Quinn Ducks and Parries
October 6th, 2011
Yesterday, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn presided over the passage of a bill that Mayor Michael Bloomberg adamantly opposes. Will she do it again?
This issue yesterday was the city’s increasing reliance on outside contractors. The City Council — obviously with strong backing from Quinn or else it wouldn’t have happened — unanimously passed a bill requiring a kind of cost-benefit analysis of proposed contracts.
Bloomberg later, according to WNYC’s Bob Hennelly blasted the measure. “To put impediments to us getting the best deal for the taxpayers particularly during this economy is something we can not tolerate. We are just not going to have this bill,” Bloomberg said.
The next issue could be the so-called Living Wage bill, a measure that would require businesses that get a city subsidy to pay their workers, not just the minimum wage but a living wage of $10 to $11.50 an hour, depending upon benefits.
The administration opposes that one too — usually trying to obscure the fact that it would only apply to employers getting city money. Yesterday Bloomberg somehow linked it to the Soviet Union.
Quinn wants the mayor’s business supporter and backing for her mayoral quest. She’s also probably like at least some unions on her side and a stamp of approval from the many council members who are for the living wage. And so despite repeated questioning from reporters who phrased and rephrased the question yesterday, Quinn would not be pinned down.
The verbal dueling after the jump.
She said she hadn’t looked at the administration’s study on the living wage because she was watching a baseball game. She said she didn’t know what the changes offered by sponsors Oliver Koppell and Annabel Palma might be because they had not yet been introduced. She said she could not rely on press accounts of those amendments.
Asked what she thought about the spirit of the bill, she ducked again, saying, “I don’t know that the spirit of the bill or the content of the bill hasn’t changed.”
Pressed again, Quinn answered, “It’s not that I have no opinion. It’s that I have nothing to give an opinion on. … I will have an opinion but I can’t give opinion on things that don’t exist or things I haven’t read.”
If this sounds familiar it should. For months Quinn dodged giving answers on a pieces of legislation — also backed by labor and by council progressives– that would have require city employers to give paid sick days to their workers. (In fact the maneuvering on the issue is so familiar that one reporter, Azi Paybarah of Capital, confused them when questioning Quinn yesterday.)
What happened then? Quinn came out against the measure, and it seems to be all but dead.
As to the living wage bill> Quinn says it’s in “suspended animation.”By Gail Robinson on October 6, 2011, 3:55 pm
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