New York Advocates to “Drill Down” on Where Federal Stimulus Money Goes

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cropped_workinggroup_presser_02_09-26A diverse coalition of two dozen advocates named the “NYS Stimulus Oversight Working Group” and led by Common Cause/New York have signed on to a set of common principles that would make the allocation of funds under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act fully transparent.

At a press conference this morning on the steps of City Hall in New York City, members of the Working Group and local Council Members agreed that it would take citizens, advocates and elected officials to create a truly transparent process.

Among the recommendations the working group is proposing in the principles is creating a website that has bi-monthly reports, copies of written agreements with contractors, impact on energy efficiency and the environment and details on job creation and wages.

Addressing the desire to learn more about projects in New York State that received stimulus funds, Susan Lerner the Executive Director of Common Cause/New York, said, “New York City must collect all of the information related to the stimulus spending including drilling down” to the subcontractor level.” Advocates on the national level have also expressed this concern.

Several Working Group members also attended: Citizens Union, Environmental Advocates of New York, Good Jobs New York, NYPIRG and the Urban Justice Center.

Also in attendance at today’s press conference were several Council Members: Eric Gioia Chair of the Oversight and Investigations Committee, who recently proposed a form of “Google government” for all city tax exemptions; Gale Brewer, Chair of the Technology in Government Committee; Daniel Garodnick, Chair of the Planning, Dispositions & Concessions Committee and Robert Jackson Chair of the Education Committee.

The transparency issue seems to be taking hold locally as Council Member Bill deBlasio and Council Member Brewer move forward to create a website called SunlightNYC.gov.

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