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Race Overview: Comptroller

Also appearing on the General Election ballot:

John W. Studer (Socialist Worker)

Richard Bozulich (War Veterans)

 

Click to read our Comptroller Candidate Comparison (pdf)

 

Includes John Burnett and Scott Stringer

 

 

2013 NYC Comptroller Candidate Archive

includes profiles of candidates eliminated via the Democratic primary (Spitzer)

 

Post-Primary Update

 

Scott Stringer has won the Democratic nomination, with 52% to Eliot Spitzer’s 48%, and will face Republican Jon Burnett, among others, in the general

 

 

Race Overview

 

The comptroller is the chief financial officer of New York, and is responsible for managing the city’s five major pension funds (about $135 billion) and offering recommendations on the city budget.The comptroller reports to the mayor and city council on the city’s financial condition, tracks city contracts, audits city agencies, issues and sells city bonds, and manages a staff of 700 employees. Current comptroller John Liu is competing for the Democratic nomination for city mayor, and is not seeking reelection as comptroller. There are currently two Democratic candidates, one Republican candidate, and three third-party candidates.

 

The Democratic primary is shaping up to be an exciting and controversial race. Until July it seemed that Manhattan Borough President, Scott Stringer, would run unopposed, virtually ensuring his victory and election as comptroller. Stringer says he will reduce the fees paid by the city to investment managers by teaming up with other pension funds across the country to increase the city’s bargaining power. Stringer has raised millions, and victory seemed inevitable until the surprise entry of former Governor Eliot Spitzer into the race. Spitzer resigned five years ago after revelations that he had procured services from a prostitution ring. The former “sheriff of Wall Street” has positioned himself as an opponent of the establishment, and he looks to increase shareholder activism for pension funds. Spitzer also wants to expand the role of the comptroller by conducting inquiries into the effectiveness of government programs in non-financial areas, like high school graduation rates. Stringer has criticized the former governor for opting out of public financing and using his own fortune to finance the campaign. Stringer has also criticized Spitzer’s record as governor, calling his administration a failure. In early polling, Spitzer leads Stringer by almost ten points. Considering the high level of support Democrats enjoy in New York, it is likely that the winner of this primary battle will be the city’s next comptroller.

 

On the Republican side is candidate John Burnett, a Cornell MBA with experience working on Wall Street. He has served as a Vice President and Director at Merrill Lynch, and as a Margin Analyst at Morgan Stanley. Burnett proposes merging the city’s five public worker pension funds into one unified fund to cut administrative costs. To tackle unemployment, Burnett wants to award more city contracts to businesses owned by minorities and women while spurring job growth throughout the city.

 

Third party candidates include Green Party candidate Julie Willebrand, a former educator, and libertarians Hesham El Meligy and Kristin Davis. El Meligy is an inter-faith activist and admissions officer, while Davis has worked for a hedge fund and as a “Madame” of a prostitution ring. Davis alleges that she arranged prostitutes for Eliot Spitzer, but this claim has not been substantiated.

 

WHAT IS A COMPTROLLER, ANYWAY? The Comptroller is the CFO – the Chief Financial Officer – of the city; the officeholder who keeps close tabs on the city’s budget, spending, and debt; independently advises the Mayor, the City Council, and the public on the city’s finances; manages assets of the five New York City Pension Funds; audits city agencies; registers proposed contracts; and more. The Comptroller’s office includes a vast bureaucracy of over 700 professional staff members, including accountants, attorneys, computer analysts, economists, and engineers, as well as budget, financial and investment analysts.

 

The current NYC Comptroller is John C. Liu, who is a candidate for Mayor.

 

The official site of the NYC Comptroller

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