Mayor Michael Bloomberg is proposing massive cuts to the budgets of the city's top government watchdog and the borough presidents, a move his administration defended as fiscally necessary and his critics denounced as a political power play.
In the fine print of the mayor's preliminary budget proposal for the fiscal year beginning July 1, Mr. Bloomberg recommended cutting the public advocate's budget by 20% and each of the borough presidents' budgets by as much as 36%.
The public advocate and the five borough presidents are independently elected officials, but their budgets are at the mercy of the mayor and the City Council. The mayor has a long history of proposing cuts to these offices, and, in most cases, but not all, the council has restored a large portion of what Mr. Bloomberg recommended cutting.
"It is outrageous that we are part of this political budget dance that impacts our ability to do our job effectively," said Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, whose office is slated to lose a third of its budget.
Mr. Stringer, a potential 2013 mayoral candidate, said the constant threat of cuts creates a chilling effect aimed at dissuading elected officials from criticizing the mayor or the council.
Marc LaVorgna, a spokesman for Mr. Bloomberg, called Mr. Stringer's allegations "completely false."
"Budget decisions are made based on how our limited taxpayer dollars can best serve the city—spending on education and public safety is the highest, then on down the list," Mr. LaVorgna said.
Oh, please - the mayor's spending priorities start with how to fund all the outside consultants and no-bid contracts he's doled out over his nine years in office.
You know, like the CityTime contract.
As for education, clearly that's not a priority or he wouldn't be KILLING children and school staff by refusing to take TOXIC LIGHTS that contain PCB's out the schools.
Nope, this defunding of the borough presidents and the public advocate is just an old-fashioned power grab by Moneybags to quash criticism and rid himself of rivals.
I bet if he could go after City Comptroller John Liu's office, he would REALLY do some defunding.
Liu, after all, is the only city official actually taking actions that show what a mismanaged city we have under Michael "Outside Contracts Like CityTime are Sacrosanct" Bloomberg.
You can expect Bloomberg suck-ups like De Blasio, Markowitz and others to BEG for the cut funds to be restored to their offices.
And then you can be sure that they'll be less likely to criticize their benefactor, Moneybags.
Stringer can't afford to run things that way, of course.
As a potential mayoral candidate in 2013, he MUST distance himself from Bloomberg and be critical of Herr Mayor.
Guess he's just screwed.
As for Bloomberg, you have to wonder when he's going to say that NYC can no longer afford the City Council or elections and just dispenses with this whole democracy sham and takes power like the fascist jackboot he is.