Mayor Michael Bloomberg went to Albany Tuesday to give his take on Governor Andrew Cuomo's executive budget plan, and while he praised the governor's proposed pension reform, he was less happy to discuss negotiations with the teachers union. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.
While he hasn't always agreed publicly or privately with Governor Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Tuesday offered mostly praise for Cuomo's $132.5 billion budget.
He was particularly supportive of the governor's plan to introduce a new Tier VI pension system for new hires.
"Unless we enact sensible reforms now, our pension costs will keep growing and keep diminishing our ability to pay for schools, libraries, parks and other essential services, or to limit an increase in taxes," said Bloomberg.
According to the mayor, the city's pension costs were $1.5 billion when he first took office and are now roughly $8 billion annually, or 12 percent of the city's budget.
While the governor's plan would not produce any immediate savings, it would eventually save the city $30 billion over 30 years.
The mayor also waded back into the controversy over teacher evaluations.
"Constant evaluation is good for everyone. It tells you what you are doing wrong so you can fix it, so you can make yourself more effective, make yourself more valuable, and trying to hide behind ‘it’s not fair to evaluate people’ is just ridiculous," said Bloomberg.
The mayor's own Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott testified in Albany Monday that there is at least one major point of disagreement between the city and the United Federation of Teachers over the appeals process for bad evaluations, but when asked about the two sides still being far apart, the mayor offered a less than forthcoming response.
"I don't know that. How do you know that?” said Bloomberg. “Any negotiations we'd have with the UFT, we certainly would not talk about. I just don't know why you assume things all the time.”
When asked about a television advertisement the union began running Tuesday, attacking the mayor's record on education, Bloomberg said he hadn't seen it.
UFT president Michael Mulgrew said the two sides were not meeting. However, he did express optimism that negotiations would resume.