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  Public Employee Press

PEP May 2006
Table of Contents
  La Voz

Public Employee Press

Political Action 2006

Fighting for a fair city budget

DC 37 Leaders weigh in on the city budget. Health care is a priority for DC 37 members Ralph Palladino, Judith Arroyo and Peter Leon.

An initial round of budget hearings at City Hall began in March with testimony from several DC 37 leaders who urged City Council members to fund the public services New Yorkers desperately need.

Hospitals and health clinics, libraries, crossing guards and after school programs, safer neighborhoods and parks, and savings in real estate assessment can be had if City Council members restore service funding cut from 2006-07 fiscal budget. These services, which DC 37 members provide and use, help working families survive in the Concrete Jungle.

“Given the city’s $4 billion surplus, it is outrageous that the preliminary budget calls for $20 million in cuts to public libraries,” said New York Public Library Local 1930 President Lynn Taylor. “This is not acceptable.” With 200 positions lost to attrition, conditions at libraries are worsening, she said.

“Five thousand fewer Police Officers actually patrol our city streets,” said Local 1549 2nd Vice President Ralph Palladino. “Instead, they sit at desks doing work civilians can do.” He asked the City Council to follow up on the union’s landmark arbitration victory mandating civilianization by funding training for new clerical employees, “which would save taxpayers’ money and make streets safer.”

Local 1757 President David Moog requested the Council to fund 50 new Assessors and “bring Dept. of Finance staff to pre-9-11 levels.” He said understaffing is losing revenue for the city.

“We need more Parks Enforcement Patrol Officers to stop people who drink alcohol and smoke pot in public parks — no parent wants their children exposed to that,” said Local 983 President Mark Rosenthal. Last year the city hired 50 seasonal PEP Officers, who deal with crowd control, illegal parking and dumping, lost children and the homeless, but more officers are needed, 2nd VP Joseph Puleo testified.

“The city could save millions of dollars if they used in-house staff on engineering, architectural and other construction projects, and not consultants,” said Jon Forster, 1st vice president of Civil Service Technical Guild Local 375.

The City Council will hold additional hearings before the July 1 budget deadline arrives.

— Diane S. Williams



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