Former two-time mayoral candidate Chris Caruso addressed the City Council remotely Monday night urging the president of the legislative body Aidee Nieves to reinstate three members who were stripped of committee assignments for what she termed chaotic behavior.
Good evening Madame President and Members of the Common Council:
This evening, I direct my remarks to the Council President and those members involved in stripping three duly elected members (Michael De Filippo, Maria Pereira and Michelle Lyons) of their leadership and committee assignments because of their courageous actions against unbridled corruption.
While the City is once again under federal investigation, this is no time to settle political conflicts, personality differences, and petty disputes, or to exercise one’s power and authority. Rather, it’s time for our City’s legislative body to unite and exercise its lawful right of oversight and accountability of the Executive branch. It is no time to blindly follow the leader, or to retaliate against fellow colleagues who challenge authority or speak out against corruption.
It’s time that robust debate, legislative proposals on anti-corruption ordinances or charter revisions, and the monitoring of city operations and taxpayer dollars are front and center. It]s time that the Council calls on City employees to report wrong doing under the protection of whistleblower status, and to speak out against other elected and public officials (including colleagues) who have conflicts of interest that are counter to the public good and form the breeding ground of corruption.
Some elected officials are under the ill-informed impression that if people don’t talk about the corruption and the federal investigation, it will go away. Believe it or not, it’s just begun. So, buckle up and get ready.
Madame President, I call on you to immediately restore the leadership and committee assignments of Michael DeFilippo, Maria Pereira and Michelle Lyons. Now, more than ever, we can’t tolerate the muzzling of the voices of our local legislators. It’s high time that you and the Council strive to restore confidence and trust to a beleaguered City and assure its residents that someone is truly guarding the hen house from the foxes. Thank you.