The three private members of the New York State Financial Control Board for New York City issued a statement yesterday criticizing the city's recently proposed four-year financial plan.
Meanwhile, Mayor David N. Dinkins announced that he has created an advisory panel to address the city's budget problems.
The timing of the announcements by the board's private members and Dinkins was not coincidental. Both sides agreed earlier in the week to release details of their proposals on the same day, said city sources.
The three private members of the control board have in recent weeks met in private with Dinkins and his finance staff, expressing their opinions about the mayor's four-year financial plan, and what they say is the uncertainty of many of his provisions to close a $2.1 billion budget gap in fiscal 1994.
The statement, prepared by board members Heather L. Ruth, Robert R. Kiley, and Stanley S. Shuman, called on the city to take immediate actions to achieve structural budget balance by "identifying priorities, initiating changes."
"Even if the city achieved all its proposals for balancing FY 1994, the inadequacy and unacceptability of its approach is unambiguous - gaps will persist and expand to $1.6 billion in FY 1995, $2.2 billion in FY 1996, and $2.6 billion in FY 1997," the statement says.
Ruth is president of the Public Securities Association, a trade group representing securities firms; Kiley, former chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, is president and chief executive officer of Fishbach Corp., a construction company; and Shuman is executive vice president and managing director of Allen & Co., an investment banking firm.
Dinkins released a letter to the press explaining the creation of the advisory panel and its objectives.
The panel is comprised of Dall Forsythe, a professor at the Kennedy School of Intergovernmental Studies at Harvard University and former New York State, budget director; Bill Gray, a former U.S. Congressman, now president and chief executive officer of the United Negro College Fund; and Donald Kummerfeld, a former city official, now president of the Magazine Publishers Association.
A spokeswoman for the mayor said that the panel will help members of the Dinkins administration implement plans to restore structural balance to the city's budget.
She said the mayor's announcement was not tied to the timing of the control board's statement. "There is nothing new about what they are saying," said spokeswoman Ana Marengo.
In a statement, New York State Comptroller H. Carl McCall said he, is "pleased that Mayor Dinkins has recognized the importance of moving New York City toward structural balance by matching recurring revenues to recurring expenditures over the long term."
But some observers of the city's fiscal practices said appointing a panel to determine how the city should balance its budget is also nothing new, and that the city is avoiding cutting the size of its work force and implementing productivity measures in an election year.
"I don't think the city's problems come from a lack of ideas," said Dean Mead, a senior research associate with the Citizens Budget Commission. "The problem is a lack of will."