$100 Million Dollar Budget And The Power of Oversight — What Is A Comptroller & Why Should You Care?


Let’s begin with the fundamentals. It’s pronounced “CONTROLLER.” Perhaps? There really appears to be a variety of differing opinions on this controversial situation.The Present Comptroller Scott Stringer says “CONTROLLER,” although the one who answered his workplace cellphone this week informed us it was pronounced COMP-troller. The Simpsons additionally use COMP-troller.

We could by no means know the proper pronunciation, however we will reply: what’s a comptroller, and why does it even matter?

With a workers of greater than 700 staff and a price range of greater than $100 million, the comptroller has actual energy. They function a test on the mayor’s workplace and are arguably the second most essential elected official in New York Metropolis after the mayor, serving primarily as the town’s chief monetary advisor, conducting audits of metropolis companies and managing the town’s large pension funds.

At a time when New York Metropolis faces a price range gap of almost $4 billion {dollars} subsequent 12 months, on account of misplaced income throughout the pandemic, the incoming comptroller has their work reduce out for them.

What Does A Comptroller Really Do?

Three of the comptroller’s important capabilities are to evaluation all metropolis contracts, audit metropolis spending and oversee the town’s behemoth pension fund, one of many largest public pension funds within the nation.

Current highlights from comptroller audits embody how vacant city-owned land could possibly be used for reasonably priced housing, how privately owned public areas are being cloistered from the individuals, how homeless shelters are harmful for youngsters, how Entry-a-Trip is failing New Yorkers with disabilities, and the way loos in public parks are sure, effectively, very gross.

Why choose seemingly random issues like parks loos? The subjects are as much as the comptroller, as the one mandate is to audit not less than one side of each metropolis company not less than as soon as each 4 years.

The comptroller has an essential oversight position that may put stress on Metropolis Corridor. However, whereas the comptroller could make coverage suggestions and get press consideration, it’s as much as the Metropolis Council to cross laws and to the mayor to implement any modifications or reforms.

On the pension fund entrance, the comptroller has extra autonomy. They information $239 billion in investments, with enter from trustees. Not too long ago, trustees overseeing the pensions of lecturers and most municipal staff voted to divest $4 billion {dollars} from fossil fuels, whereas police and firefighters pension trustees declined to divest. That years-long course of was initiated and overseen by the comptroller.

The comptroller additionally makes “economically focused investments,” which reinvest about 2percentof the pension funds into low- and moderate-income New York Metropolis neighborhoods, by means of efforts resembling reasonably priced housing improvement.

The present comptroller, Scott Stringer, has reached his two-term restrict. He’s operating for mayor, as you could have heard, a step different comptrollers have taken. It’s price noting that whereas comptrollers have run for mayor —John Liu and Invoice Thompson are two latest examples—few have succeeded. Abraham Beame was the final comptroller to turn out to be mayor of New York Metropolis, taking on within the midst of the Nineteen Seventies fiscal disaster.

Itching to know extra about what a comptroller does? Right here’s a full listing of their duties. For the visible learners out right here’s a video.

Who’s Working?

Brian Benjamin

Benjamin has been a State Senator since 2017, representing Harlem and the Higher West Facet. Benjamin says if he’s elected he would push for extra funding of the pension fund into reasonably priced housing improvement and enhance oversight of the NYPD’s price range.

Zachary Iscol

Iscol was operating for mayor up till final week, and he now joins this race because the second greatest fundraiser. Iscol is a army veteran and politically linked founding father of a nonprofit that gives psychological healthcare therapy for army veterans and their households. He says he would require firms that contract with the town to explain their dedication to the 5 boroughs, and push to reinvest among the pension funds in job creation domestically.

Model Lander

Lander is presently a term-limited Metropolis Council member who represents components of Park Slope, Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens and Windsor Terrace. He’s one of the best funded candidate within the race to date, having raised almost $800,000. If elected, Lander says he would push for enhancements to site visitors security, additional divestment from fossil fuels, and extra reasonably priced housing.

Terri Liftin

Liftin is an legal professional who labored as a compliance officer for 3 non-public funding corporations, most lately at Raith Capital Companions. If elected, she guarantees to extend oversight of the NYPD’s price range and push for reasonably priced housing.

Kevin Parker

Parker presently serves as state senator for components of Central Brooklyn together with Flabtush, East Flatbush and components of Park Slope. If elected, he says he’ll concentrate on audits of public security efforts and homeless companies and push for funding in asset-managing corporations led by non-white house owners or ladies.

David Weprin

David Weprin is a state meeting member whose household has represented this a part of jap Queens for 3 generations. If elected, Weprin says he would conduct audits of metropolis companies extra ceaselessly, and push for inexperienced vitality investments.

4 different candidates have filed paperwork to run for comptroller however have but to report any funds raised; Chris McNickle a biographer of New York Cityformer mayors, Alex Pan, a school pupil, and Reshma Patel, a neighborhood Democratic membership president. Lastly, Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, a monetary analyst and reporter for CNBC and former Republican, who mounted an unsuccessful however well-funded problem towards Alexandria Ocasio Cortez within the main final June, can be operating.