City budget sends 'wrong message': Public Advocate Jumaane Williams fires back at de Blasio

Kimberly Dole
July 01, 2020 - 4:40 pm
Jumaane Williams

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NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- Public Advocate Jumaane Williams fired back at Mayor Bill de Blasio on Wednesday after previously threatening to block tax collection without an NYPD hiring freeze in the city's budget.

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Williams says he wants to have a conversation with the mayor but is taking action because the primary message the budget sends is a negative one.

The city's new budget cuts the hiring of new nurses, doctors, social workers, or guidance counselors but will still hire an additional 1,000 police officers at a time where people are asking to re-envision what public safety is, is "the wrong message," Williams told 1010 WINS on Wednesday.

The $88.1 billion budget the city agreed on would cut $1 billion from the NYPD but Williams feels that the hiring freezes for all city agencies should also include the police. 

Willimas says the canceled recruitment class in July is a "disguise".

"There are four classes," he explained. "They simply canceled one," adding that at the end of this budget fiscal year, more officers will still be hired.

As of last Saturday, there were more than 500 shootings across the city this year with 83 of them occurring over a nine-day period. 

When asked if an NYPD hiring freeze was a good idea given those numbers, Williams said that we all have to agree that the increase in violence is "just too much," be we must be honest about the stories behind the number.

"Everyone could've expected to see a spike during a global pandemic, but Williams says the danger comes if the city responds by saying that what the "community needs are police to arrest, summons, and to use guns and use batons as a way out tof this problem."

"We need everybody engaged, every agency. and the prob with the budget is it just doesn't do that"

The budget doesn't put any additional money into the Department of Health, the Department of Education, and cuts all the youth programs.

"The one place it puts additional money into is 1000 more police officers," something he says is not helpful to the police or community.

When the mayor was asked during his daily briefing what actions he is prepared to take if Williams attempts to use his charter power, he responded by saying "I was public advocate. I know the law. That's just a misinterpretation of the law."

"The one thing the mayor said that was true was that he was an advocate, the rest of it I believe was misinterpreted," Williams fired back.

He said he will use his charter mandated duty to make sure that he can have a conversation with the mayor and says he is willing to do whatever needs to be done. 

"What I want to happen is for the mayor and I to have a conversation and the right thing to occur."

Williams said that he hasn't spoken to the mayor in a while but is willing to pick up the phone and call him adding that "the phone actually works both ways."