Streams

Meet the New DCA Commissioner

Friday, May 23, 2014

As she's been on the job just about a month, Julie Menin, commissioner of the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs, discusses the initiatives of the Department of Consumer Affairs, including advice for small business owners and employees regarding the new paid sick leave law, a new process to help small businesses avoid fines and a program to help low-income New Yorkers get access to banks and other financial services.

Guests:

Julie Menin

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Comments [14]

Former DCA attorney from Brooklyn

I was no fan of Bloomberg's (was THRILLED to see him go and voted for de Blasio), but think she missed a chance to give him a statesmanlike shout-out here. His administration was actually somewhat aggressive in going after some of the businesses she mentioned, like immigration assistance service providers, employment agencies, and debt collection agencies. These are not new initiatives. Also, she mentions being "very aggressive" in going after scamming businesses. In the world of civil law enforcement, this essentially means fines. I do think she's trying to have things both ways a bit here. Finally, Bloomberg's administration was responsible for starting the Office of Financial Empowerment and doing a lot of good there. I think she could have given him a bit of credit for that.

May. 24 2014 01:30 PM
J from Brooklyn

Not sure she understands DCA's jurisdiction. She said she dealt with the agency as a restaurant owner, but DCA does not inspect restaurants. I think she's confusing them with Health.

May. 24 2014 12:59 PM
Solution: Pricing Menu 4 Flowers

@Plant Seller -- you are just repeating your argument that your products " literally get sold too fast to put stickers on them. This is a logistic consideration."

As I pointed out, a product menu would address your problem of complying with the law. For example, all $100 plants go in one clearly labeled area of your floor, with the $150 plants in a separate area and so on. The MENU would give your shoppers a clear idea of what costs what. That would comply with the spirit of the law.

And yes, I like Trader Joe's point since it's cheap and the plants are healthy and probably from many of the same exact farms 5,000 miles away as yours are. However, as you well know, I am praising Trader Joe's because they comply with the law and price their products.

Yours is the argument of a business that has been protected for too long by opacity and now must face clear laws and strong competition.

I suggest you either comply with the spirit of the law or try to change the existing law, as is your right. Just because we all love flowers -- especially during holidays! -- doesn't mean that the flower business should have the option to rip off the public.

May. 23 2014 06:10 PM
Plant Seller from NYC

Menu for Flowers: We sell live plants, and they do, literally, get sold too fast to put stickers on them. This is a logistic consideration. When all our staff members are running around helping customers, they do not have time to put price stickers on merchandise that may well be gone by the time the sticker is printed.

However, the price that you pay for plants depends on many variables, not least of which is that any vendor can sell any merchandise to you at any price. It is up to each consumer to find the best price. If you prefer the Trader Joe's price point, that's up to you, but our prices are extremely reasonable while still commanding sufficient profit to pay the bills, staff salaries, electric bills, phone bills, internet service, constant parking tickets from delivery service, and unfair DCA summonses given prior to warnings - which, if you were paying attention, has now been rectified by new policy.

May. 23 2014 01:20 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Commissioner Menin gave the dept's. Web address w/a backslash. It's not a backslash, it's a regular slash. I don't know why so many people think URLs have backslashes.

May. 23 2014 10:44 AM
Johnny Rivera from East Harlem, NY

Julie is on top of her game and will serve us all very well. As New Yorkers we are fortunate to have her at the helm.

May. 23 2014 10:28 AM
Caesar Romaine from Manhattan

"Underbanked"? Who's paying for these "programs"? Taxpayers don't need to fund basic banking education for adults. The banks should (and do) provide this for their potential customers.

Aren't high schools supposed to prepare 18 year olds to participate in the real world? Why isn't this included in a high school curriculum?

Eventually deBlasio is going to run out of other people's money to squander.

May. 23 2014 10:25 AM
Seth

Tell it, IK.
BIDs should be outlawed!
quasi-govt, no accountability, no voter input.
unconstitutional!

May. 23 2014 10:23 AM
Menu for Flowers

"Our (products) move too fast to comply with the law that requires pricing."

Booh hoo sweetheart. Just put up a menu for your flowers -- like McDonalds.

I am so sick of getting ripped off by the "how much money do you have to spend, I'll make you a bouquet" business model, that I now buy my bouquets at Trader Joes -- just to avoid getting suckered one more time by a low budge flower hustler.

May. 23 2014 10:22 AM
lk from brooklyn

BIDS are another problem. Not all BIDS are equal. Specifically many merchants want out of the Fulton Ave Bid in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill in Brooklyn. They feel they are receiving another tax for which they get very little in return. The BID is run with no democratic voice. They do not get more business since the inception of the BID and in fact over 50 businesses have closed in the last two years. The BID makes no effort to intervene in these closings and to help the businesses before they get into trouble or to protect them against predatory landlords.

Can you look into it?

May. 23 2014 10:17 AM

Where does she stand on bodega cats.
Or is the city pro-rat now?

May. 23 2014 10:13 AM
Robert Pascale from Brooklyn

You're "targeting" alright

May. 23 2014 10:12 AM

new laws! oh happy days...we need more robots in charge.

May. 23 2014 10:10 AM
Seth

As the former chair of CB1, please ask Julie if she attended the Party on the Graves at the 911 Memorial, and if not, did she approve of that tasteless event?

May. 23 2014 10:09 AM

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