ALBANY -- In his second "team" problem-solving panel for the day, Gov. Andrew Cuomo this afternoon named the members of a group to brainstorm ways to reduce the number of state-imposed mandates on local governments and school districts.
The mandates, at least those ones required by Albany but with no financial help to pay for them, are costly drivers of local property taxes. Like a Medicaid team announced earlier in the afternoon, the mandate-relief team includes various stakeholders who normally don't see eye-to-eye on mandate relief -- including local government officials and union leaders whose members might have a stake in some of the mandated services.
The panel includes Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi. It must report back its findings by March 1. The team is headed by Larry Schwartz, a senior adviser to Cuomo who until Dec. 31 was the top aide to former Gov. David Paterson.
"The enormous burden of unfunded and underfunded mandates is breaking the backs of taxpayers, counties and municipalities across the state," Cuomo said in a statement. "These mandates are throwing budgets out of balance and sending local property taxes through the roof. This diverse team of leaders and public servants fulfills the commitment to bring stakeholders to one table in order to work together to deliver relief and results for New Yorkers."
From a Cuomo administration news release, here's the rest of the mandate relief team besides Teresi:
• Stephen Acquario, executive director, NYS Association of Counties
• Maggie Brooks, Monroe County Executive
• Peter Baynes, executive director of the New York Conference of Mayors
• Jeff Haber, New York State Association of Towns, executive director
• David Steiner, New York State Department of Education, commissioner
• Valerie Grey, New York State Department of Education, chief operating officer
• Robert Reidy, New York State Council of School Superintendents, executive director
• Kevin Casey, New York State School Administrators Association, director
• Timothy Kremer, New York State School Boards Association, executive director
• Andy Pallotta, New York State United Teachers, executive vice-president
• Steve Allinger, New York State United Teachers, director of legislation
• Fran Turner, Civil Service Employees Association, director of the Legislative and Political Action Department
• Kevin Law, Long Island Association, president
• Kenneth Adams, New York State Business Council, president
• William Mooney, Westchester County Association, president
• Micah Lasher, office of New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg
• Ed Malloy, Upstate Building Trades Association
• Carol Kellerman, Citizens Budget Commission, president
• Sen. Betty Little, recommended by the Majority Leader of the Senate.
• Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins, recommended by the Minority Leader of the Senate.
• Assemblyman Denny Farrell, recommended by the Speaker of the Assembly.
• Assemblyman Mark Molinaro, recommended by the Minority Leader of the Assembly.
-- Tom Precious