Report: N.Y.C. Rights Panel Revitalized
NEW YORK (AP) _ Mayor Michael Bloomberg increased the Commission on Human Rights’ budget in 2002 and doubled its investigators, marking a sharp turnaround from the Guiliani administration, when resources were slashed.
Last year, Bloomberg increased the number of investigators and staff lawyers to 28 from 11 in 2001. He also appointed Patricia Gatling, a former prosecutor in the Brooklyn district attorney’s office, as chairwoman of the agency, which is charged with enforcing a city ordinance that prohibits discrimination and bias in employment or housing.
One month before Bloomberg took office, the City Bar Association issued a scathing report saying the agency had faced crippling budget cuts, especially under former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, and had failed or was impotent to use its powers to fight discrimination in housing and employment.
Sunny Mindel, a Giuliani spokeswoman, told The New York Times in Friday editions that Giuliani had been committed to the commission, having made it a permanent agency and clearing much of its backlog.
But Gatling said she inherited a backlog of about 5,000 cases when she started at the commission last February.
Craig Gurian, the principal author of the Bar Association report, said Bloomberg’s efforts were beginning to transform the agency.
``Anything they’re doing is a step forward from where it was in the late 90′s,″ Gurian told the Times. ``In the previous administration there was paralysis.″
On the Net:
NYC Commission on Human Rights: http://www.nyc.gov/html/cchr/home.html