Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner has drawn attention for a New York Times op-ed criticizing Governor Cuomo’s failure to deliver meaningful mandate relief to troubled localities. The mayor, who is also co-chair of the state Democratic Committee, challenged Cuomo to “use his substantial, hard-earned political capital to convene the Legislature, the state comptroller, and union and business leaders for an honest conversation about the multiple fiscal pressures confronting our cities.”
In a classic end-of-session rush job, the Assembly and Senate last week passed a bill that will make it easier to sue New York State’s local governments.
Governor Andrew Cuomo’s propensity for creating advisory committees, commissions and task forces — more than two dozen in all — is the subject of an article in today’s Wall Street Journal [subscription required].
Says Cuomo’s press spokesman:
“The commissions and advisory panels bring together unprecedented talent, experience and expertise in order to devise bold and consensus solutions to the most critical challenges facing the state and, under the governor’s leadership, it [sic] has been an unequivocal success.”
Well, at least he didn’t call it “historic.”
If you haven’t read much about the details of the “mandate relief” provisions approved by the Legislature as the session ended last week, there’s a good reason for it: virtually none of the relief priorities cited by the state’s major local government groups were included. Compared to this, the Senate Republicans’ lengthier one-house mandate relief bill was downright trail-blazing, since that measure at least touched on a few potential big-ticket items such as binding arbitration guidelines for police and fire unions, and costly prevailing wage requirements for government contractors.
The principal innovation in the enacted bill is the creation of an 11-member Mandate Relief Council, controlled by seven gubernatorial appointees, to “identify and review mandates that can be eliminated or reformed, and make such other and further inquiries, reports and recommendations as the council may deem necessary and prudent to effecctuate its mission of mandate relief.”