Recent Posts
NYC Blogs
Click here for a list of NYC blogs
Newsfeeds
Search This Blog

Bloomberg Mulls Over ATM Bill
December 20th, 2010

Mayor Michael Bloomberg is mulling over whether to sign a bill that would drastically increase fines for property owners with illegal sidewalk ATMs after small business owners expressed concern over the bill’s impact this afternoon.

According to a spokesperson, the mayor will take the next couple of days to consider the bill and announce his decision after Christmas.

“I don’t want to be the Grinch that stole Christmas,” the mayor said today. “On the other hand the city has requirements, where one of the issues here is the ability to pass on the sidewalk.”

Up until this morning, the mayor was expected to sign the measure, which the council approved earlier this month. At today’s bill signing, small business owners reportedly said the legislation would limit access to cash for neighborhoods without banks and hurt small businesses.

Under the current version of the bill, fines could increase from $250 to $5,000. These ATMs are already illegal, but there is barely any enforcement or regulation of them, council officials said.

If the mayor vetoes the measure, Council Speaker Christine Quinn said the council would move to override it.

“This will give the power for them to be taken off the street,” said Quinn. “It actually gives the city the power and the tools to make this illegal behavior end. That’s a good thing.”

Here is the mayor’s statement this morning courtesy of the City Hall press office:
Read the rest of this entry »

By on December 20, 2010, 2:49 pm
In category: Community Development,Crime & Safety,Economy,Electoral Politics,Eye Opener,Gotham City,Governing,Housing,Land Use,Law,Measuring UP,nextNY,Parks,Public Finance | 3 Comments »

| More

RSS Feed RSS Feed


De Blasio on Black Sending Her Kids to Public School
December 8th, 2010

More than a decade ago, incoming Schools Chancellor Cathie Black sent her kids to a boarding school in Connecticut.

When asked yesterday whether she would make the same decision now, Black wasn’t sure.

“I don’t know what we would be doing. I would love to look at all of the schools,” Black told the Daily News. “It’s about choice for parents.”

Her comments spurred this reaction from Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, who has two children in public schools:

“As a public school parent, I am disappointed that incoming schools chancellor Cathie Black doesn’t know whether she would send her own children to our current public schools. There are certainly significant challenges facing our education system that I want to work with the incoming chancellor to address, most notably providing extra help to the over 100,000 students who are now failing math and english. But if Ms. Black hopes to gain the confidence and trust of public school parents she must at least believe that New York City’s schools are good enough for her children as well as ours.”

By on December 8, 2010, 12:22 pm
In category: Albany,City Hall,Education,Electoral Politics,Gotham City,Governing,nextNY | 3 Comments »

| More

RSS Feed RSS Feed


Election Reforms and Reforming Elections
December 6th, 2010

As Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced a set of election law proposals he will push in Albany next year, Council Speaker Christine Quinn grilled the city Board of Elections on its performance in November’s election.

While the Board of Elections improved over its handling of primary day — when scores of polling places opened hours late, complaints of a lack of privacy flourished and the overall management was called a “royal screw-up” — Quinn said it still had a way to go.

“There was no royal screw up of significance on Nov. 2,” Quinn said. The speaker has called for the board to give itself grades per polling site, post a sample ballot online and conduct a nationwide search for a new executive director. George Gonzalez, the former executive director, was fired a week before Election Day this year in connection with the board’s performance on primary day.

The board has promised to post sample ballots online before an election, but it has warned officials it would come with a price tag.

When asked today about its executive director search, a board official said it has received one resume and one inquiry about the position. It gave no commitment to conduct a national search.

“There is no formal process,” said Steven Richman, the board’s general counsel. “But the board is open to receiving resumes.”

The speaker took issue with the more than 195,000 difference in votes counted on election night and when the certified results came out last week. Asked if this jump — which the board says is a 14.2 percent difference and press says is 17 percent — was unusual, the board said it did not keep unofficial election tallies from previous elections.
Read the rest of this entry »

By on December 6, 2010, 6:05 pm
In category: Albany,City Hall,Electoral Politics,Gotham City,Governing,Law,nextNY,Public Finance,Work and Labor | 2 Comments »

| More

RSS Feed RSS Feed


Council Kicks Off Budget Battle
December 6th, 2010

City Budget Director Mark Page brought his usual good tidings to the City Council this morning (insert sarcasm here), as he urged the body to propose alternative cuts if it wants to save any specific program from his budget ax.

