NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito has voluntarily given up her authority to decide how a large chunk of the council’s discretionary funding is distributed.
Mark-Viverito said Tuesday that, under the new rules, member-item funding — about $50 million annually — will now have a more equitable distribution, 1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reported.
“We will take the politics out of member items,” Mark-Viverito said. “Each district will receive an equal amount of funding with a small adjustment on top based on the number of people living in poverty in the district.”
In the past, City Council speakers could use the allocation of member items to reward or punish council members, WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reported.
Dick Datey, executive director of Citizens Union, praised the reform.
“We’re very pleased today to see the council open up and become a much more transparent, accountable body,” he told Lamb.
Datey said the public will see districts better served as the result of the rules change.
Organizations being awarded money will also now be required to explain how it’s spent, Papa reported.
Gene Rusianoff of the New York Public Interest Research Group said the move will reduce the likelihood of outrageous and wasteful spending.
Mayor Bill de Blasio has said in the past he would like to see member items eliminated entirely.
Susan Lerner, executive director of Common Cause, agreed.
“We are the good government group that actually agrees with the mayor that member items should simply be abolished,” she told Papa.
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