Yonkers City Council President Chuck Lesnick was one of two Democratic City Council members who voted against Mayor Phil Amicone’s nomination of Dan Schorr to the city’s inspector general post.
Schorr’s nomination was approved by a majority of the council last night. Schorr, a Republican, ran against Democratic Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore.
He will replace outgoing Inspector General Philip Zisman. Lesnick made the following dissenting comments before the vote:
I will be voting NO on this nomination because I believe that the mayor has not given ample, credible nor any justified reason to replace the current Inspector General.
When the Mayor first proposed to replace the current IG, I along with other council members, in addition to the Journal News, made it clear that the mayor needed to clearly explain his reason for such action.
He did not do so then and I believe he has not done so now.
My vote this evening does not reflect any personal OR political sentiment whatsoever towards Dan Schorr. Mr. Schorr has an impressive educational background and work experience which seems to meet the requirements for the job.
My issue is rather with a process that I believe directly threatens the essence of the IG’s office – its independence. The Inspector General office was created to be an independent office, not one subject to the political winds.
I would also remind my colleagues that in a press release issued on August 31, 2009, Minority Leader Murtagh criticized the mayor’s “attempt to force Inspector General Zisman from office,” and the jeopardy in which “your action places critical, ongoing investigations.”
The last paragraph of Mr. Murtagh’s release stated: “I also urge you, in the interests of good, open and transparent government, to reconsider your position and state publicly that IG Zisman will, at least, remain in office to complete the important investigations currently ongoing, and, finally, I urge you to reconsider your desire to replace IG Zisman, an individual who has served this City well for over a decade, in my opinion, deserves immediate reappointment to his office.”