Back in early August, I began to consider writing a series of columns on reforming New York’s dysfunctional state government. Friends and neighbors were not aware of my interest in this subject; others suggested no amount of disclosure could possibly make a difference.
After writing five columns, I am surprised to find interest beyond expectation and, at the risk of self-praise, I believe it’s fair to state that I have (kind of) dented the wall of indifference.
I’d like to provide one example that serves as the basis for this letter. A neighbor called and asked if I had seen a letter, “If we ‘fire’ Albany pols, who replaces them? (in the Aug. 19-25 Rockville Centre Herald). The writer found my mention of your pledge to reform Albany “perplexing.” Why? “You do not have a history of reform,” she wrote. Needless to say, the election process this year, on all levels, has been contentious, especially for incumbents. Voters are agitated and want to know what they can really anticipate once a candidate is in office.
With certain expectations in mind, I asked you in a recent public forum why you voted against the Public Authority Reform Act that was signed into law last March, and the funding of the Authority Budget Office, the auditing arm of the legislation. Your answer: the legislation created just another level of “bureaucracy” the people of the state of New York cannot afford.
If time had allowed I would certainly challenged your response. The new law is fundamentally sound and has been attested to by the New York State Bar Association and other leaders involved in corporate governance and public finance. To dismiss its value as just another “bureaucracy” is unsustainable given the litany of New York states’ problems. Affordability is also not a real concern because there are only eight employees staffing the budget office.
It is fair to say that the debate on reform, as it applies to our public authorities, state and local agencies, hardly needs more reaffirmation. Your constituents need and expect your ongoing support of realistic legislation.
If I have in any way misconstrued your opposition to this aspect of reform in this letter, please let the readers of The Herald know why. If you disagree with me concerning my findings, I would appreciate your valued assessment.