Skyler’s Guidelines for Member Items

City Hall just released a memo from Deputy Mayor Ed Skyler with his suggestions for how the mayor’s side of city government can best respond to member-item requests from City Council members.

The recently revealed speaker’s slush fund–not to mention the arrest of two Council staffers–has raised questions about how member items are allocated and has led to scrutiny of Christine Quinn.

Skyler’s memo notes that while the mayor’s office can’t pick organizations to get money, there is a “lack of transparency” that can “create a mistaken impression that the Mayor’s Office is funding its own ‘Member Items.’”

Recommendations include:

-Identify, before the budget is adopted, the community groups slated to receive money and the elected official who request the funding.

-Require city agencies to ensure that the groups are properly registered charities.

-Have groups acting as a “financial conduit” make a “written agreement” with the other groups they’re funding, and have those secondary groups also go through the vetting process.

-Disclose associations between an elected official and community group they are trying to fund. Here, Skyler notes, “[D]isclosure of a potential conflict by a recipient organization will not necessarily result in a denial of funding, though that is one potential result.”

Skyler also says in the memo that the mayor’s office is seeking the advice of the city Conflict of Interest Board.

Skyler’s Guidelines for Member Items