NEW YORK—Standing shoulder to shoulder with other New York City council members and supporters of the Community Safety Act, City Council Member Erik Dilan denied rumors that his vote in favor of the controversial set of bills was ever in question.
“I’m not a game player,” Dilan told a small crowd of supporters at an Aug. 8 rally in Bushwick, Brooklyn.
Dilan was referring to a New York Daily News article that indicated he might be in the hunt for the Executive Director position at The New York City Board of Elections. It’s been widely speculated whether or not the city council can override a July mayoral veto on the bills when they vote again on Aug. 22. Especially since the council’s original votes on one of the bills in the Act was so close.
Intro. 1079, which aims to establish an investigator general position to oversee the NYPD, passed by 40 to 11, but Intro. 1080, which aims to end discriminatory profiling when police employ stop-and-frisk, passed with exactly the votes it needed at 34 to 17.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg vetoed both bills on July 23. The City Council promised to override the veto, but there has been speculation over whether one of the 34 council members will switch sides.
With the publication of the Daily News article, that speculation landed squarely on Council Member Dilan, who denied any real connection between the article and his position.
“That article did not come from me, those words did not come from my mouth,” he said.
Speaking before the rally, Dilan said that reforming law enforcement practices which enable abuse is something he’s been “consistently in support of.” He said though there were “whispers” that he might be considered for the Elections Board position, and the chairman had asked him to consider it, he had never formally applied.
“It never matured,” he said.
Dilan, who will vacate his city council position after fall elections because of term limits, said there was “absolutely no linkage” between him considering the position and the story the Daily News ran.
“I’m sure the mayor’s office was just as surprised as I was,” said Dilan during the rally about the article. He was joined by fellow Council Member Jumaane Williams and by New York State Assembly Member Rafael Espinal, Jr., who is running for his seat.
Williams, who co-sponsored the Community Safety Act with Brad Landers, emphasized that the working assumption of those in support of the act has been that there are no guarantees.
“We have been cautious, concerned, and strategic,” said Williams of the strategy in getting the legislation enshrined into law.
That strategy is likely to carry over into the next mayoral term, regardless of who is elected.