If one Googles the term “Soviet Style bureaucracies,” Assemblyman Richard Brodsky owns the top four results, each with quotes of his that refer to New York’s public authorities–his favorite term on the topic.
The Westchester Democrat has long been pushing a bill to reform such public quasi-agencies–including the M.T.A., the Empire State Development Corporation and the New York Power Authority–and now it seems that reform could come within days.
On Thursday afternoon, the governor called for a special session to tackle the budget and, among other issues, public authorities reform. A bill that passed the legislature this summer, sponsored by Mr. Brodsky and State Senator Bill Perkins, has been left unsigned as the governor’s office had a long list of significant concerns.
Now, Mr. Brodsky thinks he’s within striking distance.
“I am hopeful–I’m more than optimistic,” he said. “There were probably 20 issues, and we are extremely close to resolving every one of them.”
Some of the pushback comes from the Bloomberg administration, which has worked with the state-run ESDC to undertake major development projects, and has relied heavily on use of authorities that it controls in order to carry out economic development projects. Authorities generally streamline many of the thick bureaucracy in New York State and city government, mostly allowing for far faster and more efficient approvals and management of projects. Unlike standard agencies, the employees are often non-union; they can pay higher wages; they don’t have to have every contract reviewed by another branch of government; and they can easily award no-bid contracts.