In an acceptance speech Tuesday night, Lander vowed to make sure the city was “built for the crisis”.
New York City’s most pressing challenge is to ensure that more than $ 15 billion in federal Covid recovery funds help all neighborhoods, according to Lander. It has committed to putting in place a tracking system in its first 100 days to identify what has been spent and metrics to measure whether the spend is hitting its targets.
The city’s economic recovery from the pandemic has been much slower than the United States as a whole. New York has only recovered less than half of the 900,000 private sector jobs lost at the start of the pandemic, with hotel, restaurant and retail workers hit the hardest.
“We’re still short of 500,000 jobs, which is the most profound economic impact on New York City since the 1930s,” said James Parrott, director of economic and fiscal policy at the Center for New York City Affairs. at the New School. “It is really important that the comptroller makes sure that the mayor and municipal agencies effectively understand what the economic challenges are and set an appropriate budget to deal with them.
New York City faces a budget deficit of $ 4.1 billion for the fiscal year beginning July 1, but it could reach $ 5.4 billion, according to state comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. Biggest Budget Risk: Mayor Bill de Blasio failed to identify $ 1 billion in labor savings that will fund wage increases in the first two years of the next round of collective bargaining.
The employment contracts of three of the largest unions representing police, firefighters and civilians have expired, and the teachers’ contract expires next year. The outcome of the next round of negotiations will have a significant impact on the city’s finances.
Lander pledged to focus on auditing the New York Police Department’s $ 5.4 billion budget to end unnecessary spending and said his first audit would focus on the Department of Corrections, which has been criticized for its mismanagement of Rikers Island prisons.
Like his predecessor Scott Stringer, Lander said he would use the power of the city’s pension funds to influence the environmental, social and governance practices of fund managers and the companies in which the city invests.
This month, three of the city’s five pensions – the New York City Employee Retirement System, the New York City Teacher Retirement System, and the Board of Education Retirement System of New York City – have pledged to achieve zero net greenhouse gas emissions in their investment portfolios by 2040. Plans call for doubling investments in renewables, energy efficiency and other climate-related solutions to more than $ 8 billion by 2025. Pension funds for the city’s police and firefighters have not adhered to the pledge.
The pensions of city officials, teachers and directors have also voted in favor of divesting their fossil fuel assets. Under Lander, the funds will work with BlackRock Inc. on a plan to sell stocks and bonds as well as private equity investments.