Corey Johnson Outlines Comptroller Blueprint

Donna Aceto

Speaker Corey Johnson, who’s battling to be the next City Comptroller, released his blueprint calling for closer audits of three city agencies in the de Blasio Administration that have been considerably less than stellar.

Johnson’s plan includes aggressive, more frequent, and impactful oversight and audits for key agencies, like the Department of Education (DOE), NYPD, Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), and Department of Homeless Services (DHS), as well as a special audit to identify areas to reform the city’s affordable housing programs.

The plan aims to conduct audits of these agencies’ finances and issues, like document retention and equipment policies, annually at a minimum.

The DOE has been rudderless during the COVID pandemic with its mixed messages of openings and closings. HPD was behind the city’s attempts to take dozens of Black-and Brown-owned properties and giving them to favored non-profit developers and the DHS continues to run amid growing numbers of homeless on city streets.

“Growing up, my mom taught me a simple motto that guides me to this day: do the most good for the people who need it most. As New York City’s next Comptroller, that’s exactly how I intend to govern,” said Johnson.

“Since I became Speaker, we’ve used transformative public policy ideas to take on the big issues and fight the big fights. I’m going to bring that same approach to the Comptroller’s office: energy and passion, knowledge and experience, all in the service of getting results for New Yorkers,” he added.

Johnson also outlined plans to bolster racial and gender diversity and create an office for equality and inclusion, though he did not mention the LGBTQ community in the blueprint.

Johnson’s plan proposes weeding back the NYPD budget by conducting a risk assessment of behavior in the NYPD to recommend changes that would reduce costs and possibly misconduct in the long run.

The NYPD costs taxpayers upwards of $200 million each year from settlements of more than 6,000 claims of misconduct, said Johnson, and the comptroller has the authority to settle these cases. Johnson said that he would also work to identify patterns and trends that will lead to informed conversations on reforming policing, reducing tension and violence between police and civilians, and just as importantly, saving the city money.

Johnson said he would use auditing authority to closely review the city’s emergency procurement and loans disbursed by the Department of Small Business Services (SBS) to ensure small businesses actually have access to recovery funds.

Johnson’s plan also proposes launching a public, online COVID-19 relief dashboard so people can track city spending of federal aid, stewardship of the city’s pension system, and support for affordable housing, good jobs, small business and green infrastructure.

He also commits to protecting public pensions, enforcing prevailing and living wage laws, and creating a portable benefits fund for freelance and gig workers.

This story originally appeared on Gay City News’ sister site, PoliticsNY.