City Policy Agenda

Citizens Union City Policy Agenda - 2015

E
LECTION REFORM

  • Enact a top-two election system to replace the current closed partisan primary system.
  • Establish instant runoff voting for citywide offices, borough presidents and the City Council.
  • Ensure that the Board of Elections measures its performance through the Mayor’s Management Report.
  • Create a voluntary municipal poll worker program to expand the pool of qualified poll workers.
  • Redesign the ballot to ensure that the font size is larger and the ballot is more readable.
  • Expand the Voter Guide to include state and federal elections, and allow voters to opt for email guides.
  • Create Student Voter Registration Day and require schools provide voter registration forms to parents.
  • Monitor implementation of the newly-updated Pro-Voter Law and Mayoral Directive #1 so New Yorkers are provided more opportunities to register to vote at city agencies.
  • Examine allowing legal residents to vote in municipal elections.

PUBLIC OVERSIGHT OF POLICE MISCONDUCT

  • Enact further reforms to boost public confidence in accountability of police misconduct.
  • Monitor use of the Civilian Complaint Review Board’s prosecutorial authority and the NYPD Inspector General.
  • Reduce the frequency of stop, question and frisk, and ensure it is conducted with professionalism.
  • Make the Commission to Combat Police Corruption (CCPC) permanent and grant it subpoena power.

GOVERNMENT OPENNESS AND TRANSPARENCY

  • Monitor city agencies’ compliance with the Open Data and Webcasting Laws.
  • Create a central portal to track Freedom of Information Law requests for city government records.

CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM

  • Increase the public funds and spending caps to counteract the increase in independent expenditures.
  • No longer match contributions bundled by lobbyists; ban placement agents from bundling donations, and expand doing business restrictions.
  • Ban the use of public funds for campaign consulting services from firms that also lobby.
  • Further reduce public funds for candidates facing minimal opposition and enact “war chest” restrictions.

CITY COUNCIL REFORM

  • Monitor the 2014 Council Rules Reforms in the areas of discretionary funding and bill drafting. 
  • Limit stipend allocations to leadership posts, reduce number of committees, and increase financial disclosure of outside income.
  • Restore the quadrennial cycle of elected official compensation review.

BUDGET AND PENSION REFORM

  • Enact independent budgeting for borough presidents, the public advocate, the Conflicts of Interest Board, and community boards.
  • Increase budget transparency by more clearly defining units of appropriation and limiting their size. 
  • Release the non-property revenue projections prior to Council hearings on the Executive budget.
  • Create a centralized Pension Investment Board to create greater efficiencies in investments.

COMMUNITY BOARD REFORM

  • Provide urban planners to community boards apart from the borough presidents’ offices.
  • Open community boards to their communities by creating a formal, standardized and transparent process for filling positions. Establish term limits of five consecutive two-year terms for board members.

LAND USE

  • Include appointees on the Board of Standards and Appeals from the borough presidents and public advocate.
  • Acknowledge 197-a plans by reconciling them with other development plans in strategic planning.

MAYORAL CONTROL OF CITY SCHOOLS

  • Seek renewal of mayoral control while ensuring that the governance system encourages accountability, provides transparency, engages more parents, and respects democratic participation.

 


See also our historic State Policy Agendas