6,000 To Go; FDNY Flips Over Closures; Rikers Island Hit HardBy Marcia Kramer

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Mayor Michael Bloomberg is not raising taxes, but his new budget seeks to squeeze every penny possible from New Yorkers, as he cuts corners in agency after agency.

Some of the cuts may surprise you, reports CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.

Marie Antoinette may have gone down in history for saying “let them eat cake,” Mayor Bloomberg will be known for saying “no pudding for you.”

“We have increased expenses at the very time our revenues have declined,” Bloomberg said Friday.

While the mayor is proposing some huge cuts, public school children stand to lose 1 out of every 12 teachers. Cuts in Washington and Albany have made no belt tightening idea too small to escape the mayor’s attention.

So he plans to save $350 million by cutting “non-essential” food items  for prisoners at Rikers Island — and that includes, ice cream, ketchup, mustard, salt and pepper, pudding and fewer servings of bread.

“The city just can’t make up for everything,” Bloomberg said.

The city will also go after drivers by hiking parking meter rates in all five boroughs, which will raise more than $20 million, and it will collect another $5 million from installing 20 more red-light cameras.

But one of the most controversial moves is the plan to close 20 more fire companies. Bloomberg was unapologetic on Friday.

“The city will never be as safe as it would be if you had a fire house on every block,” Bloomberg said.

But FDNY Commissioner Sal Cassano is reluctant.

“I don’t want to do it,” Cassano said.

The commissioner predicted that if the mayor doesn’t relent, response times to fires will rise.

“Response times go up, it takes is longer to get to fires,” Cassano said. “But if it’s 20 the whole city will be impacted.”

“We need fire houses where there’s fires. We can’t have fire trucks driving across city to get to fires,” one New Yorker told Kramer.

“I’d rather be safe than sorry,” another person added.

Kramer has already reported that among the fire companies expected to be on death row are Ladder 53 on City Island, and Engines 271 in Bushwick, 161 on Staten Island and 4 at the South Street Seaport.

City officials won’t make the rest of the list public until the middle of May, reportedly to minimize public outrage.

As for the teacher cuts, Bloomberg wants to be known as the “education mayor,” but the city’s budget problems are forcing him to slash nearly 6,000 teachers, devastation so brutal the mayor called it “carnage.”

So, who will go?

“The newer teachers who’ve been willing to go to those schools with the greatest pedagogical problems, which are typically poor neighborhoods – that’s where the greatest carnage would be and it would be in the elementary school level,” Bloomberg said.

The mayor blamed the need to eliminate teaching jobs on Washington and Albany, which have drastically cut back aid to city schools. Education commissioner Dennis Walcott said the city has already tried to make up the lost money.

“The mayor’s put in $2 billion to the Department of Education to make up for the loss of state and federal funding,” Walcott said.

WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb With Comment From Mayor Bloomberg And Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott

The big question is how the cuts will affect class size. Kramer pressed the commissioner about how many more students each teacher would have in his or her classroom.

“We’re looking at potentially an average of two, but it depends on the grade as well. You could see an increase of two students, maybe in some cases even three students,” Walcott said.

As for total numbers of students in each class, Walcott said, “It depends on the grade so the grade varies. It could be 24, 25 to a high of 28 in different grades.”

Union officials said that’s the wrong move, especially since the city has always tried to keep class sizes low in the early grades.

“We used to have a program in New York City that kept the class size in those grades below 25. Next year they will be at 28,” United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew said. “The reason we had it at 25 was everyone understood the educational importance of allowing teachers to do more one on one work with a student.”

“There has been so much research in recent years showing that class size is one of the most important determinants of a kid’s success later in life, especially in kindergarten,” added Leonie Haimson of the group Class Size Matters.

Parents and teachers hope the City Council can negotiate a reprieve, but the mayor said Friday he doesn’t see any way to save all of the 6,000 spots.

1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks reports: Bloomberg Says The Decisions Were Forced On Him

The mayor said despite the cuts, mandated programs and pensions are sinking the city’s financial ship.

“Next year we will pay 8.3 billion for pension costs.  Up from 1.2 billion in 2002. That is a seven billion dollar increase in ten years,” he said.

The mayor admitted in his speech that he expected criticism. The teachers’ union promptly complied.

“Same smoke, same mirrors, same attempt to blame others for his decision to lay off thousands of teachers, despite increased state aid, hundreds of millions in new revenues and a surplus that has grown to more than $3.2 billion,” Mulgrew said in a statement.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Finance Chair Domenic Recchia Jr. said in a statement that they have “grave concerns” about teacher layoffs and would recommend alternative cuts to those proposed by the mayor. Bloomberg and the council must agree on a balanced budget by June.

Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer also worries about the future.

“I think we may be going back to a day, back in the 1970s when we didn’t have a sense that this government was working for the people in the city,” Stringer said.

He dismisses the mayor’s spending plan as a “political document.”

The 2012 budget also calls for a 10 percent reduction in the city’s 10-year capital construction projects.

What do you think of the budget? Sound off below…

Marcia Kramer

Comments (25)
  1. miracle says:

    The Mayor’s comment about having a firehouse on every corner might have you think that New York City already has more firehouses (per 1000 citizens) than any other city in America. We are ranked 40th out of the 40 cities in the survey. Bloomberg has already cut 6 fire companies (2003) and seems intent to ruin the FDNY.
    The first responsibility of government is to provide for the physical safety of the people. In Bloomberg’s New York, the first role of government is to provide for the convenience of uber-rich Manhattanites, with the outer boro’s fending for themselves.
    Let us hope the City Council can show that, at least they understand the proper and necessary role of government.

