|Christine Quinn uses your tax money to reward her political allies.|
For a final time in eight years as City Council speaker, would-be mayor Christine Quinn has just handed favored members the biannual cash payments called lulus. Here is one more argument for imposing an inspector general on the municipal legislature.
Although members are very well paid — $112,500 a year for part-time work — Quinn has rewarded loyalists with additional stipends and has punished those who displeased her by withholding extra pay.
The Council has moved to put the NYPD under the oversight of an inspector general who would have the power to review all of a commissioner’s policies. Backers say this IG will help ensure that all monies are fairly and properly spent.
Think about the good such an IG would do on the Council, where, in addition to lulus, the speaker doles out almost $400 million annually in so-called member items, enabling her pets to fund local causes and denying similar aid to residents of districts represented by the speaker’s foes.
Four years ago, Citizens Union asked Council candidates whether or not they would support abolishing lulus.
Twenty-three of the presently sitting members pledged to be rid of the payments and are still blessed by Quinn with taking one.
Five of those now accept the money: Sara Gonzalez and Diana Reyna of Brooklyn, Helen Foster of the Bronx, Margaret Chin of Manhattan and Danny Dromm of Queens.
Fifteen members take lulus, but claim they donate the money to charity. They are: Gale Brewer and Rosie Mendez of Manhattan; Fernando Cabrera of the Bronx; Debi Rose of Staten Island; and Mathieu Eugene, David Greenfield, Letitia James, Steve Levin and Darlene Mealy, all of Brooklyn. From Queens there are Julissa Ferreras, Peter Koo, Karen Koslowitz, Eric Ulrich, Jimmy Van Bramer and Ruben Wills.
Only three members who opposed lulus lived up to their word by refusing payments: Daniel Garodnick and Ydanis Rodriguez of Manhattan and Brooklyn’s Brad Lander. Good for them.