Mayors ‘Appreciate The Interest’ In A Control Board
A coalition of big-city mayors from around New York issued a somewhat lukewarm statement this afternoon in response to Fred Dicker’s column this morning that found Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Comptroller Tom DiNapoli were reviewing the possbility of a “super control board” that would have broad powers to take over the finances of local governments.
The statement was released by Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner, Rochester Mayor Tom Richards, Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings and Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano.
“We read with interest press reports about a statewide control board. These reports are recognition of the difficult circumstances we now confront. We appreciate the interest. We have been meeting and are carefully considering our response to the looming fiscal crisis of New York’s municipal governments. In the meantime, we suggest that several principles be considered in this new and important statewide conversation. First, at the heart of the problem is the decades-long fundamental change in the economics of the cities and their expense and revenue base, which will not recover even as the national and state economies improve. Second, we believe decisions about our cities should be made in concert with local officials. We, as Mayors, are dealing with our new realities. We are committed to working with the Governor and Comptroller to design a solution that will serve the interest of the state and its municipal governments.”
There’s a lot to pick a part with this statement, including the city executives who signed on to it. Jennings and Spano are both staunch Cuomo allies (Jennings was even considered a possible lieutenant governor candidate at one point, while Cuomo campaigned heavily on Spano’s behalf). Miner, of course, was Cuomo’s pick to become co-chairwoman of the state Democratic Party, along with Assemblyman Keith Wright.
Richards was part of a prior coalition of local leaders, led by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, that advocated for the Tier Six pension overhaul that was ultimately successful despite some modifications to the final product (Cuomo has held the Tier Six plan up as a sign of major mandate reform). Separately, but certainly related, Cuomo signed a measure designed to help employees at Eastman Kodak receive reduced health insurance as the company goes through bankruptcy.
(There were also Richards’ comment to The Wall Street Journal that there is a “recognition in Albany” that a solution is needed in order to avoid a control board).
But at its heart, the statement reads as something could be a harbinger for power a struggle over municipal finances in an age in which local governments are increasingly squeezed financially.
Both Syracuse and Yonkers have stood out for the possibility that a local control board could be put in place. Miner has used the threat of a control board to gain concessions from police there, while Spano was elected with strong, blue-collar labor support in Yonkers.
If you’ve been watching the show for the last week, then you’ll know that Liz has been highlighting the troubles of local governments and the unique challenges they face in a series of interviews that included several of these big city mayors. More from those interviews can be found here.
|Print article||This entry was posted by Nick Reisman on August 6, 2012 at 4:03 pm, and is filed under Albany, Andrew Cuomo. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.|
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