FROM: Concerned Resident of Yonkers, New York
TO: Letter to the Editor
RE: Financial Control Board at the City of Yonkers
Honorable Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo,
I hope this letter finds you in good spirit and health.
I am a resident of the City of Yonkers and I am contacting you to be the whistleblower of a financial disaster that is brewing in the City of Yonkers and to stress the immediate need for a Financial Control Board at the City of Yonkers. The City’s officials are driving our great City into bankruptcy. The City’s officials are stealing the future of our children and grandchildren away. The political games played by the City’s officials are eating us alive.
The City of Yonkers just went through a rough budget where hundreds of jobs and services were threatened to be cut. Injection of additional funds from NYS along with tax increases on the Yonkers taxpayers rescued the City from potential tragedy to hundreds of families.
Now with the start of the new tax year, the City’s officials continue to be grossly negligent managing the City’s finances. Below are highlights of the troubling financial situation to one of the four largest cities in the great State of New York:
- The four year financial plan of the City of Yonkers predicts a budget deficit for fiscal year 2020 of more than $37 million dollars. That’s after factoring in the tax increase passed in the most recent budget. The City of Yonkers is going through financial turbulence financing day to day operations.
- Insolvency concerns and liquidity issues forced the City’s officials to request the City Council to authorize issuance of debt at levels never seen before.
- In addition, the City’s administration will be authorizing additional debt to finance operations and projects.
- To add to financial trouble of the City, the S&P Global Ratings recently revised the financial outlook of the City of Yonkers to negative for the lack of control on spending and the exhaustion of all of the reserve.
- With all of these alarming red flags, the City’s officials continue to be reckless managing the City’s finances where hiring friends and families outside of the scope of the civil service rules continues to suck the blood out of our City.
- The Unions Leaders during the budget hearings highlighted the lack of financial experience and incompetency of the City’s Finance Commissioner and his Deputy as contributing factors, amongst many others, to the financial trouble our City is in. Yet, according to public records https://www.seethroughny.net/ , he was awarded with a salary of $180,001 and his Deputy a salary of $150,215. The City’s officials created a culture where incompetency is awarded for family, friends, and political donors.
- The level of salaries given to the City’s employees are beyond reasonable and don’t commensurate with education and experience. A simple comparison of the City’s employees’ salaries and those of the largest cities in the great State of New York will reveal this fact.
- While we appreciate the service of our police and firefighters, the levels of salaries given to the City’s police and firefighters are amongst the highest in the nation. As published by Lohud, the average salary of Yonkers police is $143,001 and $148,379 for firefighters. That far exceeds any reasonable measure of fair compensation.
- Yonkers officials sold off most, if not all, City owned properties to finance a reckless and irresponsible spending.
- City’s official’s disregard to the truth will push our City into a financial disaster. Contracts are given to family and friends. Some get no show jobs and others go on paid extended vacations with no reduction to time accrual.
- The Office of the New York State Comptroller issued City of Yonkers – Financial Operations Report (“Report”) where all of these issues were outlined. In the Report, the lack of control by the City’s officials and the improper accounting and use of funds and reliance on debt were repeated in various sections of the Report.
I would like to offer some ideas to deal with the dangerous financial conditions of our City:
G and foremost is having a Financial Control Board as soon as practically possible to save millions of dollar from being wasted.
- Review of all hiring by the City’s officials outside of the civil service rules and regulations.
- Immediate and enforced hiring freeze.
- Possible furloughs on all non-essential employees of the City of Yonkers to buildup reserves. – Cap overtime for all City’s employees at a certain percentage of salary base.
- Review any new labor contracts to ensure affordability under various economic scenarios.
- Cease all non-essential projects.
- Review the terms of all contracts granted by the City.
These are only few solutions that can mitigate the dangerous financial disaster of our City. I am sure your office will have more solutions to rescue us from this shameful fallout.
We hope your administration will come to rescue our City from its disinterested and incompetent officials and take control of our finances. This is especially important with the coming mayoral election in 2019. There will be a competition amongst the irresponsible and reckless City’s officials on who will waste more to get elected.
We look forward for a prosperous Yonkers under your supervision and guardianship of the Office of the New York State Comptroller.
Concerned Resident of Yonkers
Cc via mail:
New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli
NYS Financial Control Board
The Financial Restructuring Board for Local Governments Mr. Mark Lungariello, The Journal News/ Lohud
Cc via email:
Mr. Hezi Aris, Yonkers Tribune and Westchester on the Level