Justice Committees have held a number of hearings examining the merger,” said Council Member Annabel Palma, Chair of the General Welfare Committee. “Both Council Member Gonzalez and I are optimistic that this merger will lead to improvements in the City’s juvenile justice system. Specifically, we expect a reduction in the City’s use of detention and an increase in availability of alternative to detention programs for youth. Our committees will continue to use our oversight capabilities to make sure that ACS adequately fulfills all of its vital mandates.”
TREE PLANTING NOTIFICATION
In addition, the Council will also be voting on legislation that will require the Department of Parks and Recreation to provide notification to any hospital or school prior to planting trees within 100 feet of an entrance or exit to the hospital or school. The notification must be provided between 30 and 120 days of the planting and can be submitted via personal service, fax or regular mail.
Without notification, tree plantings risk being placed in areas used for pick up and drop off of patients and students, potentially disrupting the process.
Minority Leader Oddo, sponsor the legislation, said, “This bill is simply about common sense. It requires the Parks Department to give principals and hospital administrators the courtesy of a ‘heads up’ about where they plan to plant trees in front of their facilities. Such a ‘heads up’ could have led to a better outcome in front of PS 54 in my district because the Principal could have made her case as to why the location chosen to plant trees was a poor one. We all love trees; we just want to see them planted in the best locations outside of schools and hospitals.”
LIVE ONLINE STREAMING OF STATED MEETINGS
Starting at today’s stated meeting, the Council will begin to stream all stated meetings live online. To watch the meetings, viewers can go to http://council.nyc.gov/live to watch the live video broadcast. Additionally, meetings will be archived for public access and viewing.
“In a city that prides itself on media and civic engagement, we should be technologically responsive to the desire for increased participation in the forums where policy is discussed and shaped. Webstreaming City Council Stated Meetings is a step in the right direction toward increasing government transparency. I look forward to working with Speaker Quinn, my colleagues, DoITT and good government and technology advocates to continue to increase real time access to public meetings. Many New Yorkers cannot be physically in City Hall for discussions, but they have lots to contribute when real time information is available,” said Council Member Gale Brewer.
“The more we can bring government directly to the people, the more we can make government responsive and responsible,” said Council Member Dan Garodnick, Chair of the City Council Committee on Technology. “Webstreaming the Council’s stated meetings is a first step to encourage greater participation by New Yorkers in public affairs, and break down barriers between elected officials and the residents we serve.”
COUNCIL COMMITTEE CHAIRS
The Council will also vote to appoint a number of Committee Chairs. Specifically, Council Member Dan Garodnick will chair the Committee on Consumer Affairs; Council Member Fernando Cabrera will chair the Committee on Technology; Council Member Karen Koslowitz will chair the Committee on Economic Development; and Council Member David Greenfield will chair the Subcommittee on Senior Centers.