On September 3, 2009 the PCAC welcomed Richard Brodsky, NYS Assemblyman from the 92nd District, who talked about why he is pushing reform for public authorities (Public Authorities Accountability Act of 2009, A.2209-C). He explained that authories are set up to borrow money with revenue backing, which the State cannot do. (He noted that this also shields politicians from voter anger.) Problems arise, however, because these authorities set up subsidiaries that effectively operate independently.
From his first investigation on the Fulton Street Transportation Center he determined that most of government work is done by authorities. For instance, dollars for Yankee Stadium came from an Industrial Development Authority (IDA). With respect to the MTA, which is a very large public authority, Brodsky wants to preclude any below market real estate sales such as the price tag that was proposed in the original West Side Yards negotiations. He also wants MTA Board members to vote their own minds. This point specifically targets Mayor Bloomberg’s appointees to the Board. Finally, he wants real time financial reporting so that mistakes can be stopped before they occur. At the point that audited statements reach the public, it is too late, he noted.
Brodsky indicated that he was willing to take suggestions to improve the bill and asked PCAC members to send him any thoughts they have about its contents. The bill has been passed by the Assembly and the Senate, but has not yet been submitted to the Governor.