As each audit conducted by John Liu shows, Bloomberg overspends on outside consultants, programs and cronyism while declaring that the city is not in such great financial shapoe and must lay teachers off.
Yesterday a Liu audit revealed that Bloomberg had allowed a city contract with a construction company to balloon from $7 million to nearly $74 million dollars. Liu said the contract was not only wasteful but also fraudulent because the city had abdicated oversight of the contract to the company that it had given the contract to:
According to the audit, the agency approved 21 changes between July 2008 and January 2010 to a contract with Turner Construction Company, which was asked to provide facility management and construction management services at the Brooklyn Army Terminal, Essex Street Market building and other sites. As a result, the contract’s value jumped to $73.5 million, from $7.5 million.
The audit says the agency authorized $3.3 million in “inappropriate and questionable payments” to Turner. They include improper reimbursements for unsubstantiated expenses and unnecessary costs for loading, storing and transporting contaminated soil from the Brooklyn Army Terminal site.
Referring to an alarming “lack of involvement,” the audit says the agency demonstrated a “total reliance” on the construction company and “relinquished far too much control and supervision in reviewing and overseeing the work carried out by Turner.”
On the heels of that damaging revelation, the Daily News reports today that Bloomberg's Department of Education is ramping up spending on computer consultants even as 4,666 teachers are threatened with layoffs:
The Education Department is quietly increasing computer consultant contracts next year even as it threatens to lay off 4,600 teachers, the Daily News has learned.
High-tech consultants are slated to rake in at least $52 million next fiscal year's operating budget, up from the $28 million they were budgeted this year.
The biggest jump in the computer squad will be for those working in central administration - their budget will rise to $33 million next year from $12.3 million this year.
Just this January, the mayor agreed to cut $4 million from the much-criticized computer consultant budget as part of a deal with the City Council to keep firehouses open.
Next year's budget, though, more than restores that consultant cut.
The increases come as the city faces a $4.6 billion budget gap, prompting Mayor Bloomberg to threaten massive teacher layoffs.
Some parents say they'd rather keep the teachers than the ballooning computer contracts.
"A teacher touches a life of many students, and every child should have a class size where they can get attention," said Erica Perez, the representative from East New York, Brooklyn, to the Chancellor's Parent Advisory Council.
"These consultants have no bearing on my child's education."
The Education Department disputes that the contracts are increasing so steeply, saying that they underestimated expenses last year.
Instead of the $28 million budgeted for this fiscal year, ending in June, the department expects to spend $56.6 million.
For next year, a spokeswoman said, the $52 million figure will be more accurate.
Contracts at the agency overall will increase to $4.46 billion next year from $3.78 billion.
The biggest jumps are for contracts for private schools for special-education students and charter schools - that budget will rise to $2.1 billion from $1.6 billion.
I think what is most egregious about Bloomberg's layoff threat is that he is not even trying very hard to hide the wasteful spending on outside consultants and contracts or the horrendous amount of city tax money lost because he refuses to collect taxes on rich people.
Between the $800 million lost to the CityTime project ($80 million of which was stolen), the $900 million the city loses every year by not getting the market tax value on wealthy condo owners like A-Rod, and all the other ballooning contracts that Liu has been detailing in his audits, there is PLENTY of money to stave off layoffs.
Yet until the unions and other city pols call the mayor on this garbage, he gets to make believe like he is some fiscally prudent watchdog making sure the city finances are in order.
The opposite is true - he wastes money hand over fist, crooks are stealing money from the city in these contracts, oversight has been suspended or handed over to the companies themselves, and Bloomberg continues to ratchet up spending on contracts even as he lays off teachers, closes senior centers, and slashes spending for fire houses.
The teacher layoffs are supposed to save the city $300 million.
There is far more than $300 million in savings detailed above.
Maybe the UFT and others opposed to the mayor's agenda could, you know, get the message out?