The general public advocate is a comparatively new place in New York Metropolis authorities, created in 1993 after main revisions to the Metropolis Constitution in 1989.
Since then, the place, initially known as the New York Metropolis Council President, has been occupied 5 occasions, together with by the present mayor, Invoice de Blasio, who served one time period till 2014. At present, the general public advocate workplace is held by Jumaane Willams, who received the 2019 particular election after the seat was vacated by Letitia James, who grew to become the state lawyer common by means of a particular election. Because of the Metropolis Constitution, the function is seen as largely ceremonial. Its pure may comes from the bully pulpit they preside.
There are a handful of candidates operating this yr, elevating the query of what precisely does the general public advocate do? Right here’s a rundown of their tasks and energy they maintain in metropolis authorities.
Serves As The Individuals’s Watchdog
The first function of a public advocate is to function a watchdog or ombudsman over metropolis authorities, monitoring metropolis companies and investigating citizen complaints because the folks’s roving consultant.
Whereas the general public advocate holds little energy over metropolis companies, they’re chargeable for calling consideration to any points involving metropolis companies. If these points go unaddressed, following an preliminary briefing, the general public advocate is instructed to take it to the New York Metropolis Council or the mayor and supply a proposal addressing the failures whereas providing steering and course in the direction of an answer. The general public advocate has even filed lawsuits to enact change.
The general public advocate also can examine complaints in the direction of companies or people. When de Blasio held the seat, he created a listing of the Worst Landlords Watch Listing, a public shaming of landlords that carried over to his successors.
Holds The Second Highest Rating Workplace
Technically, the general public advocate is the second highest rating official in New York Metropolis, following the mayor, and stands first in line to imagine mayoral duties (if the general public advocate is just not obtainable, the duty then goes to the council speaker).
If the mayor is unable to work for 9 consecutive days, the general public advocate takes over the mayor’s duties till their return. Within the occasion the mayor quits the general public advocate turns into appearing mayor till one other is elected.
Introduces Laws in Metropolis Council
Whereas the general public advocate has no vote within the Metropolis Council, they will introduce a invoice or co-sponsor one with a council member, much like that of a borough president. They will additionally attend Metropolis Council conferences.
Initially, a public advocate’s responsibility included overseeing the Metropolis Council however the 2002 Metropolis Constitution revision shifted that duty to the council speaker.
A public advocate additionally serves as chair of the Fee of Public Info and Communication, whose major objective is to enhance public entry to metropolis info and develop new technological approaches to enhance the distribution of metropolis information. Workplace-holders additionally serve on the committee that selects the director of the Unbiased Finances Workplace (IBO) and appoints members to a number of boards and commissions.
A public advocate can serve as much as two phrases. The place is called a stepping stone to larger roles in authorities resembling mayor. Moreover de Blasio, the primary public advocate Mark Inexperienced additionally ran for mayor however was unsuccessful. Following de Blasio, James vacated her seat after she was elected because the New York lawyer common.
With no concrete pointers on the way to function the folks’s watchdog, the place is ever-evolving and molded by the office-holder elected.