By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The next mayor, whether it is Democrat Bill de Blasio or Republican Joe Lhota, will likely make a lot of changes in city government after he takes office in January. But former mayoral candidate John Catsimatidis is calling on whoever the new mayor is to keep Raymond Kelly at the helm of the New York Police Department.
“For the sake of our city and for the safety of its people, I urge the next mayor of New York to have the courage and the common sense to keep Ray Kelly on the job as our police commissioner or, if Commissioner Kelly should decide to move on, the wisdom to ask him to play an instrumental role in the selection of our next police commissioner." Catsimatidis told a packed ballroom at the Tom Ridge Homeland Security Awards Dinner at the Grand Hyatt Hotel Monday night.
Catsimatidis, the billionaire founder of the Gristedes supermarket chain, lost the Republican Primary to Lhota in September. He received the Patriot Award at the dinner sponsored by Federal Enforcement Homeland Security Foundation. Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani won the Lifetime Achievement Award from the foundation.
In his acceptance speech, Catsimatidis praised Kelly for his work in bringing down crime. “I would like to take a moment to thank Commissioner Ray Kelly for the 12 years he has led the NYPD, 12 years of lower crime rates, safer streets and a record low number of murders, 12 years of protecting New Yorkers from another terrorist attack, 12 years of investment in New York City because of the confidence that safety brings,” he said, adding that security and safety are major concerns for him because he employs 2,000 workers.
Kelly has come under fire in recent months over the Police Department’s controversial stop-and-frisk policy and other initiatives deemed by critics as being too heavy-handed.
The Federal Enforcement Homeland Security Foundation (FEHSF) represents an alliance between industry and government, providing immediate emergency funding to federal law enforcement personnel.