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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Bloomberg Makes Budgetary Moves That Will Harm New Yorkers

It is fascinating to me that a Mayor can remove a city like New York away from the rule of law, get his own job extended without a vote by the people he supposedly works for, and now dismantles social services in New York City - like dental clinics for poor children, police academy classes- reducing the number of classes for firemen, etc, while allowing Joel I' Klein to hire more people to work in the press office and live like a king.

Mayor Bloomberg, remove all the "fat cats" at Tweed, we do not need them. Bring back district offices,put a minimum of highly specialized auditors and budgetary analysts in each district, and hire a new Chancellor who knows what he/she needs to do.

I guess since Mike Bloomberg gets only $1 as a salary, New Yorker City taxpayers get what we pay for.

Betsy Combier
NY cancels police class, cuts jobs amid budget woe
By SARA KUGLER, Associated Press Writer, November 4, 2008

Mayor Michael Bloomberg is canceling the police academy's next class, cutting hundreds of jobs, closing dental health clinics for poor children and taking other drastic steps to tighten the budget amid an economic slowdown.

A Bloomberg administration official said the mayor will outline those cuts and others on Wednesday when he gives an update to the $59 billion budget. He will announce the city is reducing its work force by more than 3,000 employees: 500 through layoffs and the rest through attrition. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the update had not been officially announced.

Bloomberg was asked at a news conference Tuesday to preview his budget plan, and while he did not give details, he said he would likely ask for a "slowdown, but not really for a meltdown."

"We don't know just how deep this recession is going to go or for how long," he said.

By using his budget knife on key jobs and services such as new police officers, education employees and the dental health clinics, which serve 17,000 children each year, Bloomberg is making some politically risky moves. It sets up a more difficult environment as he prepares to run for re-election next year.

The billionaire independent mayor last month announced that he believes the city needs him to stay on past the end of 2009, when his second term ends, to manage the long-term effects of the financial crisis and economic downturn. In just a matter of weeks, he convinced the City Council to change the law that limited him and other officeholders to two consecutive terms, and on Monday he signed the bill allowing him to run for mayor again.

Bloomberg, who has enjoyed approval ratings in the 70s since his re-election in 2005, may see those numbers fall back to the levels of his first term, when he was making cuts and raising taxes to help reverse the city's post-Sept. 11 economic woes. His political opponents will no doubt say the city cannot survive without the programs and jobs he is cutting.

The mayor told reporters Tuesday that the belt-tightening he's announcing this week "certainly is not going to be the last step." If revenues fall more than what is projected, he said, the city will take additional action.

For now, his update will show that the city faces budget gaps of $4 billion this fiscal year and next, the administration official said.

To help bridge those deficits, Bloomberg asked all city agencies in September to come up with their own plans to cut spending by 2.5 percent this fiscal year, which ends next June, and additional cuts of 5 percent the following year.

Those are targeted to save $500 million this year and $1 billion in fiscal 2010.

The plans include canceling the January 2009 police academy class, which means that approximately 1,100 would-be cadets will not enter the six-month program as planned. The next class would begin in July 2009.

Canceling an academy class is an unusual move. Past mayors have more commonly delayed the start of a class by a few months and then accelerated later classes; David Dinkins did it in 1993, Rudy Giuliani in 1994.

In the education department, the city will cut 475 jobs. The majority are central administrative jobs, and about 50 are in schools, but not teachers.

The firefighting training academy will reduce its program from 23 weeks to 18 weeks to save operational costs. The mayor, who drew criticism when he closed firehouses to save money during his first term, also plans to eliminate nighttime engine companies in five firehouses that also have ladder companies. The move allows those firehouses to stay open but with fewer firefighters at night.

The Department of Health will close its dental health clinics for poor children. Officials said the city would rather not shut down the program, but lacking other options they decided to eliminate a service that many families can access through Medicaid.

Other cuts include eliminating 320 seasonal parks department jobs and not filling 187 sanitation jobs dedicated to street cleaning.

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