Adams’ screening policy for elected officials interferes with legally-required duties: council

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City Councilman Lincoln Restler slammed Mayor Adams on Wednesday for requiring lawmakers fill out forms to communicate with administration officials, saying the policy is “interfering” with those officials’ City Charter-mandated duties and is “a dangerous politicization of city government.”

Restler, a Brooklyn Democratic who’s been critical of the policy since it became public last month, raised the City Charter issue for the first time Wednesday at a hearing of the Council’s Government Operations Committee, saying the new layer of red tape represents a “stark contrast” with existing law.

“It’s not an alternative or an additional way in which you can help. It’s actually a bureaucratic bottleneck that doesn’t make any sense,” Restler said during his questioning of Tiffany Raspberry, who heads the mayor’s intergovernmental affairs team and is one of the architects of the new policy.

“The charter mandates that mayoral agencies advise and assist the mayor, other elected officials and bodies of elected officials in regard to matters under the jurisdiction of their agencies.”

Restler contended that enacting a policy that requires a form to carry out those duties constitutes interference.

Under Adams’ new process, elected officials are now required to fill out an online form to engage in discussions with administration officials about “enforcement” or issues “outside the scope of daily operations.” The policy resulted in an immediate backlash, with Council members vowing they wouldn’t fill them out.

Raspberry defended it Wednesday, saying it isn’t intended to “stand in the way” of elected officials, but instead will create a “level playing field” for newly elected officials with relatively few contacts in city government.

Restler suggested a better way to address that problem would be updating the Greenbook, a directory of city officials that was previously amended annually. He repeatedly asked Raspberry whether a legal analysis of the policy had been performed by city lawyers and whether she’d read or been briefed on such an analysis.

Raspberry acknowledged there was a legal review, but said she “didn’t feel comfortable” speaking about her interpretation of the charter.

She maintained that since the policy was rolled out, the administration has received a total of 182 requests and all have received a response.

“We have received 51 requests from City Council members representing 23 different offices,” she said. “No request has been denied, and the average turn-around time for approval stands at 24 to 48 hours.”

In the event of an emergency, she noted that elected officials aren’t required to file the form.

Councilwoman Gale Brewer, a Manhattan Dem and veteran of city politics, said won’t fill it out regardless.

“I know most of the people in the agencies longer than you and longer than the mayor — and I have all their cell numbers,” she told Raspberry. “The notion that to talk to them, I have to fill out a form, you can’t imagine how it feels. It’s, like, ridiculous.”