Friday, June 19, 2009

Gotbaum Accuses Quinn Of 'Political Payback'

Daily Politics
June 19, 2009

An angry Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum lashed out today at Council Speaker Christine Quinn, blaming the speaker for failing to restore a 40 percent cut to the PA's $2.8 million budget and charging it was “political payback” for her opposition of extending term limits.

Gotbaum, who presides over City Council sessions and acts as a parliamentarian, is so furious she says she will boycott sessions for the remainder of her term, which ends Dec.31, the DN's Frank Lombardi reports.

Reading from a prepared text, Gotbaum said:

"I believe this is a political payback from Speaker Quinn for my spirited opposition to extending term limits without a referendum. It is anti-democratic, bad government and politics at its worst.”

She said her watchdog office “is being starved out of existence” by the speaker, adding: “This cut by the speaker is an attempt to turn the watchdog into a lapdog.”

Gotbaum, a longtime friend of Quinn, blamed the speaker for failing to push for the traditional budget restorations her office has received annually as part of the so-called "budget dance" between the Council and the mayor's office.

She said she spoke to Mayor Bloomberg, who initially imposed the cut, about the speaker’s refusal to restore her budget and was told he would “look into it.”

Obviously, he didn’t, she told reporters at a press conference on the City Hall steps.

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