Office of New York City Council Member Daniel R. Garodnick

Semester: 2012 Fall

Students: Jon Enfield and Anna Gressel

Council Member Daniel R. Garodnick is the elected representative of the 160,000 residents of District 4 on the East Side of Manhattan. His office is looking at two areas of the operation of the New York City Comptroller’s office: its audit function, and the way that it resolves legal claims against the City of New York.  Council Member Garodnick has asked HNMCP students to focus first on the legal claims issue and then on the audit function.

Claims Against the City.  There is a notice and discovery process that goes through the City Comptroller’s Office when a lawsuit is filed against the City of New York.  A question exists as to whether the City is spending the right amount of time litigating versus settling these cases, and whether the best processes are being employed. We are looking for some design proposals on how best to improve the city’s conflict management systems for resolving these cases in a way that is fair to claimants and protects the public fisc.

Audit Function.  One of the most significant Charter-mandated responsibilities of the City Comptroller is to do an audit of one or more programs of each City agency at least once every four years.  The audit process is frequently adversarial, with respondent agencies questioning the methods, the metrics, and the outcomes of the audits. Council Member Garodnick, a candidate for New York City comptroller, is looking for a critical review of the audit process to consider whether there are ways to make the audit more results-driven and less confrontational, consistent with generally accepted auditing standards. This would include an assessment of the interests of parties involved in the audit process, as well as of factors contributing to the current adversarial nature of audits, and how the interests of the City Comptroller and the respondent agents could be addressed in a more collaborative and less costly way. HNMCP will also propose an improved conflict management system for resolving disputes arising out of audits.

Our Work

  • Interviews with stakeholders
  • Review of public materials
  • Studying precedents in other cities
  • Consulting with Council Member Garodnick

Deliverables Envisioned

  • Assessment of the conflicts and interests of stakeholders participating in the city’s audit function;
  • Top-level design recommendations on structural changes to the city’s conflict management systems for its audit function
  • Guidance on implementation
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