Johnson Comptroller Plan Seeks Stronger Housing, Education & Homeless Agency Audits

Comptroller candidate and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson today released his Blueprint for Recovery plan. Photo Credit: Diana Mena

Speaker Corey Johnson, who’s battling to be the next City Comptroller, released his blueprint today, Monday, April 19, calling for closer audits of three city agencies in the de Blasio Administration that have been considerably less than steller.

Johnson’s plan includes aggressive, more frequent, and impactful oversight and audits for key agencies, like the Department of Education (DOE), NYPD, Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), and Department of Homeless Services (DHS), as well as a special audit to identify areas to reform the city’s affordable housing programs. 

The plan aims to conduct audits of these agencies’ finances and issues, like document retention and equipment policies, annually at a minimum. 

The DOE has been rudderless during the COVID pandemic with its mixed messages of openings and closings. HPD was behind the city’s attempts to take dozens of Black-and Brown-owned properties and giving them to favored non-profit developers and the DHS continues to run amid growing numbers of homeless on city streets.

“Growing up, my mom taught me a simple motto that guides me to this day: do the most good for the people who need it most. As New York City’s next Comptroller, that’s exactly how I intend to govern,” said Johnson.

“Since I became Speaker, we’ve used transformative public policy ideas to take on the big issues and fight the big fights. I’m going to bring that same approach to the Comptroller’s office: energy and passion, knowledge and experience, all in the service of getting results for New Yorkers,” he added.

Johnson’s plan also opposes to straight-out ‘Defund The Police’ move, but does propose weeding back the NYPD budget by conducting a risk assessment of behavior in the NYPD to recommend changes that would reduce costs and possibly misconduct in the long run.

The NYPD costs taxpayers upwards of $200 million each year from settlements of more than 6,000 claims of misconduct, said Johnson, and the comptroller has the authority to settle these cases. Johnson said that he would also work to identify patterns and trends that will lead to informed conversations on reforming policing, reducing tension and violence between police and civilians, and just as importantly, saving the city money. 

Johnson said he would use auditing authority to closely review the city’s emergency procurement and loans disbursed by the Department of Small Business Services (SBS) to ensure small businesses actually have access to recovery funds.

Johnson’s plan also proposes launching a public, online COVID-19 relief dashboard so people can track city spending of federal aid, prioritizing racial and gender equity, stewardship of the city’s pension system, and support for affordable housing, good jobs, small business and green infrastructure.

He also commits to protecting public pensions, enforcing prevailing and living wage laws, and creating a portable benefits fund for freelance and gig workers.