Two months after the city released a bruising undercover investigation of the city's Board of Elections, the city's investigative arm and the elections agency faced off at the City Council Friday, where the two could not even agree to disagree on the report's findings. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.
The city's Department of Investigation and Board of Elections may not be getting off on the right foot.
"The illegalities, misconduct and antiquated operations detailed in the report are deeply corrosive," Mark Peters, the city's new commissioner of the Department of Investigation, said at a City Council hearing Friday.
Peters' target, the city's Board of Elections, was sitting in the second row. As they looked on, Peters combed through a damning investigation of the board, saying that the agency was mired with ineptitude. He went as far as to claim that criminal activity could have occurred.
"There are aspects of this ongoing investigation that could lead us to make criminal referrals," Peters said.
Outside of the hearing, the new commissioner would not provide other details.
"At this point, I can't talk about the specifics," eh said.
"Speculation about criminal charges often go nowhere," said Michael Ryan, executive director of the city's Board of Elections.
The report, released in December, said that the board is overrun by nepotism and had dead voters on its rolls, and is rife with dysfunction.
"Close to 10 percent of the staff at the Board of Elections is related to one another, which suggests significant problems in terms of nepotism and hiring," Peters said.
"That does not necessarily bespeak of, quote unquote, 'nepotism,'" Ryan said. "I have a side of my family that there's multiple firemen."
The report was penned by the previous administration. Mayor Michael Bloomberg loudly criticized the agency. So far, it's unclear if the new mayor will be pushing for similar changes.
"We're going to have a bigger proposal on that as we have time to focus on it," said Mayor Bill de Blasio.
It seems that the Board of Elections may not embrace those changes.
"My staff have had conversations with board staff, who have been outright hostile," Peters said.
"I roundly and soundly reject the notion that anyone in executive management has been anything less than 100 percent cooperative," Ryan said.
While both were in the same room on Friday, it's unclear when that will happen again. The Department of Investigation and the Board of Elections both say that they're willing to sit down and discuss the findings, but no date has been set.