The City of New York has quietly squirreled away over $600 million dollars in “unliquidated expenditures” also known as a labor reserve fund for fiscal year 2005 to cover unanticipated labor costs and has concealed its existence from a state arbitrator the PBA charged today while calling for more transparency in the city’s budget operation.
The information about the funds existence came to light as the result of a freedom of information request to the Comptroller’s office after the city failed to disclose the accounts existence during the discovery process in preparation for PBA’s arbitration case. The union believes that the funds existence goes directly to the argument of the city’s ability to pay which is one of the criteria for consideration under the Taylor Law.
PBA president Patrick J. Lynch said: “This union sought information in good faith from the City of New York regarding its labor reserve funds in order to use it as evidence of the city’s ability to pay in our arbitration case. When the city refused to produce the information saying that it didn’t exist, the PBA sought out the information using freedom of information requests and received, after the arbitration hearings concluded, confirmation of a labor reserve fund in excess of $600 million for fiscal year 2005. It is our belief that the city intentionally withheld the information of the labor reserve’s existence from the PERB panel in order to paint the most bleak fiscal picture possible to the panel despite their record-breaking multi-billion dollar surpluses. The city’s budget needs to be more transparent.“
The fate of the 2004/06 contract for police officers is currently being deliberated by the state’s Public Employment Relations Board (PERB.)