From the Daily News:
The heartiest eaters at the trough of City Council slush funds were named Tuesday in a good government group report which argues that the way the money's doled out gives the Council speaker too much sway over individual members.
Brooklyn Democrat Domenic Recchia, the powerful head of the council’s Finance Committee, was number one in FY 2012 with $12.1 million, according to Citizens Union.
Councilman Erik Martin Dilan (D-Brooklyn) came in second with $11.3 million and Councilman Lew Fidler (D-Brooklyn) was third with $10.7 million.
The Council allocated $459 (fixed) million in discretionary funds in FY 2012. Members gave the money to non-profits and used it for capital expenditures on city property.
Citizen Union head Dick Dadey said the funds should be handed out “more objectively” and with “greater equity” and that politics should be taken out of the process.
“The City Council speaker and some of the other leaders have too much say in what gets distributed,” he said. “One could argue that that’s a way to keep the Council in line as you try and move a legislative agenda forward.”
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn pointed out in a statement that Council had already made changes to make its expense funds more transparent and was planning to do the same with capital funds.
From the NY Post:
A new analysis of how the City Council allocated more than $2 billion in discretionary funds between 2009 and 2012 has found a wide gulf between the haves and have-nots.
Dominic Recchia (D-Brooklyn), chairman of the powerful Finance Committee, was the biggest winner in the Citizens Union study, collecting $66.7 million to spend on capital projects and nonprofits of his choosing. Erik Dilan (D-Brooklyn), an ally of Brooklyn Democratic leader Vito Lopez, came in second with $37 million.
Dead last in 51st place were Dan Halloran (R-Queens) and his predecessor Tony Avella, now a state senator. Over the four-year period, they pulled in just $9.5 million for their constituents.
Avella, an outspoken critic of Council Speaker Christine Quinn, said the results should come as no surprise to anyone.
“Nothing is done by merit,” he said. “I was independent and took on the speaker.”
From the NY Post:
Council Speaker Christine Quinn is yanking Seabrook’s discretionary funds in the upcoming budget as the beleaguered Bronx politician gears up for a second federal trial on charges of extortion, money-laundering and fraud, The Post has learned.
“Council Member Seabrook and I have come to a mutual agreement that this year’s funding to his district will be determined by the Speaker’s Office and the Bronx delegation chair,” Quinn said in a prepared statement, reversing her position on the issue from several months ago.
“All allocations will undergo the appropriate review and vetting process, including by the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services and city agencies,” she said.
In February 2010, federal prosecutors alleged that from 2002 through 2009, Seabrook funneled more than $1 million in council member items — also known as pork — to nonprofits he controlled, with about half that money lining the pockets of his girlfriend and family members.