New York City is holding elections on June 22, and while there are many eyes on the mayoral race. There are other races to look towards that are just as important for its citizens.
What is a Comptroller?
Comptroller’s prepare audits and oversee the spending of government agencies. The current comptroller, Scott Stringer is running for Mayor and often touts his experience as comptroller as a reason to vote for him.
Similar to the NYC Mayoral election, it’s safe to assume that whoever wins the Democratic primary on June 22 will go on to be elected. There has not been a Republican Comptroller in NYC since 1938.
The New York City Comptroller is responsible for overseeing the City’s $253 billion public pension fund, providing oversight of the City’s budget and fiscal condition, as well as reviewing City contracts for integrity and fiscal compliance.
The office of the comptroller is in charge of more than 800 employees who are primarily financial experts and analysts.
New York’s next Comptroller faces the difficult financial climate of a post COVID-19 world.
Who is running?
Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, the former Republican who challenged AOC in 2020 for her Congressional Seat, is taking a stab at the Comptroller seat. Her campaign site does not say much about her plans as comptroller, coincidently the information about the City’s budget on her site is also incorrect. The former CNBC reporter’s site reads that the “pension funds contain $223 billion dollars” whereas the Comptroller’s site lists the pension as “$253 billion dollars as of 2021.”
NY State Senator Brian Benjamin is running on a platform of police oversight, protecting retiree pensions, and targeting investment in public housing. Brian Benjamin has the endorsement of many local politicians, as well as former NYC Comptroller Carl McCall.
Recent polls suggest that Speaker of the New York City Council, Corey Johnson is a slight favorite for the Comptroller race. Johnson touts his budgetary accomplishments at the City Council level along with the creation of the NYC Oversight & Investigations division as reasons to trust him as Comptroller. Johnson is also endorsed by Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr, who was instrumental in the creation of the Universal Hip-Hop Museum.
Out of a field of more than 12 candidates, the previously mentioned three and City Councilmember Brad Lander are the only candidates polling above 7%. Lander has been endorsed by Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, Jamaal Bowman, Elizabeth Warren and a multitude of unions. Lander has the most campaign information about his plans as comptroller, which includes everything from infrastructure investments to federal budgetary oversight.
It may seem like a lot of work, but it’s important to learn who your favorite candidate or candidates are. The New York City Comptroller will be decided by a ranked choice voting system. Educating yourself on which candidate is best for NYC is extremely important, recent polls suggest that 47% of voters have not decided their pick for comptroller.
Ranked choice voting means that rather than selecting one candidate that you’d prefer to be the comptroller, voters will rank the candidates based on who they’d most prefer to be the comptroller. Meaning that if there is more than one candidate who you think would do a good job, you can still support them by voting for them as your second, third, fourth, or fifth option.
This system provides a more accurate representation of what voters want out of a candidate.