The warning occurred at the first of several hearings the City Council has scheduled on the mayor’s $1.6 billion proposed mid-year budget cuts. Released last month, the unusual mid-year proposal is an attempt by the Bloomberg adminsitration to minimize an even larger looming budget deficit for the next fiscal year. If these cuts are enacted, the city will still face at least a $2.4 billion hole come July.

“The $2.4 billion gap is obviously considerable in itself,” said Page. “Unfortunately, the reality we are facing is likely to be considerably worse.”

Page was referring to a potential cut from the state, which faces an approximately $10 billion to $12 billion deficit. He estimates the city could see an additional cut of between $2 billion and $3 billion in state aid.

The council has already proposed more than $130 million in alternative cuts and identified several areas it would like to see held harmless, including case managers at the Department for the Aging and layoffs at the Administration for Children’s Services. Nonetheless, Council Speaker Christine Quinn said this morning the council recognizes the city has to cut back.

“Most of those we support,” said Quinn of the administration’s plan. “I don’t want that to be lost in the conversation today.”

“That said, there are many troubling cuts,” the speaker added and then rattled off her list, including the nightly closures of certain fire companies.

Council members took aim at the adminsitration over a slew of other slashes — from cuts to outreach for homeless youth (which we cover today) to funding reductions at libraries. Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer, the chair of the Cultural Affairs Committee, said some libraries could reduce service to two or three days a week under the current cut.

And, of course, the conversation turned to politics.

Councilmember Jimmy Oddo, the council’s minority leader, questioned the administration’s reasoning for extending term limits — an argument based on its ability to use creative solutions for fiscal problems.
Read the rest of this entry »

By on December 6, 2010, 5:19 pm
In category: City Hall,Economy,Electoral Politics,Gotham City,Governing,Housing,Law,Measuring UP,nextNY,Public Finance,Social Services,Work and Labor | Comments Off

| More

RSS Feed RSS Feed


Council Set to Expand Housing Law
November 30th, 2010

For some New Yorkers, their apartments are far from welcoming.

Their one or two-bedroom abodes actually make them sick.

Three years ago, the City Council approved legislation to target buildings with the worst housing code violations — those perennially without heat or hot water or collapsed floors and roofs. Together, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development and the City Council targeted 200 buildings a year and forced landlords to make the repairs.

Now, Council Speaker Christine Quinn announced this morning, the council is set to consider legislation to expand the program to target larger buildings with hazardous conditions related specifically to asthma, such as vermin or mold.

“We are recognizing peoples’ homes can actually make them sick,” said Quinn, surrounded by a crowd of officials and advocates on the steps of City Hall.

Hazardous building conditions have long been connected to the city’s concentrated asthma pockets, which affect neighborhoods like Sunset Park, Corona or Bushwick. By using targeted enforcement of these violations, Quinn said the city could curtail asthma rates in these areas.

The legislation, she said, promises to more than double the amount of units in the program. The council will have its first hearing on the proposal on Dec. 14.

By on November 30, 2010, 12:04 pm
In category: City Hall,Community Development,Electoral Politics,Environment,Eye Opener,Gotham City,Governing,Health,Housing,Immigrants,Land Use,Law,nextNY | Comments Off

| More

RSS Feed RSS Feed


CCRB Slims Down Prosecution Unit (UPDATE)
November 23rd, 2010

Thanks to a $300,000 budget cut, the Civilian Complaint Review Board will drastically downsize its newly minted prosecution unit — part of a pilot program that allows the board to prosecute cases of police misconduct for the first time.

When first announced in February, the unit was set to have two attorneys, an investigator and a clerical worker. Now that the city faces a $3.3 billion budget deficit next year, the “unit” has been cut down to one attorney, said a board spokesperson. The decrease is part of $1.6 billion in cuts the mayor announced last week.

Despite the obvious setback, the board has pledged to move forward with the experiment.

“One attorney is going to be handling this start up phase,” said Linda Sachs, the board’s spokesperson. “She is a former federal prosecutor, and she is really good.”

While the board currently investigates complaints of police misconduct, it has never had the power to prosecute the claims it substantiates — only the Police Department has. For years, advocates and officials have pushed to bolster the board’s power as, some say, the police fail to prosecute its officers.

