Assemblyman Gabryszak (D,I-Cheektowaga) praised Governor David Patterson for signing public authorities Reform (A.40012) into law. This legislation will increase oversight and require public authorities to be more accountable. Currently there are over 700 public authorities operating in New York State which spend a remarkable amount of money every year with little discretion. Public Authorities are corporations created by the government to oversee public infrastructure, such as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which operate with remarkable autonomy.
“We must increase accountability of these authorities so that they actually benefit the public,” said Assemblyman Gabryszak.
“We have known for quite some time that Public Authorities are in need of reform. In 2005, after the conclusion of a two year investigation into waste and mismanagement of the state’s public authorities, the Public Authorities Accountability Act of 2005 was passed. However more reform is needed and this legislation delivers that.”
Specifically this new law will:
- strengthens the Authority Budget Office by adding additional powers and responsibilities;
- adds to and strengthening provisions governing public authorities’ boards of directors, encouraging accountability and reform;
- provides the comptroller the power to pre-approve public authority contracts over $1 million that are not competitively bid;
- strengthens rules and closing loopholes regarding the sale of property by public authorities below fair market value;
- creates strict new rules to control public authority debt;
- ensures that public authorities, including some subsidiaries, are subject to legislative and executive approval;
- requires that state authorities maintain a record of lobbying contacts made in an attempt to influence any rule, regulation or ratemaking procedure of such authority;
- provides whistle-blower protections for employees of public authorities;
- requires confirmation of the CEO/Executive Director of the Dormitory Authority, Thruway Authority, Power Authority, and Long Island Power Authority; and
- strengthens labor agreements for the development of hotels and convention centers in which a public authority has a proprietary interest.
“I believe that every New Yorker deserves to know where their tax dollars are going. This legislation will increase oversight so that the money of hard working people is not wasted,” Assemblyman Gabryszak said.