September 25, 2015; Politico New York
New York’s mayor, Bill de Blasio, is opposing a bill to require CEOs of nonprofits receiving funding from the city to fill out conflict of interest and financial disclosure forms, according to the Politico New York website. The proposal is being considered by the City Council.
The councilwoman who introduced the legislation, a Queens Democrat, said she came up with it as a result of the Queens Library scandal. The library’s former CEO and other executives were found to have spent hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars on dinners, alcohol, and other personal expenses, even though libraries across the borough were cutting hours and staff.
An audit by New York’s comptroller also found that the CEO was collecting outside income from other jobs while at the library. He is being investigated by federal prosecutors, the FBI, and the city’s Department of Investigation for alleged misuse of funds.
The legislation calls for “persons in leadership positions at charitable institutions” to submit a yearly disclosure statement, including their name, home address, principal occupation and business interests from which they or their spouse receives income equal to or greater than 10 percent of their gross income.
De Blasio’s spokesperson told Politico, “We do not believe this bill is the right approach to our shared goal of ensuring transparency for nonprofits.” The bill’s sponsor is willing to work with the mayor to revise it.
The form would replicate the conflict of interest documents which all government officials and policymakers fill out annually, requiring them to disclose financial details, from the size of personal debt, to their investments, to any dealings they might have with companies that do business with the city.—Larry Kaplan