Public Advocate Hopefuls Question Funding Gap
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Current, past and hopeful city Public Advocates spoke out Tuesday in support of the very office they hope to maintain.
Betsy Gotbaum joined with former public advocate Mark Green and candidates on both sides of the aisle outside City Hall to protest the 40 percent budget cut approved for the office for next year.
Gotbaum says it's common for a mayor's budget to cut funding for the Public Advocate's office, but the money is always restored by the Council Speaker.
"We should put as much pressure on the very, very powerful mayor and the Speaker to do something about this ridiculous situation instead of passing the buck to each other all the time. It's silly," said Gotbaum.
"You can't have the watchdog be afraid that their budget will be cut because of the work they've done. In other words, you can't have the people you're watching control your purse strings," said Public Advocate candidate Eric Gioia.
"It is cut and the mayor can act to restore the budget to its original amount and I think that in the future, the laws should be changed to make this budget an independent budget," said Public Advocate candidate Alex Zablocki.
Last year, the budget for the Public Advocate's office was $2.9 million dollars. The 2010 budget cuts it to $1.8 million.
City Council speaker Christine Quinn says she understands Gotbaum's concerns, but says the Council did its best to keep core services funded.
A spokesperson for Mayor Michael Bloomberg says every city agency had to reduce spending.