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City council speaker calls for jails chief to step down

NEW YORK (AP) — The New York City Council speaker is calling for the resignation of the head of the city’s jail system, citing a lack of confidence in his leadership.

Democratic Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito on Wednesday broke with the city’s mayor in calling for Department of Corrections Commissioner Joseph Ponte to step down. Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio has defended Ponte amid reports of his department’s misuse of city resources.

The city’s Department of Investigation found that Ponte took his city-owned vehicle to Maine in violation of guidelines and other Department of Correction officials misused their agency vehicles with trips to Cape Cod, the Hamptons and other destinations.

Mark-Viverito says lower-level city employees have been suspended or even fired for misuse of city vehicles, which factored into her decision to call for Ponte’s resignation.

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