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Budget, Education & City Services

Core Budget Principles for NYPD

At the regularly scheduled monthly Community Board Five meeting on Thursday, September 10, 2020, the following resolution passed with a vote of 35 in favor; 0 opposed; 1 abstaining:

Community Board Five’s response to the fiscal year 2021 Executive Budget with regard to the distribution of cuts among agencies, some of which directly serve communities disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the New York Police Department, and a statement of principles to be incorporated into the Board’s fiscal year 2022 budget request.

WHEREAS, New York City faces a historic fiscal crisis due to the devastating and ongoing impact of COVID-19 on our city, state, and nation; and

WHEREAS, There is a projected loss of at least $9 billion in tax revenue to the City in fiscal year 2021 (“FY21”); and 

WHEREAS, Mayor de Blasio’s April update to the preliminary Executive Budget for FY21 called for devastating cuts to social services, housing, education, and infrastructure that are crucial to youth, seniors, and communities of color that have a history of under-investment and have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19; and

WHEREAS, Those proposed cuts would have left the New York Police Department (“NYPD”) budget largely untouched with a less than 0.4 percent reduction; and 

WHEREAS, Manhattan Community Board Five (“CB5”) is on record rejecting such disproportionate impacts to children and traditionally underserved populations, demanding that critical frontline services to rebuild communities ravaged by COVID-19 be prioritized, and strongly recommending that the NYPD not be exempt from its share of the significant budget cuts that needed to be made; and

WHEREAS, In addition to the fiscal crisis, the 2020 Executive budget coincides with broad and sustained activism led by the Black Lives Matter movement, which demands an end to police violence that disproportionately harms Black Americans and a rethinking of the role of police in our communities; and 

WHEREAS, In New York City, many residents and local elected officials called for a reduction of at least $1 billion in funding for NYPD in the FY21 budget; and

WHEREAS, In the FY21 budget that passed, the NYPD was allocated $5.22 billion, which constitutes a $414 million reduction in City spending; and

WHEREAS, Of this savings, $55 million was achieved by cutting one of the four annual classes of new recruits, $5 million by putting a hiring freeze on “non-safety positions,” $5.4 by filling fewer Traffic Enforcement Administration vacancies, $4.2 million by cancelling the FY21 cadet class, $12 million by canceling or reducing some outside contracts, $4.5 million by shifting some homeless outreach services to Department of Homeless Services (“DHS”), and $328.1 million by reducing overtime payments to officers; and

WHEREAS, NYPD exceeded its overtime budget by $398 million and $407 million in fiscal years 2019 and 2020, respectively, and the mayor has not outlined any specific mechanisms to produce a different outcome this year; and 

WHEREAS, While the budget reduces overtime spending by 60 percent in FY21, it includes no reductions in overtime spending in subsequent years; and 

WHEREAS, The budget counts on partial hiring freezes at most agencies, as well as on the achievement of agreements with the City’s municipal labor unions for $1 billion in labor savings, the absence of which would lead to lay-offs of 22,000 workers; and

WHEREAS, The mayor has claimed that NYPD’s budget was reduced by a total of $1 billion when all but $62 million comprises either fringe benefits, unenforceable overtime reductions, shifts to other departments that which were presented as cuts,  and future commitments that were not included in the signed budget itself; and

WHEREAS, These future commitments consist of a $307.5 million shift of school safety agents and a $42.4 million shift of school crossing guards to the Department of Education (“DOE”), a shift of the associated pension and insurance costs from NYPD to that agency, and other minor changes; and 

WHEREAS, The units of appropriation in the NYPD budget are especially broad, reports of past spending are less detailed than future spending projections, and overtime spending is grouped together in larger units of appropriation, making it difficult for the public and elected officials to adequately oversee NYPD spending; and 

WHEREAS, CB5 has begun its advisory process for the fiscal year 2022 budget and thus seeks to communicate its position on the FY21 Executive Budget, especially as it relates to CB5’s June 2020 resolution regarding the NYPD budget and the City’s overall investments in children, communities of color, and frontline services to support those who have suffered from the COVID-19 pandemic; and 

WHEREAS, This position will inform the Board’s budgetary recommendations for fiscal year 2022 and is inextricably linked to the burgeoning public conversation regarding how public safety is best achieved, where resources dedicated to public safety should be invested, and how the NYPD should change to better fulfill its mission; and 

WHEREAS, To that end, CB5 believes that its stance on future NYC budgets can be clarified by a commitment to a set of core guiding principles and by the adoption of the below recommendations:



