Tag Archives: COIB

Charter Revision: How to Reduce Conflicts of Interest

Patricia E. Harris

Writing in The NY Times City Room Blog, Michael Barbaro calls attention to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s announcement naming “Patricia E. Harris, the second-most powerful official at City Hall, to be the chief executive and chairwoman of the multibillion-dollar Bloomberg Family Foundation.”

Barbaro notes that “in 2008, Ms. Harris and a City Hall aide, Allison Jaffin, obtained a waiver from the city’s Conflicts of Interest Board to work at the foundation while keeping her job at City Hall, arguing that her work was voluntary and involved minimal use of public resources. At the time, however, she held the title of president.”

Barbaro’s story has drawn dozens of comments from readers, most of them critical of Mayor Bloomberg’s use of his vast personal wealth to influence city policy. Continue reading

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Power to the Beeps?

Stephen Fiala. Photo from the SI Advance

On the morning of the 2010 NYC Charter Revision Commission’s first public meeting, Tom Wrobleski’s  coverage is ahead of the game. Wrobleski, writing for the Staten Island Advance, says that commission member Stephen Fiala, Richmond County Clerk, intends to explore the possibility of giving more power to the borough presidents.

Although Fiala is skeptical of his prospects for success, we think an opportunity for greater BP power exists. As we commented to Wrobleski, power comes when one elected official needs the support of another to get his initiatives through. Continue reading