Thursday, March 08, 2007

DiNapoli’s Review Commission

Liz Benjamin Capitol Confidential

Tommy D is in charge....make no mistake about that......and his advisory committee is a great idea...Tom has even reached out to his old Nemesis Tom Suozzi for help as well.............andy

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s new management review commission, headed by former NYC Mayor Ed Koch and finance/government expert Frank Zarb, also includes the following members:

Nancy Cantor, chancellor, Syracuse University
George Faeth, attorney.
Alan Fishman, president, Independence Community Bank and Foundation.
Denis Hughes, president, New York State AFL-CIO.
Hugh Johnson, chairman, Johnson Illington Advisors.
Serafin U. Mariel, founder, New York National Bank.
Carol O’Cleireacain, economics and management consultant.
Sandra Shapard, former First Deputy Director, NYS Division of the Budget.
Tom Suozzi, Nassau County Executive.
William Thompson, New York City Comptroller.

DiNapoli said he has asked the commission, which will hold its first meeting within two weeks, to focus on five key areas: Organizational structure, personnel and recruitment, internal controls, audit programs and policy development.
The purpose of the commission is to act as a “sounding board” and serve in lieu of a transition team, which, given the circumstances surrounding his takeover of OSC, DiNapoli didn’t have luxury of creating.
“We can’t have a transition, we’re here, the office has been vacant, it’s been a bruised office given the circumstances, we have to hit the ground running, and that’s what we’ve done,” DiNapoli said. “What we’re really looking for is advisory input…they’re not going to be doing an audit.”
“…this is not a group to make policy decisions, that’s my job. This is a group to advise me and guide me.”
DiNapoli said he also wants to send a message that OSC is committed to a ”new sense of openness,” adding that he recognizes he will be subject to more scrutiny than his predecessors in the wake of Chauffeurgate.
Asked whether he had reached out to former state Comptroller Alan Hevesi, DiNapoli replied: “I have not.”
DiNapoli said he met with former SEC Chairman Arthur Levitt Jr., whose father served as state comptroller from 1955 to 1979, and wanted him to head up a committee to review the Common Retirement Fund.
But, according to the comptroller, Levitt this morning called DiNapoli and cited concerns that his personal business dealings (he has served as an advisor to AIG and Kroll Inc.) would pose a conflict of interest, so he declined.
DiNapoli, who yesterday
slammed Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s budget for spending too much, refused to take sides in the fight between the governor, the Legislature and healthcare officials over Medicaid funding.
“That’s a policy decision that the Legislature and the governor have to come to terms with, that’s their job,” DiNapoli said. “Our job…is to comment on the budget numbers.”
Asked by the Daily News’ Joe Mahoney whether he had experienced an “awakening” about the dangers of over-spending after moving to OSC from the Assembly, DiNapoli replied that he’s now “calling the shots as I see them.”
“Two hundred and twelve people trying to come up with consensus is a very different role than when you’re one person trying to make decisions,” he added. “I want to be measured by those actions that I take as comptroller.”

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