From the NY Times:
A slightly testy City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn on Wednesday defended her decision not to strip Councilman Larry Seabrook of control over more than $350,000 in discretionary funds in the coming budget cycle, even as he awaits a second trial on corruption charges related to his use of such funds.
When she was asked, at a news conference before Wednesday’s Council meeting, whether the critique had given her any second thoughts, Ms. Quinn offered a one-word answer: “No.”
“We used to have a process in the City Council where basically Council members made requests to fund groups in their district, and it was a little bit of an honor system — there was the assumption that those were groups were qualified to do the work,” she said.
“We no longer have an honor system. We have a verification system, where the groups that are seeking funding from the Council are taken through an aggressive vetting process.”
In Mr. Seabrook’s case, Ms. Quinn said, none of what has been alleged “could have happened under the system we now have.”
“What we’re trying to do with member items is support many groups out there at the local level who are doing the work well, and make sure the money is scrubbed thoroughly, so it is going to those groups,” she said. “And I stand by that process.”