New York – Ray Kelly, 71, may not be New York City’s next mayor, but he will continue on in his capacity as police commissioner if City Council Speaker Christine Quinn is elected mayor, sources have told the New York Post (http://bit.ly/W1DKQp).
A private arrangement has apparently been reached between Quinn and Kelly to allow Kelly to keep his day job, while enabling Quinn to boost her standing as a tough-on-crime mayor. It is unclear how long Kelly, who is currently serving his 12th year with the Bloomberg administration, would retain his post as police commissioner under the new administration. Kelly apparently indicated his interest months ago in keeping his job.
The move is a risky one for Quinn since the NYPD’s controversial stop-and-frisk practice is sure to be an election issue for primary voters. Both former and current City Comptrollers Bill Thompson and John Liu have said they will not keep Kelly on if they are elected mayor. Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, an outspoken critic of the stop-and-frisk policy, has not said if he will allow Kelly to continue on if he is elected.
Sources say Quinn is trying to appeal to both primary and general election voters, particularly Republicans, business leaders, and conservative Democrats in the outer-boroughs, by agreeing to keep Kelly in his present post. Kelly is well-liked by these groups for his tough crime-fighting stance, which includes an all-time record low of only 418 murders in 2012. Quinn is also facing more pressure to win over those constituencies since Joe Lhota, who resigned as the head of the MTA, signaled a possible mayoral run as a Republican.
But Quinn spokesman Jamie McShane denied that any covert deal had been reached with Kelly, saying that Quinn “has repeatedly said that the next mayor of the city of New York would be incredibly lucky to have Ray Kelly stay on as their police commissioner.” NYPD spokesman Paul Browne also denied rumors of a secret deal between the Speaker and the Commissioner. In an e-mail to the Post, Browne said, “no such discussion ‘private’ or otherwise – has taken place between Speaker Quinn and Commissioner Kelly” about retaining him as commissioner.