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July 16, 2010

What's violating fiduciary duty for a public authority? "I don't care what the facts are; I'm going to do what the governor or mayor told me do"

Atlantic Yards Report

The road to reforming public authorities is a long one, but, with the expansion of the Authorities Budget Office (ABO) and the release of a report July 1, New York is moving down that road, right?

Yes, and no.

It's not merely that the ABO is understaffed, with a cohort so small it "borders on insanity," according to corporate governance expert Ira Millstein.

(Working pro bono, noted attorney Millstein with colleagues shaped the contours of the 2009 Public Authorities Reform Act, leading New York to what Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, the legislative sponsor, calls "a grand experiment" in reforming government.)

It's that even an expert like Millstein assumes that "you'll never have on the board everybody thinking uniformly." And, for some authorities--I'll point to the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) and its quasi-spawn, the Brooklyn Arena Local Development Corporation (BALDC)--that hasn't been true.

There's been little discussion and no dissent when it comes to Atlantic Yards; the board members ask the barest of questions, are glaringly uninformed, and uniformly vote as predicted.

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Posted by eric at July 16, 2010 10:46 AM