  1. BUDGET AS A STATEMENT OF VALUES: Municipal budgets are reflections of a city’s values, and as New York City prides itself on its commitment to justice, economic opportunity, diversity, and inclusion, budgetary decisions must be made in alignment with those values; and 
  2. EFFICIENT USE OF FUNDS: New York City must seek to allocate funding to and within agencies such that maximal value is achieved with available funding, and must leverage advances in technology to improve efficiency in the delivery of City services across the board; and
  3. EQUAL OPPORTUNITY: The design, funding, and provision of public safety and city services should be oriented toward providing all New Yorkers with a safe environment, quality healthcare and education, and an equal opportunity of achieving economic security, regardless of characteristic or socioeconomic status; and
  4. PURPOSE AND MISSION: Budgetary decisions must be made in alignment with the self-described mission of a given agency, which in the case of the NYPD is “to enhance the quality of life in New York City by working in partnership with the community to enforce the law, preserve peace, protect the people, reduce fear, and maintain order,” whether or not those outcomes are achieved within the agency itself; and
  5. DIVERSITY: City agencies must reflect the diversity of New York City throughout their hierarchies, and budgetary decisions should further this goal; and 
  6. TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY: The budgets, spending, policies, procedures, actions, and impacts of city agencies must be as transparent and detailed as possible, such that they and their employees can be effectively overseen and held accountable for their performance by the public and its elected officials; and
  7. ETHICAL AND LEGAL BEHAVIOR: No agency or employee is exempt from the expectation of consistently ethical and legal behavior, including those that face dangerous and even life-threatening circumstances as a part of their job; and
  8. TRUST AND RESPECT: Public trust and respect of city agencies and their employees is of utmost importance, and these agencies must embody diversity, practice transparency, hold themselves accountable to the public, and consistently practice ethical and legal behavior to earn this trust and respect; therefore be it 

RESOLVED, CB5 believes that partial hiring freezes forced upon the agencies that most directly serve children and vulnerable communities, in contrast with the cancellation of only one out of four NYPD cadet classes throughout the year, reflects a failure to both prioritize frontline services during a pandemic and to fairly distribute budget cuts across agencies including the NYPD; be it further  

RESOLVED, CB5 requests that the mayor and City Council outline their rationale, given the above, for having maintained funding for three out of four new NYPD cadet classes, especially when almost all other agencies are subject to a partial hiring freeze; be it further 

RESOLVED, CB5 demands clear and honest communication from elected officials about budget decisions, which is critical to fulfilling its statutory mission of submitting budget requests on behalf of its district; be it further

RESOLVED, CB5 recognizes that budgets are living documents and as circumstances change so too may our recommendations with regard to the budget; be it further

RESOLVED, CB5 requests that the mayor and NYPD immediately issue a formal plan to ensure that the latter will achieve its targeted reduction in overtime spending, as this composes the vast majority of the NYPD spending reductions in the budget; be it further 

RESOLVED, CB5 requests that the mayor and City Council provide a formal plan for the thoughtful and expeditious transition of school safety agents and school crossing guards from the NYPD to the DOE, as well as regular reporting on the ongoing shift of some homeless outreach services from NYPD to DHS; be it further 

RESOLVED, CB5 requests that the Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) work with the NYPD to develop revised units of appropriation to be incorporated in the fiscal year 2022 budget that are organized in a logical manner, and developed with the purpose of maximizing transparency, oversight, and accountability; be it further

RESOLVED, CB5 requests that OMB standardize the formatting of its publications of past, current, and future spending such that each and every budget line from any of the above may be compared to an identical budget line in any other of the above and follow best in class principles; be it further

RESOLVED, CB5 requests that NYPD release detailed information on an annual basis regarding its spending on the acquisition and maintenance of military-grade equipment, and on the specific projected and historic uses thereof; be it further

RESOLVED, CB5 requests a formal plan from the mayor and City Council to enable and require NYPD to dismiss, rather than keep on modified duty (e.g., desk duty), officers who have committed illegal and/or unethical behavior or have demonstrated a consistent pattern of bias in enforcement; and be it further

RESOLVED, CB5 recognizes that the NYPD has become tasked with some responsibilities that it is not able and ideally suited to accomplish. As part of its budget advisory process, the Board commits to a reconsideration of the role that police officers should play in our city, and of alternative agencies and initiatives that might better accomplish aspects of the NYPD’s mission if they are funded accordingly. 

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