2009-09-04 / Top Stories

Comptroller Candidates Make Case For Rockaway Vote

By Miriam Rosenberg

John Liu believes his professional training "will allow me to hit the ground running as comptroller." John Liu believes his professional training "will allow me to hit the ground running as comptroller." Candidates for city comptroller made their case for election as the Democratic nominee during a meeting of the Good Democratic Government Club last week.

David Weprin and John Liu, both currently members of the City Council, each touted their financial experience as a reason to be chosen as the Democratic nominee in the September 15 primary.

"I am the only candidate with public finance experience and private finance experience," said Weprin.

Weprin served in Governor Mario Cuomo's administration as a deputy superintendent of banking, he spent 20 years in investment financing underwriting bonds for public housing, health care institutions and institutions of higher education and became chair of the City Council finance committee after his election in 2001.

Weprin also wants to make the office of comptroller relevant to the people by opening offices in each of the five boroughs to help people deal with financial literacy, banking, predatory lending and mortgage foreclosure issues as well as traditional comptroller issues such as pensions and contracts.

David Weprin wants to make the office of comptroller more relevant to the lives of ordinary citizens by opening offices in all five boroughs. David Weprin wants to make the office of comptroller more relevant to the lives of ordinary citizens by opening offices in all five boroughs. He also believes that, with the volatility of the market, the percentage of the pension portfolio invested in bonds, real estate and stocks should be revisited every three months, instead of every three years.

Liu, the head of the transportation committee in the City Council, spent 14 years in the private finance sector before being elected.

"I know my professional training will allow me to hit the ground running as comptroller," said Liu, the former vice president of the Queens Civic Congress.

Part of his vision for the job of comptroller is to eliminate what he says could amount to millions of dollars in waste in the city budget.

"I want to use my pension expertise to restore funds so we can restore confidence in our employees," said Liu, who worked as a pension actuary at Price Waterhouse Cooper. "Finally, I will insure that the stimulus package that been sent to us by President Obama, that billions of dollars doesn't get squandered in any way."

Both candidates promised to use the comptroller's office to audit the city's Department of Education in not only financial matters, but also tests scores and graduation ranks.

The office of comptroller functions as a watchdog which audits city agencies, works to reduce waste and fraud and acts as chief investor for the pension fund.

Councilmembers David Yazzy and Melinda Katz, also running in the Democratic primary for comptroller, were both invited to attend the meeting but did not show.

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