The New or Additional Member Items: Pot of Gold Inside State Dormitory Authority and Other Places
The drive to end New York pork only drove it underground (NYP Ed) From time immemorial, lawmakers have used pork to grease the legislative wheels — with efforts to ban the practice only driving it underground. Here in New York, that’s produced the abuse of the state Dormitory Authority. Since 1998, the Times Union’s Chris Bragg reported Sunday, state lawmakers have spent $1.9 billion on nearly 6,000 projects financed by Dormitory Authority bonds. The authority itself does plenty of good work, and has since the state created it back in 1944 solely to finance college construction. Its current “add-on” role as pork conduit began in 1998, after then-Gov. George Pataki vetoed all of the Assembly’s member items. In the end, Pataki wound up cutting a deal to fund much of the same pork via a new Community Enhancement Facilities Assistance Program, run through the Dorm Authority. A few years later, slush-fund spending for the state Senate got added to the mix. And — unlike the old member items — none of it was spelled out in the state budget, where the public could at least see the pork. Worse, debt contracts by “independent” authorities faces fewer constitutional limits than borrowing by the state itself — which lets the slush-fund spending get even larger. Longtime Assemblyman John McEneny of Albany, now retired, notes that governors and lawmakers have joined almost annually to create new pots of money for legislators’ pet needs ever since Pataki’s 1998 “cleanup.” Thus, Gov. Cuomo made a big show of vetoing member items inserted by the Legislature into the budget in 2012 and again in 2013. But in that latter year, he joined with the Legislature’s leaders to create a new Dorm Authority slush fund, the State and Municipal Facilities Program. In the three years since, lawmakers have authorized $1.54 billion in bond sales for the program. Bottom line: Many of the worst abuses of New York’s taxpayers now take place out of sight. How’s that for reform? * Critics contend the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York has quietly grown into Albany's biggest pork barrel, with state lawmakers spending $1.9 billion since 1998 for nearly 6,000 projects financed by Dormitory Authority bonds, the Times Union writes. * New York’s drive to end pork barrel spending only drove it underground, with news now emerging that the state spent $1.9 billion on nearly 6,000 projects financed by Dormitory Authority of the State of New York bonds, the Post writes.
CUNY SUNY Pots of Money With No Ethics Gov Will Protect Us? What About Buffalo Billions?
Cuomo vows to crack down on fraud in CUNY, SUNY schools (NYP) Cuomo will crack down on waste and fraud in New York’s public-university systems by naming new inspectors general to focus on probing the higher-learning institutions, his office said Wednesday. The call for new university inspectors at both CUNY and SUNY schools comes a day after the state’s inspector general released a report revealing rampant conflicts of interest, fraud, corruption and abuse at CUNY. “Management failed to understand that taxpayer money deserves the highest protection,” the governor said in response to the CUNY probe. Cuomo will crack down on waste and fraud in New York’s public-university systems by naming new inspectors general to focus on probing the higher-learning institutions, his office said Wednesday. The call for new university inspectors at both CUNY and SUNY schools comes a day after the state’s inspector general released a report revealing rampant conflicts of interest, fraud, corruption and abuse at CUNY. “Management failed to understand that taxpayer money deserves the highest protection,” the governor said in response to the CUNY probe.* Cuomo proposes ethics reforms forSUNY, CUNY, urges Legislature to place limits on outside income for pols (NYDN) * Cuomo, Stung by a Scandal, Offers Ethics Reforms (NYT) * Cuomo announced a set of ethics reforms that would affect SUNY, CUNY, the state Legislature and his own office, all of which have been soiled within the last year by corruption scandals and allegations of mismanagement, The New York Times writes. * Sources said a major shake-up is under way at CUNY following a scathing report that found lax spending and management practices and Jay Hershenson, the vice chancellor of university relations for 32 years, and another have been reassigned, the Post writes.
CUNY New Chief
From Plains to CUNY, New Chief Is ‘Coming Home’(NYT)
The president of the University of Nebraska, James B. Milliken, strikes many as having a talent for making people feel listened to
A Fixer and Her Payoff: Silver Guy Sends A Message to the Gov
SUNY flim-flam(NYP Ed) It looks like state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli is about to rip the State University’s Research Foundation for misspending millions. Including that $913,000 no-bid contract to former New York Chief Judge Judith Kaye’s firm to conduct a legal analysis. Paying for the Kaye contract was the foundation, which ostensibly funds organized research through its $1 billion endowment. But the arrangement also allowed her to get around a state law requiring such contracts to be put to bid and approved by both the attorney general and the comptroller. SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher herself reportedly is criticized for spending $28,000 in foundation funds on personal expenses — like private-club memberships and booze.Judith Kaye's decision to punt Paterson perjury charges to DA's(NYDN)
* Former top judge to lead Working Families Party probe | Crain'sNY)
Corrupt Joe Bruno Daughter Also Had No Show Job With SUNY Research
Comptroller Keeps Up the Heat on SUNY Slush Fund
Comptroller Report Questions SUNY’s Fringe Expenses Including Sabres Tickets, Bar Tab(YNN) * SUNY: Research Foundation reforms already underway(Albany Watch) * Ex-Official at SUNY Charged $131,000 in Personal Expenses to Foundation, Audit Finds(NYT)