  2. p says:

    goodsearch.com, charityusa.com., isearchigive.com, & fundraising-solutions.org ,

  3. M.A.D says:

    Get rid of unions and their pensions and all other nonsense that they get…they are bringing the city down. I would like an explanation of how is it that a janitor makes $70k a year and cops start at $25k??? How come janitors make more than teachers???

    1. ham07 says:


      If it weren’t for the unions, you would be owing your life savings to the company store and working minumim wage, and if you had kids they can look forward to replacing you once the company sucked your life out of you.

      BTW, cops are the worse offenders if you are complaing about pensions. They get 100k annual pensions at age 40 until the rest of their lives. Do your research before you open your mouth.

  4. PIKE BISHOP JR. says:


  5. JOHN A says:

    There should not be any teacher layoffs or any firehouses closed,or any reduction of our police force. What happened to the 3 billion dollar budget surplus that we have heard about?Did it blow away in a political hurricane? The mayor needs to be willing to work constructively with city unions-not destructively.

    1. Dale Auburn says:

      There never was an actual surplus by any measure – just a smaller deficit than expected.

      Real world example: If you expected to lose $5, but somehow managed to lose only $2, do you have a “surplus” of $3 or just a smaller loss? Some folks see that as a surplus because you could spend the $3 and still meet your original budget.



  7. Chris says:

    Mike is correct get rid of cry baby teachers cut social programs for illegals drastically but hire more cops and firemen let teachers work a full day and it will make up the difference one more thing Big pension reform

    1. Dale Auburn says:

      I agree with hiring more cops and firefighters, as long as the unions let them live WITHIN the City. (Right now, suburbanites get ABSOLUTE priority for those jobs.)

  8. joe for mayor and governor says:

    what about welfare people cuts and food coupons what about all your commmericals on tv about education a lie. what about you sayiny ill create 200000 jobs before your election a lie. what about your rich friends on wall street who drain the money corruption. what about you being an expert in finance and 10 years of you the city is always broke. this is supposed to be your expertise. what about you saying about the irish on st patricks dum. what about not raising taxes but always raising tickets on drivers everytime you are broke we pay enough gas prices so you stick it to drivers. what about city council taking A pay cut what about less police but soldiers from war being hired to patrol. police to take physical or lose weight. mike ,walk around like us without police and tell me ny is safe with robbers and muggers time for mew councils and government what about taxis for the handicapped for your new fleet of taxis. ray kelly should take the job with the fbi and leave mike as commisioner and then well see how he leads crime

  9. concernfor the children says:

    Is the mayor closing the fire house next to where he lives? God help us from this evil human being.

  10. Dale Auburn says:

    Let’s summarize the comments thus far…

    (1) We MUST cut spending across the board.

    (2) ALL cows are sacred, so nothing can be cut.

    This is no way to run a city.

    1. SickfBloomberg says:

      You are confused. Bloomberg is lying. Costs have NOT increased “dramatically”. What has happened is hat REVENUE has decreased due to the shenanigans on Wall Street. Bloomberg does not want to punish his friends on Wall Street so he manufactures a “crisis” so he can beat the money out of the middle class and poor. The “sacred cows” are the fat pigs of Wall Street and finance that he invites to his Bermuda lair so they can figure out more ways to drain money from the city.

  11. SickofBloomberg says:

    Both Richard Allen and Bloomberg are mental deficients. However, Bloomberg is also a domestic terrorist. He decides what is best for everyone and then uses threats to get his way. All this while he protects his rich cronies, any one of which steals more from NYC than all public pensions combined. The Midget Liar is at it again. Only in America and New York could a home grown thief and terrorist become mayor and treated like he has a real brain. At least Osama ws honest about who he was.

  12. Barry Levine says:

    I agree with Richard Allen, the third guy to respond.

    What about cutting some of the senior programs and raising their lunch fees. There are bus rides and ferry rides during the summer, all kinds of outings at taxpayer expense, and the city does not have enough money to keep the Libraries open.

    In the 1950’s the Libraries opened at eight AM and closed at ten PM. Today they open at two and close at six…..to hell with the kids let us give more to the “seniors”. That is the magic word today, “senior citizen”.

    Kids must pay almost nine percent for a hamburger and soda so that “the seniors” can live it up with half price everything……..

  13. Disgust says:

    Yea, cut 6,000 teachers but keep all the illegals. Real smart Mayor we have.

  14. Mike says:

    I’m with Richard Allen (First post).

  15. Richard Allen says:

    About Freakin time you damn city workers realize you cost too damn much money

    Tighten up your pensions NO early retirement NO early payouts you will get a check at 65..not a day before…..and only on your base salary NO overtime included

    Enough is enough….the facts are right in your face…

    Cut pensions or cut jobs!

    1. William Sinclair says:

      Perhaps you need instruction in critical thinking.

    2. almos told man says:

      i 100% agree with you but, after i retire in 2015.

    3. Jerry says:

      Well said, the muni salaries and pensions suck us dry while creating absolutely no revenue as well as providing nothing but a day care for grade pre k thru 12??
      It is a pay w/o production bloodsucking scam the teachers have been riding for over 30 years, enough is enough
      Thank you May Mike for having the wherewithall to follow through and finally do whats right for the hardworking taxpayer as well as the students!~

  16. nathan says:

    “I believe that children are the future…” Umm, no I guess not.

  17. DIANN says:


  18. SolutionsforNYCinc. says:

    Given that we now know, from reading the daily newspapers, that all experienced teachers are bad for the school systems, we can contact the McDonalds human resources department and grab the records of those not hired during their recent hiring blitz. We can offer them 25 cents an hour more and fully staff the schools.

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