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Queens Chronicle

FDNY race monitor costing city millions

City: Fed appointee un‘account’able

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Posted: Thursday, December 19, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 11:34 am, Thu Dec 26, 2013.

The monitor put in place in 2011 by a federal judge to oversee new racial hiring practices for the FDNY’s racial hiring practices already has billed taxpayers for more than $3 million.

And the city last week has filed appeals in a case that could lead to a similar open-ended expense to the taxpayers at the NYPD.

The New York Post reported that Mark Cohen, a former federal prosecutor appointed by Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis, is not required to give a detailed list of billable hours.

“The city has repeatedly expressed concerns to the Court about the size of the Court Monitor’s bills, and the fact that they do not show the hourly billing records customary in the legal profession,” city Corporation Counsel Michael Cardozo said in an email to the Chronicle. “The invoices have been increasing, rather than becoming more reasonable as he becomes more familiar with the issues. Unfortunately, the city has no viable mechanism to challenge these bills, the payment of which must be borne by the taxpayers.”

Back in May an appellate court, citing bias, removed Garaufis from presiding over any trial that might arise from the case.

In October, an appellate court removed Judge Shira Scheindlin entirely from Floyd, et al, v. the City of New York, the lawsuit filed against the NYPD over its stop-and-frisk policies.

On Monday, Cardozo’s office filed a 102-page brief which challenges Scheindlin’s ruling of liability; the validity of her remedial orders, including a monitor; and the class action certification of the case.

The city also argues that Scheindlin’s appearance of partiality in and out of court mandates a new trial.

“At a minimum ... the District Court’s orders must be vacated because the public can no longer have confidence — given the appearance of impropriety created by the District Judge’s actions — that the District Court’s orders were crafted by a neutral arbiter,” he said.

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