Even so, when the city announced the pilot earlier this year some were skeptical, claiming budget cuts could setback the program.

As part of the pilot, the board’s prosecution “unit” will not select cases to prosecute. Selection will be done randomly — one in every five cases set to go to trial will go to the CCRB. It will amount to approximately five cases a year, Sachs said.

UPDATE: The CCRB called in to reiterate its support for the program this morning, contending it will eventually come up with the money to fund it.
Read the rest of this entry »

By on November 23, 2010, 3:44 pm
In category: City Hall,Civil Rights,Crime & Safety,Electoral Politics,Eye Opener,Gotham City,Governing,Law,Measuring UP,nextNY,Public Finance,Work and Labor | Comments Off

| More

RSS Feed RSS Feed


CCRB Considers Cutting Pilot Prosecution Program
November 22nd, 2010

Just nine months after the Civilian Complaint Review Board announced a pilot program to independently prosecute some cases of police misconduct, they are considering cutting it.

Faced with a budget deficit and a mandate from the Bloomberg adminsitration to cut costs, Ernest Hart, the chair of the board, told Gotham Gazette that nothing was off the chopping block, including the highly anticipated program.

“The final decision as to how we would implement the budget cut has not been made,” said Hart. “When we look at the budget, we look at all the programs. I wouldn’t say that it was not under consideration with everything else. Everything is under consideration.”

The pilot program, which was revealed in February, would give the civilian board the power to prosecute a handful of cases independently for the first time. Currently, the board investigates and substantiates complaints of police misconduct across the city, but the prosecution is left up to the Police Department. For years, critics have been calling for independent prosecution by the board, claiming the police department has increasingly failed to prosecute cases referred to it.

Last week, Mayor Michael Bloomberg revealed nearly $1.6 billion in cuts to help close a $3.3 billion budget gap in the next fiscal year. Under the proposal, the city’s work force could shrink by more than 10,000 employees, including 6,166 teachers. The adminsitration proposed about 6,200 layoffs.

The board faces a $300,000 cut in this fiscal year and a $157,000 cut in the next. According to a City Council report from June, the new prosecution unit would cost $366,000.

Should the board decide to slash the program, it would not be the first time a similar proposal fell through. The Giuliani administration promised to give the board independent power to prosecute cases in 2001, but the proposal was later abandoned.

The board is working with the Office of Management and Budget to determine the final cuts, which should be made shortly, Hart said.

The NYPD remains “fully supportive” of the prosecution program, Police Department spokesman Paul Browne said in an e-mailed statement.

By on November 22, 2010, 7:42 pm
In category: City Hall,Civil Rights,Crime & Safety,Electoral Politics,Eye Opener,Gotham City,Law,Measuring UP,nextNY,Public Finance,Work and Labor | 3 Comments »

| More

RSS Feed RSS Feed


Cuts Coming Today
November 18th, 2010

Brace yourselves.

The adminsitration is set to reveal those cuts Mayor Michael Bloomberg ordered at the end of September — which equates to the ninth round of budget cuts within the last three fiscal years. (But who’s counting?)

We hear they won’t be pretty. The nightly closure of fire companies are on the chopping block in addition to thousands of jobs across city agencies. In total, the mayor is looking to lose $1.5 billion from the budget over the next two fiscal years. In September, the city ordered uniformed forces and education to expect 2.7 percent cuts, while all other agencies were urged to prepare for 5.4 percent cuts.

Even before we know the details, there is a backlash.

Earlier this week, Lillian Roberts, the executive director of DC37, the city’s largest municipal employees union, sent the mayor a letter, urging him to consider revenue generating proposals instead of just cuts.

The letter is below.

Stay tuned.

PDFsss

By on November 18, 2010, 11:46 am
In category: City Hall,Crime & Safety,Economy,Education,Electoral Politics,Eye Opener,Gotham City,Governing,Measuring UP,nextNY,Parks,Public Finance,Social Services | Comments Off

| More

RSS Feed RSS Feed


Quinn on Cathie Black and Council Resolution
November 17th, 2010

New Yorkers shouldn’t be surprised of the mayor’s decision to select Cathie Black as schools chancellor — at least that is what Council Speaker Christine Quinn says.

“This is an example of how mayoral control works,” said Quinn this afternoon before the council’s stated meeting. It’s the mayor’s choice, she argued.

Her comments come after the speaker released a statement last week following Black’s selection, saying she “looked forward” to working with her.

