The comptroller is the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for New York City.
What qualities do you want for your CFO?
Someone who gets numbers.
Someone who is independent — Free of a political machine. Free of special interests. Free of City Hall.
Someone who is a problem solver.
Someone who is a fighter.
During my time in the Office of Management and Budget and as Chair of the City Council’s Committee on Contracts, I have proven myself to be a fiscal leader and developed a reputation for really knowing the ins and outs of the City’s budget. We need to make sure that we are taking care of both New Yorkers and their service providers. How we spend our money is a matter of social justice — and it should be spent on the people who make our city the place it is and keep it running day in and day out. Most importantly, our city money needs to uplift and support our most vulnerable community members.
NON-POLITICAL USE OF THE COMPTROLLER’S OFFICE
Audits should be used to make sure the City is spending money effectively and on the people who need it, not to make the mayor look bad. Contracts should not be held up for political reasons--that only hurts the contractor and those who would be served by the contract. A Comptroller should use its power over contracting and the audit to serve the City without regard to political allegiance.
SPEEDING UP CONTRACTS
Contracts require registration by the Comptroller’s Office to “ensure that the City has adequate funding to cover the cost of its contracts and to prevent corruption in City procurement” prior to its implementation. Because of this City Charter requirement, contracts end up stuck in the Comptroller’s Office for months, sometimes up to a year. When the Comptroller slows down contracts at this critical step, either for political or efficiency reasons, contractors and New Yorkers alike are hurt.
HUMAN SERVICES CONTRACTING
Many critical City services are delivered through contracts with nonprofit and community organizations. Because these are smaller grassroots organizations, many struggle to stay solvent while they are doing work on behalf of the City. The city has a history of inefficiently managing these contracts, with the organizations and workers on the front lines not being paid sometimes for years until after they have completed the work. When the City doesn’t pay their contracts on time, these organizations have to take out loans--the cost of which the City doesn’t reimburse.
Our procurement system is broken and it is hurting our city. When I was the chair of the committee on contracts, the Department of Education was trying to sign a contract for $1.1B computer networking system, so I held a hearing to make the public aware. We used the media to alert the public to this GROSS overspend, and caused the Department of Education to negotiate a lower contract its by 33% less. But that made me ask — where did they get those savings from? Something was off, so I marched into the Mayor’s office and demanded that they negate and re-bid the contract. Nine months later, they re-wrote the request for proposals and the city saved $600M that got used for Universal Pre-K. I will do this for every project every day — guided by this spirit of fiscal responsibility.
INVESTING IN MINORITY/WOMEN OWNED BUSINESSES
I am chair of the committee on women, where I am fighter for pay equity. We need someone who believes deeply in pay equity because its better for the economy, for the community, and for our children. By not having pay equity, we are shortchanging the NYC economy by MILLIONS of dollars. For instance, public companies with women on their boards and in the top levels of leadership produce better results. Why are we not investing in more women led companies? It makes us more money, which lets our retirees tap their pensions. It is the socially just and fiscally responsible thing to do.
As Comptroller, I will be asking the important questions constantly: Are we opening enough doors to Women-Owned Businesses bidders? How are the policies of the Comptroller’s Office helping or hurting these contractors? Why aren’t we investing in it? Why aren’t we already doing it? I have been laser focused, as the chair on the committee of women, on these issues.
Helen Rosenthal, a Comptroller Fighting For You.
I see the power and the value of getting the numbers right, because that’s what allows me to live my social justice principles. We need a comptroller who understands the process. We need a comptroller who can fix it without be swayed - who will stand up to the city and say NO! We want someone independent who will do the socially just and fiscally responsible thing.
Did I miss anything?
If you have questions about a specific policy or topic I didn’t cover, please let me know. If you need to know where I stand on an issue, I want to reach out and answer that question.
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