Mayor rejects Council bills proposed to improve city’s blizzard response

City Councilmen Jimmy Van Bramer (l. to r. front row), Dan Halloran, Vincent Genile and Peter Vallone attend a hearing on bills before the council concerning the city’s response to the Dec. 26 blizzard. Photo by Connor Adams Sheets
By Connor Adams Sheets

Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration does not support any of the City Council’s suggestions for legislation proposed in response to the city’s mishandling of the Dec. 26 blizzard, which Bloomberg himself described as “inadequate” and “unsatisfactory.”

Liz Weinstein, director of the mayor’s office of operations, said Monday that Bloomberg does not endorse any of the 16 bills city councilmembers have proposed to address the shortcomings exposed by the aftermath of the storm, which embarrassed Bloomberg and his emergency response team. Flaws in the city’s storm response allowed for parts of Queens to remained unplowed for upwards of five days.

Weinstein presented a 15-part plan for changing city operations that was first discussed at a January Council hearing, then proceeded to individually rebut each of the bills before the council.

The legislation’s goals ranged from the creation of a new emergency management plan to new rules for clearing snow from bus stops to an overhaul of the city’s 911 service.

“It does strike me that the testimony today was ,‘We messed up, but trust us to do better in the future’ … We don’t necessarily trust them to necessarily exercise their discretion efficiently, and that’s why we’ve proposed legislation,” Councilman G. Oliver Koppell (D-Bronx) told Weinstein. “There should be rules, all these bills do is require that you implement those rules.”

Weinstein balked during Monday’s joint hearing of the council’s public safety, transportation and sanitation committees at each bill, but said the administration wants to continue discussions with members of the council about the issue.

“There are pieces of many of the bills that I think are good, and that I’d be willing to work on with you or to combine in a plan,” Weinstein said. “

Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at csheets@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.

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