NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Ten Democratic candidates for New York City comptroller are on the ballot, looking to fill a position that will play a key role in the city’s recovery from the pandemic.
The comptroller’s race is arguably one of the most-watched races in New York City because the candidate who wins is responsible for how billions of dollars are used for things like education, housing and wages.READ MORE: First Lady Jill Biden Joins New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy At Campaign Rally; Republican Challenger Jack Cittarelli To Be Joined By GOP National Chair
As CBS2’s Cory James reports, some are career politicians, others money experts and one is a former cable news journalist. All of them, though, are fighting to nab the chief financial officer role for the Big Apple.
Results late Tuesday night showed City Council member Brad Lander in the lead.
The comptroller is tasked with overseeing city spending and monitoring its over 30 agencies. To do that, they lead a staff of about 800 employees, a number of them holding jobs as accountants, attorneys, and financial and investment analysts.
However, the comptroller sets the framework for how the city can spend its money, conducting audits and reports to make sure the rules are followed.READ MORE: NYC Mayoral Candidates Offer Differing Visions For Tackling City's Graffiti Problem
They also work with the mayor’s office to issue and sell bonds used to pay for roads, bridges and transit improvements.
In addition, the person in this CFO position keeps an eye on the five public pension funds for people like educators, city employees, and first responders — right now, those assets totaling more than $253 billion.
“I think the most important thing about the comptroller’s office is the management of the pension funds because if those don’t return well on the investments, we have to go to the general fund to pay our retirees and that will hurt our general fund budget,” Midtown resident Paul Devlin said.
“I think there are some really hot topics right now that involve the budgeting for the police department. I think that we’re still dealing with a lot of inequities as far as access to health care. I think that … we’ve got to narrow the gap here in New York City,” Hell’s Kitchen resident Gail Ingram said.
But perhaps the biggest high-stake assignment for the comptroller is helping New Yorkers recover from the pandemic.
The New York Times reports he or she “will have a role in making sure at least $14 billion in expected federal stimulus assistance over the next few fiscal years is properly spent, while auditing a $99 billion budget that faces significant gaps in the coming years.”MORE NEWS: Democrat Kaminsky, Republican Donnelly Locked In Fierce Battle In Open Nassau County District Attorney Race
There was no Republican primary because there is only one person running. The last time a Republican held that position was about 80 years ago.