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CCNY student asks the Candidate a couple of really good question

October 24, 2013

CUNY Student questions:

How will you manage the NYC retirement funds? What is your criteria for review of proposed contracts? And why should CUNY students vote for you?

My answers:

Managing the assets of municipal employees pension funds?
First I would propose the Comptroller’s office take on the actual management of the 5 NYCERS retiree funds. Last year NYC paid $360 million dollars to 300 private funds to manage the  $140 billion dollar  NYCERS fund.  Yet despite not paying out multiple million to hedge funds, the Ontario teachers retirement inhouse managed fund of $130 billion achieved a 1.6% better return than NYC”s privatized managed fund.  Also I would use the Comptroller’s leverage to advocate for divestment from Fossil fuel corporations and from corrupt defense contractors  such as Blackrock. Instead  I would support locally based investment. There are great examples of socially responsible investment funds which achieve excellent returns. Norway’s sovereign wealth fund divested from Walmart because of their anti labor policies. Yet it is recognized as the largest. best managed, most successful fund in the world.
Top criteria for the review of purposed contracts?
My criteria for judging the 38,000 private contracts the city enters into each year would include: 1. Investigating the reputation of the contracted corporation. Past performance is an excellent predictor of present performance. Yet, in city contracting decisions reputation doesn’t weigh much when choosing contractors. For example in 1990 SAIC pled guilty to 10 counts of felony fraud related to  gov’t contracts at toxic superfund sites. And through the years following  SAIC   paid multiple fines for other contract violations. Yet in 2009 NYC approved a City Time (an SAIC  affiliated company) contract which ultimately led to SAIC paying a fine of $500 million dollars for hundreds of millions more in over billing while developing new  software for city payrolls. 2. I would use the Comptroller’s  bully pulpit to stop contracts for foolish and most likely campaign contribution pay back projects created to reward contributors. For example, the 2011 Bloomberg contract to pay an ad agency $20 million dollars to run a teacher recruitment campaign.  This project meets my criteria for saying, “No” since it was obviously  foolish and wasteful to advertise for teachers at the same time the city was proposing to lay off 4,000 teachers. And one has to wonder why the contract was proposed at all. 

And why should CUNY students vote for you?
3. Vote for me, a fellow CUNY graduate (1966 CCNY) who is grateful for the wonderful FREE education I received and who will fight for the  return to a FREE education. I urge you to go to my web site and click on the Platform choice for more about what I would do as Comptroller.



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