The election cycle never ends, the day after election day the next campaign begins.
The battle for the 2013 mayoralty is in full bloom. John Liu can use the Office of the Comptroller to rap the mayor’s knuckles from time to time. Public Advocate Bill Di Blasio is in full time campaign mode, slashing at the mayor’s ankles. Anthony Weiner is preoccupied with his Twitter account.
The only “player” in the budget battle is Chris Quinn, the Speaker of the City Council and ultimately the one person who will actually negotiate the budget with the mayor.
At the UFT Spring Conference Quinn was a surprise guest and strongly supported, but realistically, the goal of avoiding teacher layoffs.
On Wednesday, as Chancellor Dennis Walcott sat down to begin his testimony Quinn and budget chair Councilman Dominic Recchia listed $75 million in DoE budget cuts that would not impact schools – about 20% of the funds needed to avoid layoffs. The cuts chosen: communications office, superintendents, office of parent advocacy, all unpopular with the Council.
Over the next few weeks Quinn and Bloomberg will trade chips and attempt to craft a win-win option. How can a budget be molded that will allow Quinn and Bloomberg and Mulgrew to stand on the same stage, save face, and claim credit?
If Quinn can pull it off, avoid layoffs, she would vault to the top of the mayoral candidate heap.
Quinn has spent the two and a half Bloomberg terms traversing a tightrope, satisfying a mayor and her fifty council members. Her “stick” is the millions of dollars (bout $150 million last year) in member items, distributed by each member of the council to community organizations in their district.
Quinn distributes the member item dollars as she sees fit, there is no formula. It is rare for council members to step over the line.
Budget are political documents.
The mayor chose to announce a reduction of 6,000 teachers that includes laying off 4100 teachers. He could have chosen firemen or police officers, or simply dip into reserves. He chose teachers in an attempt to create a crisis and use the crisis to change teacher layoff rules – the last layoffs in NYC occurred in 1976.
The union outmaneuvered the mayor and the layoff seniority rules look like they will remain in place.
Budgets are political documents.
More than the required 26 councilman currently do not support the mayor’s layoff budget, and, with a wink and a nod from Quinn, can prevent a budget from being passed.
It is more likely that Chris Quinn will become the architect of settlement which her members will, with a few exceptions, ratify.
However, the best laid plans ….
A stumble here and there could derail any plans.
Did they teach this when you were in school?