They also come as opposition against Black’s appointment continues to mount. That opposition includes several members of the City Council, who are set to introduce a resolution (seen below) today that asks the state to deny Black the necessary waiver for her to serve as chancellor. The resolution states: “The people of New York City want a chancellor with experience, character and qualifications that are well suited for the education of children and not merely the management of a corporation.”

Quinn declined to take a position on the resolution this afternoon.

Reso Calling for Nys Ed Commssioner to Deny Waiver for Cathie Black[1]

By on November 17, 2010, 3:30 pm
In category: Albany,City Hall,Education,Electoral Politics,Gotham City,Governing,Law,nextNY,Work and Labor | 2 Comments »

| More

RSS Feed RSS Feed


Critics Say Study is a Sham (Update)
October 27th, 2010

living

Advocates and council members gathered on the steps of City Hall today to slam a city commissioned study on living wages, calling it “smoke and mirrors.”

The $1 million study, which is being conducted by Boston-based Charles River Associates, will examine the sustainability of a living wage policy in the five boroughs. A bill to require living wages at city-subsidized developments is currently languishing at the council.

At issue is one economist on the study team — David Neumark of the University of California. Supporters of living wages say Neumark is inherently biased, having authored several studies critical of living and minimum wage policies.

“Hiring David Neumark to advise the city on wage policies is like hiring a global warming skeptic to evaluate the city’s greenhouse gas strategy,” said Paul K. Sonn of the National Employment Law Project.

The city Economic Development Corp., which commissioned the study after advocates started to call for living wages last year, argues Neumark is in the top 5 percent of economists. City officials point to studies where Neumark found living wages reduced poverty — albeit those studies show his “support” for the policy overall is tepid at best.

The city also says a diverse stakeholder group will review the study’s findings, which should be completed this spring.

All of those arguments aren’t silencing critics.
Read the rest of this entry »

By on October 27, 2010, 2:49 pm
In category: City Hall,Community Development,Economy,Electoral Politics,Eye Opener,Gotham City,Governing,Health,Land Use,Law,Measuring UP,nextNY,Public Finance,Work and Labor | 1 Comment »

| More

RSS Feed RSS Feed


Ferreras Responds to Suit (UPDATE)
October 26th, 2010

We just received this from Councilmember Julissa Ferreras in response to the lawsuit brought by her former aide.

“I have not been served with a copy of Mr. Castro’s complaint, so it is difficult for me to respond to allegations I have not seen. I can say, however, that I did not discriminate or retaliate against him for any reason and I am confident that his claims will ultimately be rejected by the court.”

First reported in the Daily News today, the suit alleges Ferreras and her chief of staff, Yoselin Genao, taunted Steven Castro, a 24-year-old with cerebral palsy who worked for the councilwoman for approximately seven months. Castro also alleges he never received a steady paycheck.

This is the second time in a week Ferreras has made headlines. Ferreras, the former chief of staff to the recently indicted Hiram Monserrate, ran the nonprofit LIBRE, which was the subject of the aforementioned indictment.

Said complaint should arrive shortly, which we will post straight away.

Update: Here it is.

Castro Complaint

By on October 26, 2010, 4:36 pm
In category: City Hall,Crime & Safety,Economy,Electoral Politics,Eye Opener,Gotham City,Law,Measuring UP,nextNY,Public Finance,Work and Labor | Comments Off

| More

RSS Feed RSS Feed


Living Wage Waters are Choppy
October 26th, 2010

In the wake of Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s decision not to support paid sick leave, some City Council members and advocates are attempting to make waves on another issue: the living wage.

Currently two bills to require some sort of wage mandate at city-subsidized developments are treading water at City Hall. One would require a prevailing wage for building service employees, while the other would require a living wage for every worker on a city-assisted development, including the development’s tenants.

Quinn has not taken a position on either. When asked during her sick leave announcement earlier this month, she sidestepped the issue.

The issue came to a head last year when the council defeated a proposal to morph the Kingsbridge Armory in the Bronx into a shopping mall. The developer on the project would not agree to a living wage mandate — defined as $10 an hour with benefits — which is largely credited with killing the project. Photo credit: (cc) 2009  Atomische • Tom Giebel

In the latest feud, council members and advocates will gather on the steps of City Hall tomorrow to denounce a $1 million city-funded study on the effectiveness and success of living wage policies. The study was commissioned by the Economic Development Corp. and is being conducted by Charles River Associates — a consulting firm based in Boston. It is supposed to be completed by next spring.

