Council Speaker Corey Johnson on Wednesday backed a fellow councilman who got into a heated dispute with Police Commissioner Dermot Shea, saying he had “full confidence” in the Finance Committee chair.
Police Commissioner Dermot Shea on Tuesday claimed he would “fire” a police officer if they ever spoke to the public in the “disrespectful” way he claims Councilman Daniel Dromm (D- Queens) did, after the pol pressed him on the NYPD repeatedly blowing its overtime budget.
Johnson said he hadn’t seen the exchange, but trusts Dromm acted appropriately.
“I have total confidence in chair Dromm. I think he’s a professional, I think he conducts the hearings as a professional,” he said at a virtual press conference. “I know [in] that hearing, Council member Adams was involved in it as well. Any city agency needs to answer our questions. If they’re there testifying under oath, they need to be answering our questions. Chair Dromm and Chair Adams have my full confidence.”
At a City Council finance committee hearing on Tuesday, Dromm pressed Shea on the NYPD’s going over its $240 million overtime allotment.
“Why has NYPD not been able to stay within its budget?” he fumed.
“Why should we believe that you’ll stick to your overtime budget this time around? You have not given me a clear answer. Are you going to blow it again?”
Shea snapped back that the Democratic politician’s questioning was “completely disrespectful.”
“Let me just say, council member, if my officers spoke to the public this way, I would fire them,” Shea said.
“I think it’s completely disrespectful to have showmanship. Let’s have an honest conversation and a back and forth.”
Johnson, who said he did not see the exchange, was sympathetic to Dromm’s line of inquiry on the police force’s overtime spending.
“We expect them to live within what’s been budgeted. We’ve said that multiple times,” Johnson said Wednesday. “That’s our position.”