It has been around forever

Monday, March 21, 2011

BPs Discuss Budget Cuts Over Steak

Here is a piece by Dan Beekman at the Daily News about the 5 Borough Presidents getting together to chew the fat over steak and their anger over the proposed cuts to their budgets by Mayor Bloomberg. Bronx BP Ruben Diaz is quoted saying that the cuts "would force him to lay off up to a dozen staffers who work on issues such as housing, land use and education."


  1. There is no sane reason for any of the borough presidencies to exist, so there is no reason for their staffs to exist either. The borough presidents are basically ceremonial and they are not real chief executives. Every taxpayer dollar spent on them is a waste.

    Isn't it interesting that there are no borough presidents in other major U.S. cities ... A mayor and a city council are more than enough municipal government for any city.

  2. The Boro Prez positions should have been eliminated back when they got rid of the Board of Estimate!

  3. Most average New Yorkers have no idea who these people are. So if the Bronx BP lays off a dozen staffers, very few people in this town would care. In fact, very few New Yorkers would care or notice if all 5 borough presidents were laid off as well. Let's face it, important political figures they are not.

  4. The last time the five borough presidents actually mattered was on Aug. 27, 1990, when the 92-year-old New York City Board of Estimate, which had been declared unconstitutional, had its final meeting before being dissolved under the sweeping charter revisions enacted in 1989.

    Besides the borough presidents, the now-disbanded board included the City Council president, the comptroller and the mayor. It wielded enormous administrative power over planning, building and spending in the city. When the Board of Estimate was abolished, its considerable powers were divided among the City Council, the mayor and various new agencies and boards.

    The last powerful borough presidents were:

    Fernando Ferrer (Bronx)
    Howard Golden (Brooklyn)
    Ruth W. Messinger (Manhattan)
    Claire Shulman (Queens)
    Guy V. Molinari (Staten Island)

    Today, the borough presidents are glorified ribbon cutters who have little effect on policy. Their primary authority is limited to a greatly reduced budgetary role and to making appointments to some citywide commissions and panels and local community boards.

    Since they are vestigial, mostly ceremonial posts that are not even necessary, it is high time for the borough presidencies to be scaled back or, better yet, abolished outright.

  5. Don't forget that some of the powers of the borough presidents were already slipping away nearly three decades before the 1989 charter revision. In 1961, New York City voters approved a charter revision proposed by Mayor Robert F. Wagner to strip the borough presidents of their considerable control over such functions as street and sewer repairs.

  6. Last year, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz asked the NYC Charter Revision Commission to consider giving borough presidents a formula-based independent budget rather than the current process in which they have to beg the City Council for operating dollars.

    It appears that Mr. Markowitz's idea was totally ignored, despite the fact that his chief of staff, Carlo Scissura, was a member of the Charter Commission. But that should come as no big surprise since, as previous bloggers noted, borough presidents have zero political pull in this city!

  7. Isn't it the childhood dream of every New Yorker to grow up to become borough president? Just kidding!

  8. QUESTION: How many borough presidents does it take to screw the city?

    ANSWER: Five borough presidents, but that's a full royal screwing.

  9. Not for nothing, but the Bronx has the second least number of city council persons in the city, giving us little clout in the Council, unless we join forces as a sidekick to another borough. We also don't have the economic or political strength to get a Bronxite elected as Mayor, Comptroller, or Public Advocate (talk about another waste of dollars...), so having a centralized power structure has not benefitted the Bronx. So what else is there for Bronxites to be represented?!? The city uses the borough as a dumping ground for all its problems and could give a rat's ass about us. What has this mayor done to improve the situation for the working class folks, especially in the Bronx? Nada! The unemployment and drop out numbers are practically the same as they were in the 80's and 90's, and unemployment now is almost creeping up to those levels 20 years ago...

    I say that as long as we are in this situation, we are probably better off as a county with a BP than without, at least they can act as a thorn on the side of the Mayor's office.

    However, we really do need to change the distribution of power in this city and drop all of the wasteful offices/programs.

  10. What role does the borough presidents have in running NYC