The presser tomorrow, according to an advisory we just got, will “exposes Charles River Associates (CRA), EDC’s choice to conduct the study, as a business-backed lobbying group using economists who oppose living wage and even minimum wage policies for EDC’s study.”

The chief economist on the study is Daniel Hamermesh, a reputable professor at the University of Texas at Austin. David Neumark, a professor of economics at the University of California and a fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California, is also on the study team. He has authored several studies questioning the sustainability of living wage policies.

The Bloomberg adminsitration said it would not consider a widespread living wage policy until the study was completed — a move some critics say is meant to stall the legislation at the City Council. Earlier this year, one administration official said the wage proposals could squash economic development and be potentially against the City Charter.

By on October 26, 2010, 12:39 pm
In category: Albany,City Hall,Community Development,Economy,Electoral Politics,Eye Opener,Gotham City,Governing,Immigrants,Land Use,Law,nextNY,Public Finance,Work and Labor | 2 Comments »

| More

RSS Feed RSS Feed


Sick Leave Dead?
October 14th, 2010

Council Speaker Christine Quinn will announce this afternoon that she won’t support the paid sick leave bill languishing in the City Council.

The bill, sponsored by 35 council members, would force businesses with fewer than 20 employees to provide five days of paid sick leave, while businesses with more than 20 employees would have to give nine days per employee. Other paid time off can be counted towards the sick time.

The bill was vehemently opposed by the city’s businesses community, including the powerful Partnership for New York City and all five chambers of commerce.

Most of the time, the speaker’s support, or lack thereof, will determine of the fate of all legislation. However, the majority of council members who do support the bill have one option.

To bring the bill to the floor, 10 council members must support a “motion to discharge,” which would give the full council an opportunity to vote on it. But they also must keep their solid 35-member strong support, otherwise the bill would not survive a mayoral veto.

The motion has only been used once, during the term limit debate. Other times there was talk of tapping the power, it was quickly quashed.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently called the bill “disastrous.”

There are all sorts of political calculations and angles to this news today, so stayed tuned for further analysis at Gotham Gazette.

By on October 14, 2010, 12:36 pm
In category: Albany,City Hall,Economy,Electoral Politics,Eye Opener,Gotham City,Governing,Health,Law,Measuring UP,nextNY,Public Finance,Social Services | Comments Off

| More

RSS Feed RSS Feed


Sick Leave Movement
October 7th, 2010

We got word Council Speaker Christine Quinn is sitting down with supporters and opponents of the sick leave bill today in hopes of potentially finding a compromise.

Supporters of the proposal, which would require businesses to provide sick days, take the sit-down as a good sign, saying the speaker has expressed willingness to create an open dialogue and negotiate.

One critic of the bill seemed less optimistic — saying only to check back in tomorrow.

Just last week, the opposing sides released dueling studies on the bill’s impact. The study from the Partnership for New York City put the proposal’s price tag at $789 million annually, while a study from the Drum Major Institute said it would have no deleterious effect on city business.

After the sit-downs were scheduled, a rally scheduled for this morning by supporters of the bill was abruptly canceled.

By on October 7, 2010, 2:14 pm
In category: City Hall,Civil Rights,Economy,Electoral Politics,Eye Opener,Gotham City,Governing,Health,nextNY,Public Finance,Social Services,Work and Labor | Comments Off

| More

RSS Feed RSS Feed


Stringer Responds to Quinn... Again
October 5th, 2010

Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, both anticipated candidates for mayor in 2013, are once again clashing over a bill to count vacant buildings and lots stalled at the council.

After Quinn’s spokesperson responded to Stringer’s criticism in the Wonkster late last week, Stringer, once again, sent over a response.

This is the response to Quinn’s response to Stringer’s criticism. Follow me?

