Thursday, June 10, 2010

District Attorneys Testify Against Proposed Budget Cuts

The Forum Newsgroup

The city’s five district attorneys recently urged the City Council to restore cuts proposed in Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s executive budget during testimony at City Hall.

Queens District Attorney Richard Brown was joined by Charles Hynes of Brooklyn, Robert Johnson of the Bronx, Daniel Donovan of Staten Island and Cyrus Vance, Jr., of Manhattan at a hearing held last week by the City Council’s Finance and Public Safety committees. They were joined by Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan.

District Attorney Brown noted that in the nearly nine years since 9/11, the budgets of the city’s prosecutors have sustained cumulative reductions from the city totaling about twenty percent, which he called “deep cuts that have greatly impacted on our ability to provide the level of prosecutorial service to which the people of this city are entitled to expect and which will keep them safe and secure.”

He said the reduction in city funding “is magnified by significantly reduced funding on the federal and state levels – both in terms of direct funding and with respect to the reduction or elimination of various grant opportunities.”

In addition, the number of NYPD detectives assigned to his office has been reduced, forcing the district attorneys to hire additional personnel.

Since 1993, arrests are up in Queens by more than eighty percent – from about 42,500 to almost 75,000 last year. The proposed funding reduction from the city “would have a profound impact on our operations and on the level of essential services that we will be able to provide to the residents of Queens County,” added Brown.

“While I recognize the serious financial difficulties that face the city in the years ahead and continue to be willing to do our fair share, it makes little sense to attempt to remedy the situation by cutting public safety dollars to the point where our ability to maintain the gains of the last decade is in jeopardy,” concluded Brown.

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