mayoral control

New York

Silver's bill clears its last hurdle before tomorrow's Assembly vote

ALBANY, NY — One branch of the state government is functioning today. Lawmakers in the Assembly pushed Silver's mayoral control bill through the ways and means committee this afternoon, readying the bill for a final vote tomorrow. The bill immediately passed with no discussion. At least three Assembly members voted against Silver's plan, including Mark Weprin and Jeff Aubry of Queens and Deborah Glick of Manhattan. Aubry said he was concerned that the bill did not place fixed terms on members of the citywide school board and that it gives the mayor a majority of the appointees to the Panel for Educational Policy. Both he and Glick are supporters of the "Better Schools Act." Tomorrow, the Assembly will vote on the bill, and even its most vocal critics agree that its passage is guaranteed. UPDATE 2 (from Elizabeth): Billy Easton of the Campaign for Better Schools points out that nothing is final, even if the Assembly bill passes. "Tomorrow is an Assembly vote on their initial proposal," he said. "That does not mean that that’s the final vote that they will take on this matter. We have to see what unfolds." Easton added that lobbyists for the campaign are meeting with members from both the Assembly and the Senate. Exactly how negotiations between the two houses will unfold, however, is almost impossible to figure out. Anna reports from Albany that she only persuaded one senator to talk to her about mayoral control today — and his response was to say, "It can’t stay the way it is," and walk away laughing.
New York

Silver introduces his mayoral control bill under the cover of night

After months of discussion, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver finally introduced a bill to extend mayoral control last night. The full text of the bill is below. The bill, which was discussed last Wednesday but was only printed last night, calls for minimal changes and has  already met with Mayor Bloomberg's approval. Amendments include having the schools chancellor become a non-voting, ex-officio member of citywide school board, mandating that two of the mayor's appointees be parents of children in the public school system, and authorizing the Panel for Educational Policy to approve no-bid contracts and any that exceed $1 million. While the bill proposes that the Independent Budget Office and Comptroller's office audit the DOE, it does not establish the department as a city agency, subject to all of the restrictions and oversight that other agencies are. According to the Times, assembly members expect to pass the bill by this Wednesday. (Explaining the importance of the discussions, the Times story cites our story from last week, reporting on the personal role U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is playing in the debate.) The bill's sponsors include Catherine Nolan, Herman Farrell, Jr., Darryl Towns, Vito Lopez, Audrey Pheffer, Michael Benedetto, Janele Hyer-Spencer, Jonathan Bing, Michael Benjamin, Ann Margaret Carrozza, Barbara Clark, Vivian Cook, Steven Cymbrowitz, Adriano Espaillat, Michael Giaranis, Micah Kellner, Rory Lancman, Margaret Markey, Nettie Mayersohn, Grace Meng, Felix Ortiz, Jose Peralta, Peter Rivera. The bill is after the jump.