From Stringer:

Let’s set the record straight: My 2007 report on vacant, under-utilized land in Manhattan produced major policy changes. As a result of these efforts, and with my strong support, Assemblyman Herman D. Farrell and Senator Jose M. Serrano introduced legislation in 2008—which Gov. David Paterson signed into law—removing special tax treatments for vacant residential sites above 110th street. The measure also provided financial incentives for owners who build affordable housing on these sites. In approving this bill, the state legislature took decisive action. But the city council has dropped the ball. With my endorsement, then Council member David Yassky introduced a measure calling for an annual citywide survey of such properties, to see if they could be used as new housing resources for homeless people, as well as hospitals, schools community gardens and the like. Armed with the results, we could fill so many unmet needs in our city. But unfortunately the legislation has languished in the city council without a full hearing or discussion. Then as now, I call upon the council to conduct an annual survey of vacant properties that could be transformed into vibrant new uses and benefit all New Yorkers.

By on October 5, 2010, 8:11 am
In category: City Hall,Economy,Electoral Politics,Eye Opener,Gotham City,Governing,Housing,Law,Measuring UP,nextNY,Public Finance,Social Services | Comments Off

| More

RSS Feed RSS Feed


Quinn, Stringer Showdown?
October 1st, 2010

Yes, both are potential mayoral candidates in 2013.

It might be a little early for a full-blown rivalry, but Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer definitely disagree on a proposal to survey the city’s vacant properties stalled at the City Council. The bill, which has 28 sponsors, would create an annual accounting of all of the city’s vacant buildings and lots.

The group pushing the proposal, Picture the Homeless, hope it would spur the development of those properties as temporary housing for the homeless. Quinn said this week the survey would be “enormously expensive” and the money for it would be better used serving the homeless.

In response to our reporting on the issue, Stringer sent over the following statement.

I am disappointed that the City Council quashed legislation that would survey vacant buildings throughout the city, in order to identify new sources of temporary housing for the homeless.

In 2007 I released the results of Manhattan’s first ever survey of vacant properties, finding that there is a significant number of vacancies in the borough representing potential for thousands of new affordable housing units. Along with the results, I proposed an annual survey of vacant buildings which had been actively backed by Anti-Homeless organizations. Although there is a cost to this idea, its potential long-term value to the city is so obvious.

If a citywide vacant lot count would indeed cost “millions of dollars,” then I believe we should look to more creative options, rather than throw up our hands and pull the plug on this important initiative.

One possible approach to a vacant lot count that keeps costs low would be to utilize volunteers from the Mayor’s NYC Service program. The City already dispatches volunteers for its annual street homeless count, so this approach would not be without precedent. And, to be honest, counting vacant lots isn’t rocket science. It would require a minimal amount of training. Most able bodied New Yorkers interested in enhancing the long-term vitality of their communities could make a positive contribution by participating in a city-wide vacant lot count.

I call on the City Council to reconsider this decision and let this badly-needed housing program go forward. We cannot afford to be pennywise and pound foolish at a time when the recession has made day to day survival for the homeless tougher than ever.

In response to Stringer’s statement, Maria Alvarado, Quinn’s spokesperson, said the bill at the council would require the survey of vacant buildings, which is “more complicated” than just counting empty lots. The council applauds the borough president for his study, Alvarado said, but simultaneously asks what “clear policy changes” came out of it?

By on October 1, 2010, 1:35 pm
In category: City Hall,Economy,Electoral Politics,Environment,Eye Opener,Gotham City,Governing,Health,Housing,Land Use,Law,Measuring UP,nextNY,Parks,Public Finance,Social Services | 3 Comments »

| More

RSS Feed RSS Feed


Quinn Reacts to Sick Leave Study
September 29th, 2010

For months, Council Speaker Christine Quinn has put off opining on a proposal to require paid sick leave in the city, saying she wanted to wait for the results of a study on the issue by business leader, the Partnership for New York City.

That study came out yesterday, saying the proposal would cost $789 million. Also yesterday, the Drum Major Institute released its own study on the issue, saying the proposal wouldn’t harm job or business growth.

Quinn — granted she has had only one day to mull it over — isn’t ready to say which one she sides with.

“I am considering all of the pros, all the cons,” said Quinn. “There are few bills that are perfect.”

She said the council was “reviewing” the studies and would make a decision on the bill, which has a super majority of support in the council, “very soon.”

By on September 29, 2010, 2:58 pm
In category: Albany,City Hall,Civil Rights,Electoral Politics,Environment,Eye Opener,Gotham City,Governing,Health,Law,Measuring UP,nextNY,Public Finance,Work and Labor | Comments Off

| More

RSS Feed RSS Feed


CBA Report From Liu is Here!
September 29th, 2010

The much anticipated report (well, for some of us) from Comptroller John Liu’s public benefits task force was released this morning, urging the city to adopt a new public process for community benefit agreements.

