NEW YORK — Amid a city budget soaking in red ink, City Comptroller candidate David Weprin vows to save money by targeting the city's outside contracting budget.
Weprin — a state Assemblyman for Queens whose district includes Jamaica Hills, Richmond Hill, and parts of Briarwood — criticized the size of the city’s outside contracting budget ($17 billion), arguing it’s an unnecessary large chunk of the city’s overall $92 billion budget. He promised that he would cut out inefficiencies to save money if elected.
"Department of Education alone, outside contracting budget is about $8 billion. That’s a significant amount of money that could be used," the Democratic candidate said in a Tuesday night interview with Inside City Hall anchor Errol Louis. "There’s a lot of inefficiency in those outside contracts. A lot of that money could be used to hire more teachers and to provide direct services to our classrooms."
The comptroller oversees the city's five public pension funds and has the authority to audit city agencies.
Weprin, who ran for city comptroller in 2009 and lost, pointed to his long history in public office, along with his financial experience. He spent eight years as the chairman of the City Council’s Finance Committee, including after the economic fallout of 9/11 and during the 2008 financial crisis, and was the chairman of the New York district of the Securities Industry Association for three years. He has also served as deputy superintendent for the state’s banking commission.
Although the comptroller serves a crucial role in city government, it’s seen as a stepping stone for higher office. Six of the last seven city comptrollers, including current officeholder Scott Stringer, have run for mayor.
But Weprin told NY1 he has no plans to follow suit.
"I have no intention of running for any other office, higher office after comptroller. I certainly am qualified for comptroller. That is an office I know, I understand, I'm focused on. I am not planning on running for mayor or using it as a stepping stone," Weprin said.
The primary for comptroller, mayor, City Council offices, and other city races will be held in June, with the general election to follow in November. State Sen. Brian Benjamin, State Sen. Kevin Parker, and Brooklyn Councilman Brad Lander are among the other candidates in the Democratic primary. Democrat Zach Iscol is also running after dropping out of the race for mayor.
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Watch the full interview above.
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