Kevin Parker, Brad Lander, Seventeen Billion Dollars discussed on Max & Murphy on Politics
Through the full hour ba talking to two of the candidates running to be the men or the people who watch over the city's billions of dollars in spending an assets and debt people running for the job of city comptroller as i mentioned at the outset. We're talking about Who we're going to trust to keep watch over. The city's billions of dollars. The city's number three job is that of city comptroller and sure it sounds boring. Nobody grows dreaming to be controller. But i've often thought that it's about the best job in the city because of the kind of vast powers has that particular kinds of authorities and interest the comptroller can exercise so the comptroller is like the city's official accounted he or she can audit all the agencies in the city of remember the agencies in the city. Spend some eighty eight billion dollars a year. So that's a lot to audit. Those audits can raise. Financial questions can also raise policy questions about you. Know the efficiency and effectiveness of the steps that the city is taking. It's an important very important check on the mayor's power in that way the comptroller also registers contract so as you know a lot of the city's work is not done by but by contractors whether it's human services or building a road or doing consulting work to figure out how the board of elections run better. Or what have you and those contracts total seventeen billion dollars a year seventeen thousand contracts. The controller can register those or not register. Those can block contracts to a degree. That's a tremendous amount of power also overseeing. The city's pension funds the five funds for police and firefighters and teachers and everybody else together compose one of the largest investment funds in the world has a lot of power as an investor deduce shareholder activism Divests from something like firearms or tobacco or fossil fuel related industries. It's a big deal. That's twenty five billion dollars under control in the comptroller's day to day. Overseer of those has a lot to do with the priorities that those pension funds pursue economic forecasting managing the debt if more than seven hundred employees and he operated big policy shop to recent lists of weighed in a different policy issues suggested plans for housing for childcare for dealing with homelessness. You name it of the council is in a position to make those suggestions and frankly not actually execute them. Because they're not. The mayor said they get to kind of sit back. And critique and suggest improvements and use the power of the city's pursestrings to achieve his or her own policy ends And that's a reason why the job is coveted by many people who are seeking a step up from the city council or borough presidency or other offices and it's also why many people who seek that office end up becoming mayor or running for mayor a beam was a comptroller Jay golden who ran for mayor. Alan have the see bill thompson and of course the current comptroller scott stringer's running for mayor the only one in that mix who did not was halston and she ran for the. Us set it. So that's pretty important office too so it say A big big job and an important one and one of the jobs that is on the docket for twenty twenty. One scott stringer as i mentioned running for mayor that's because he is term limited and so there are four people in the race as of now democratic primary in june which as you know in many races in new york city is tacit election. We don't know if there will be republican race if they did run. It's unlikely they would have much of a chance of winning. But the people will be hearing from today. Our senator kevin parker of brooklyn and city council member. Brad lander also of brooklyn They are joined in the race. By state senator bryan benjamin and has been david weapon. Those two candidates have been booked for our show on january twenty seven so two weeks from today and we'll be hearing from them then and obviously next week on the twentieth. Focusing more on inauguration stops which hopefully it will be peaceful and smooth. But we'll be ready for whatever comes our way. So we're hearing from senator kevin parker He is a democrat. He's represented the twenty first district in brooklyn since two thousand three so a veteran of albany veteran of the years too many years in the wilderness when democrats were in the minority than briefly in the majority Particularly well Back the minority now. Of course our very strong and fairly progressive supermajority in the state senate but kevin parker's looking to leave office and become the city's number three official. He is the chairman of the committee on energy and telecommunications and we'll be hearing a few moments switching to get him on the phone. Kevin parker senator from brooklyn is on the line. So welcome to maximum murphy. Hey mackey murphy you just murphy today but thanks for how are you. I'm good glad to hear that Let's dig into a den because we don't have too much time with you and it's a big job and he's got a lengthy career lot to dig into You are a state senator. You have been for many years. What do you feel about this job of comptroller. Do you feel it requires a set of qualifications. Different from other offices foam from being a mayor. Desert require some level of financial savvy. And that's something you bring to the table. Yeah you know a number of years. I've actually been in the state. Senate eighteen years. And i'm the majority whip involved the seminar energy and communications committee and i absolutely think that being city controller does bring a responsibility around a specific set of understanding about finances and and and you know understanding of finances the municipal finance her particular. Anybody who knows finance necessary understand municipal finance You know before. I got elected to the state senate work for paying whatever Doing both government affairs and ms will finance worked worked in the state office. Macomer call As that'd be direct their government affairs. And since i've been in state senate. I've been eighteen years in the finance committee Over ten years on the banking committee the insurance committee and so the issues around revenue. Projections around auditing Around managing the pension fund. Things that in my wheelhouse talk about your time in albany as you mentioned almost two decades much of that time in the minority when obviously it was difficult i'm sure to get legislation passed but when you look at your time there. What do you see as your top accomplishments. Well what do we begin right. i think i think some of it has been you know my top accomplishment the political accomplishments. I'm i'm part of literally. Four people whipped. I've been on the minority. The majority and i think that political understanding Of what it takes to us tweet place where people thinking leading into. When i got elected you know eighteen years ago of senator. You're fading in and out a bit. i don't know if you're if you're traveling or donna. Our end center we may have lost the senator.