Having grown in popularity (included in Columbia redevelopment and in 125th street), the comptroller is calling for greater transparency, the inclusion of a consultant to coordinate the agreement and giving the comptroller’s office oversight over the agreements implementation.

The report is silent on the city’s Industrial Development Agency and its deals (which we covered extensively), despite Liu giving an early indication it might be included in the recommendations.

Enjoy!

PBA Task Force – Final Report[1]

By on September 29, 2010, 7:59 am
In category: City Hall,Community Development,Electoral Politics,Environment,Gotham City,Governing,Health,Law,Measuring UP,nextNY,Work and Labor | 3 Comments »

| More

RSS Feed RSS Feed


Labor Slams Bloomberg Cuts
September 21st, 2010

Talk about timing.

After a breakfast this morning where two deputy mayors talked of taking on the city’s unions and the adminsitration announced a new hiring freeze and budget cuts, Lillian Roberts, the executive director of the city’s largest municipal workers union, DC37, is slamming the adminsitration.

Here is her response:

City workers deliver essential services that New Yorkers need to maintain a decent quality of life. We’re already working with bare-bones staffing in most agencies. Now, what does the Mayor do? He puts a freeze on citywide hiring of the very men and women who deliver these essential services.

What he needs to do is put a freeze on outside contracts that prop up private consultants by squandering taxpayers dollars on operations with cost overruns in the millions of dollars, like CityTime, or seek to sell off city services and throw experienced, dedicated city workers out on the street, like the HHC restructuring plan.

The Bloomberg adminsitration sent a letter to all agency heads today asking for $800 million in cuts for the current fiscal year (Uniformed forces and education could see cuts of 2.7 percent, while all other agencies could see 5.4 percent cuts). For the next fiscal year, which starts in July, the adminsitration is hoping to see $1.2 billion in savings, with 4 percent cuts for uniformed agencies and 8 percent for all others.

According to the mayor’s office, the city faces a $3.3 billion budget gap for fiscal year 2012. All agency cuts must be submitted by Oct. 8.

By on September 21, 2010, 2:04 pm
In category: Albany,City Hall,Economy,Electoral Politics,Eye Opener,Gotham City,Governing,Law,nextNY,Public Finance | 3 Comments »

| More

RSS Feed RSS Feed


The Third Term Legacy?
September 21st, 2010

Labor watch out.

If deputy mayors Howard Wolfson and Stephen Goldsmith had their way, you might be in store for cuts to your pension benefits. At a breakfast hosted by the Citizens Budget Commission this morning, Goldsmith and Wolfson (who both joined the Bloomberg adminsitration this year) said curtailing pension costs will be a major goal of a Bloomberg third term.

“New York City runs the risk of becoming General Motors,” said Wolfson of the escalating cost. “We’ll be assuming a debt to retirees that is unsustainable.”

According to the mayor’s executive budget, pension contributions for fiscal year 2011 comprise 12 percent of the entire city budget — now at $63.1 billion. From fiscal year 2010 to 2011, pension costs are projected to increase from nearly $6.8 billion to $7.6 billion.

Unions looking to increase their standard salaries as their contracts expire this year should forget about it, Wolfson said. “There is no money for salary increases,” he warned.

The comments from both Wolfson and Goldsmith indicate the adminsitration will be taking a hard line with labor over the next four years — something some advocates have said is a long time coming. They also come as the adminsitration announces another hiring freeze.

And in a talking point that has become pro forma, Wolfson said: “The mayor is not running for anything.” That makes it all the more likely he will go after controversial policies and proposals, like pension reform, Wolfson said.
Read the rest of this entry »

By on September 21, 2010, 12:33 pm
In category: City Hall,Economy,Electoral Politics,Eye Opener,Gotham City,Governing,Law,Measuring UP,nextNY,Work and Labor | 2 Comments »

| More

RSS Feed RSS Feed


Gotham Gazette the Place for Politics and Policy

Gotham Gazette is published by Citizens Union Foundation and is made possible by support from the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Altman Foundation,the Fund for the City of New York and donors to Citizens Union Foundation. Please consider supporting Citizens Union Foundation's public education programs. Critical early support to Gotham Gazette was provided by the Charles H. Revson Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

RSS Feed