As the pension time bomb ticks, city Comptroller John Liu took in the Yankees' home opener, a whiskey tast ing with the British consul- general and countless photo ops with community groups.
A 250-day schedule of the city's top financial watchdog -- obtained by The Post under the Freedom of In formation Law -- suggests he spends more time chasing his mayoral dreams than sniffing out budgetary waste and confronting the city's mounting fin ancial troubles.
While Liu attended just one of the dozen meetings of the city's biggest pension fund in his first eight months in office -- and ducked out of that single NYCERS meeting after just 15 minutes -- he did find time to attend two stickball parties and a dragon-boat event, meet with foreign diplomats, take in a preview of MoMa's Matisse exhibit, drop by the grand opening of the restaurant Valentino's on the Green, and hit an endless circuit of galas, award dinners and press conferences.
I dunno, Liu managed to catch the CityTime mess when both former City Comptroller Bill Thompson and the Mayor of Accountability himself, Michael Bloomberg, did not.
For that matter, the NY Daily News managed to catch that scandal while the Murdoch Street Post did not.
So why such a brutal attack on Liu from the asleep at the wheel Posties?
Reading on in the editorial, you can see the reason:
Elected comptroller last year, the Flushing-based Democrat is custodian of the city's five pension funds and their $100 billion in assets. Underfunded, snakebitten by years of stock-market losses and with mounting annual obligations -- $6.8 billion this year and expected to double in six years -- the pension system threatens to bankrupt the city.
"The absence of business groups, academics, and financial-service professionals on his schedule is startling," said a fellow Democrat who has met with Liu this year and reviewed his schedule. "He's showing no intellectual curiosity. There are a lot of labor meetings, but that's it."
Political observers say Liu's schedule is less about auditing agencies and managing pensions than about crafting a campaign strategy for a possible mayoral run in 2013.
In particular, it shows an interest in rallying support from gay and Irish New Yorkers -- two constituencies thought to support City Council speaker and potential mayoral-race rival Christine Quinn.
He has met with gay activists to discuss crime at a gay club in Quinn's district and attended three receptions for politicians and officials from Ireland before traveling to the island in October.
"He's trying to get a head start and woo them away from Christine Quinn," said good-government advocate Henry Stern.
Meetings with the heads of municipal labor unions dominate Liu's schedule. He has met with at least 10 union leaders, including the United Firefighters Association's Steve Cassidy, the United Federation of Teachers' Mike Mulgrew and DC 37's Lillian Roberts.
"It's inaccurate to suggest that this schedule reflects the work the comptroller has done in office," Liu spokeswoman Cathy Hanson said. "He manages 700 employees across seven bureaus, and he has deputy comptrollers who are experts in their field, whom he meets with on a daily basis."
The Posties want a Comptroller to take on the unions and the "pension obligations that threaten to bankrupt the city" so that the "business groups" and "financial-service professionals" the Post laments Liu doesn't meet with will be happy.
And of course they also want a successor to Bloomberg who will do the same thing.
God forbid there should be a comptroller or a mayor who is not beholden to the "business groups" and "financial-service professionals."
BTW, when you look up "financial-service professional" in the OED, the first definition for the term is "hooker."