The city comptroller’s job is to watch the budget, spot waste and protect taxpayer dollars. Alas, Scott Stringer is more interested in adding costs and bloating the bottom line — all to promote his own political ambition.
Even as the pandemic ravages city revenues, New York’s supposed fiscal watchdog is pushing plans to boost hiring and outlays, though he’s careful not to mention costs or where funds would come from.
In an op-ed last week, he calls for the creation of a “chief diversity officer,” reporting to the mayor, plus one for each of the city’s roughly 70 agencies, to drive “the representation of people of color and women across government” and oversee the city’s minority- and women-owned business programs.
Yet anti-discrimination laws, the Offices of Citywide Equity and Inclusion and Equal Employment Opportunity, the Human Rights Commission and other safeguards already protect against bias.
Indeed, that the city has programs for minority- and women-owned businesses — with target levels of city contracts to be awarded to them — suggests New York wouldn’t really need Stringer’s CDOs even if they were affordable.
In any event, the comptroller doesn’t say a word about the city’s cost for such jobs. (A guesstimate by the Independent Budget Office puts it at $11.5 million a year, when the city is facing multibillion-dollar deficits.) Maybe that’s because he’s more interested in scoring political points, as he eyes a run for mayor next year, than doing his actual job.
Similarly, Stringer this month dumped a plan for reopening city schools. Not all of its ideas are wrong or even prohibitive: He calls for masks, social distancing, limiting the size of groups and other measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
Yet many may entail significant costs, such as providing more staff in classrooms, a social worker, guidance counselor and full-time nurse in every school, more child-care options for parents and so on. The price tag for all that: The city’s chief accountant maintains radio silence.
Let’s face it: Scott Stringer has long let his ambition for higher office — and his enduring need to appease the far left — take priority over doing his real duties. To pander to climate-change warriors, he opposed desperately needed natural-gas supplies (even though a shift to oil would worsen warming). He’s offered disastrous housing proposals and called for defunding the NYPD, which would hurt minorities most.
When the City Council passed this year’s budget, he largely ignored its alarming fiscal recklessness and instead blasted it for failing “to answer the calls of [black and brown] New Yorkers who deserve and demand systemic change.”
How, exactly, does Stringer expect to convince voters he’d do a good job as mayor after failing so miserably as comptroller?
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