Eliot Spitzer is attempting a political comeback with a run for New York City comptroller. So what exactly does the New York City comptroller do?
It’s not nearly as glamorous as Spitzer’s previous job — Governor of New York — and Spitzer is gunning for what would amount to a huge demotion in the early stages of his comeback attempt. The position is being vacated by John Liu, who is running for mayor.
The city comptroller is like the chief financial officer of the city — or the city’s top accountant. It also serves as a watchdog position for the city’s mayor — which would make for an interesting dynamic between Spitzer and Anthony Weiner, if both were to be elected.
That’s the primary responsibility of the city comptroller — to advise the mayor, City Council, and public of the city’s financial well being through steps such as budget analyses and audits of city agencies. The comptroller also makes recommendations on some city programs regarding proposed contracts, as well as on operations, fiscal policies, and financial transactions.
Some other responsibilities of the comptroller:
- The comptroller serves as the managing trustee of the five New York City Pension Funds for public employees, which are currently worth approximately $135 billion.
- organise, analyse and provide advice on the city’s budget, which was announced as a projected $70 billion for fiscal year 2014.
- Manage a staff of about 700, which includes accountants, attorneys, computer analysts, economists, engineers, budget, financial and investment analysts, claim specialists and researchers.
Spitzer has already hinted that he plans to go beyond the traditional responsibilities of the comptroller job, in much of the same way he gave new life to the New York State Attorney General position in the early 2000s, when he was dubbed “Sheriff of Wall Street” aggressive prosecution of financial criminals.
“This is going to be an office — if I’m lucky enough to win — where we can do so much in terms of shareholder power, in terms of corporate governance, in terms of protecting pensions, in terms of making sure the city’s money is invested well, spent well,” Spitzer told CBS “This Morning” on Monday.
“I want to do to that office what I did to the Attorney General’s office — re-envision it and reimagine it.”
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