On May 28, 2008, City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, Deputy Mayor Carol Robles-Roman, Jeffrey A. Kay, Director of the Mayor's Office of Operations and Council Members James Gennaro, Simcha Felder, David Yassky, Leroy Comrie and Thomas White announced legislation to improve procedures and professionalism at the Environmental Control Board (ECB), making it more accessible and more efficient. On August 12th, 2008, Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed the legislation into law.
"This legislation consolidates ECB with OATH, so that ECB benefits from OATH's tribunal management expertise. OATH's oversight will introduce best practices in data reporting, customer service and public information, legal recruitment and training, and technology," said Deputy Mayor for Legal Affairs and Counsel to the Mayor Carol Robles-Roman. "Since 2006, we've worked with the Council and an interagency team made up of the Administrative Justice Coordinator, Operations, the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings and the Criminal Justice Coordinator to restructure and modernize ECB and improve efficiency and convenience."
"Small businesses are the backbone of New York City, and we need to do what we can on the local level to keep them at work, creating jobs and fueling our economy," said Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn. "By bringing the Environmental Control Board's operations in the 21st Century and making the proceedings fairer and more efficient, we're helping ECB live up to its mission – improving quality of life conditions for everyday New Yorkers."
The legislation relocating ECB from the Department of Environmental Protection to OATH reforms ECB's adjournment and appeals processes, and updates ECB's use of technology to include electronic scheduling and online hearings for some violations. In addition, the legislation guarantees language assistance services to parties appearing at ECB who have limited English proficiency. The legislation is the next step in the Administration's efforts to maximize ECB's resources and to make it more accessible to all the citizens of New York City. These reforms will make ECB a model tribunal in New York City and beyond.