The Hezitorial Over Yonkers FY2018-2019 Fiscal Debacle
YONKERS, NY — April 18, 2018 — The Yonkers City Council was requested to engage in a special meeting tonight to discuss and take action on a resolution requesting a comprehensive review by the New York State Financial Restructuring Board (hereinafter referred to as the “Board”) for Local Governments. Advocating for the Yonkers City Council accepting the review and subsequent infusion of as much as $5 million by the “Board” for the benefit of the City of Yonkers (CoY) in the form of a grant, rather than as a loan, revealed the seriousness of the fiscal crisis that impacts CoY. The threat of increased taxes, fees, layoffs, among other fiscal constraints that will be endured on the back of the taxpayer, incorporated the prospect of the $5 million in Mayor Mike Spano’s Proposed FY2018-2019 Budget even before the Yonkers City Council had been given an opportunity to vote on whether they would in the majority agree to engage the “Board” review.
Yonkers Finance Commissioner John Liszewski, Yonkers Corporation Counsel Michael V. Curti, Esq., were in the hot seat. The Yonkers Deputy Finance Commissioner was also in attendance but no questions were directed to her.
It became obvious from the onset that Commissioner Liszewski’s language tended to couch his language with nebulous terms that did not define the protocol that CoY’s application to the “Board” would undergo. When Yonkers City Council President Khader asked what role the Yonkers City Council would play in the process, Liszewski advised he was uncertain but would do his best to keep the Council appraised of the paperwork filed by him at the request of the Office of Mayor Mike Spano.
Interestingly Liszewski took offense to Khader’s suggestion that it was Liszewski who constructed and defined the fiscal allocations in the proposed budget he oversaw presently and those that “got us here”! Liszewski made it sound as if he was the low man on the totem pole, advising that he was not the Executive Officer in Yonkers, that is, he is not Mayor Mike Spano, and besides that, he suggested and admonished the City Council for approving the budgets presented to them in the past if there were issues prior to their approval of all those proposed budgets.
At issue is where was Nick DeSantis, of the Auditing / CPA firm PKF O’Conner Davies who have for many years been tasked to oversee and scrutinize the proposed budgets for the City of Yonkers and the Yonkers Board of Education (YBoE).
Liszewski also took offense that for year after year he, among other elected officials lobbied on behalf of CoY and the YBoE for more funding, especially in light of the increased taxes paid to Albany from increased revenues received by Yonkers only to suffer not gaining any increase in Aid to Municipalities, known as (AIM). What Liszewski’s personal frustration has to do with a review by the New York State Financial Restructuring Board escapes my comprehension other than to recognize that Liszewski is a failed “drama queen!”
Mayor Mike Spano’s lobbying efforts on behalf of CoY and the YBoE, as well as those by Yonkers Public School Superintendent Edwin Quezada, Senate Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, and Assemblymember Shelley Mayer, have each had their moments to make a difference but have each failed miserably on behalf of the constituents they have sworn to serve, instead they continue to serve themselves and everyone but they are failed and inept. Dare it even be noted that they are unackowledged by their peers, and not trusted among colleagues in the bicameral New York State Legislature.
The fact that New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli is suffering heat from not being more stern with CoY’s leadership is ludicrous. DiNapoli can do little more than advise. Rather than listening to the various suggestions the Office of the NYS Comptroller afforded CoY, Yonkers City Hall was been instead dismissive of the time permitted them correction and remedy of past failings. Instead, CoY was arrogantly dismissive of his magnanimity.
While Liszewski can engage in deflective banter and commensurate drama with the Yonkers City Councilmembership, he cannot dupe Yonkersites into believing has has been forthright in his conduct vis-a-vis the taxpayers, nor can Mayor Mike Spano, nor can Nick DeSantis, nor so many others that had a hand in hiding accounts from Yonkers taxpayers, it’s Council that was flush with money for uses not always authorized, and even hidden, but now uncovered by the Office of Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.
The takeaway is quite obvious, those named herein, specifically Mayor Mike Spano, and those that speak in his name, Finance Commissioner John Liszewski, Corporation Counsel Michael Curti, Esq., Yonkers Public Schools Superintendent Edwin Quezada, Senate Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, and Assemblymember Shelley Mayer best be brought before a jury of their peers and locked up for not performing their fiduciary responsibility as required of them by law in serving the constituents they have each sworn to serve.
P.S. Yonkers Finance Commissioner John Liszewski is out of compliance in delivering the quarterly report that was due by the last day of March 2018. Majority Leader Michael Sabatino is the Budget Chair; he has also permitted Liszewski lack of compliance to the Yonkers City Charter. Each is out of compliance with the Yonkers City Charter and must be dismissed for failing to serve the public interest. The Yonkers taxpayer can no longer tolerate the very abuses allowed to fester and multiple by their very silence.