No Controls, No Fiduciary Oversight

Lack of DOE oversight is irresponsible and verging on criminal

Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, the presumptive Republican nominee in the race for mayor, held a noon news conference on Tuesday on the steps of New York’s City Hall to call for an explanation from Mayor Bill de Blasio over the lack of fiduciary oversight at the New York City Department of Education (DOE) regarding the use of consultants for Leadership Coaching and a decade old project that was meant to improve broadband and Wi-Fi connections in our public schools. Malliotakis called the situation “irresponsible and verging on criminal” and called for “Mayor de Blasio to publicly explain why common financial safeguards aren’t in place when over $1 billion in payments are to be handed out.”

On Sunday, July 30th, the Office of the NYC Comptroller released a highly critical management audit of the NYC DOE and its contract with the New York City Leadership Academy (NYCLA) for teacher and principal coaching. To view the audit, please click here.

Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis said, “This Sunday, New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer issued a scathing audit on an issue I’ve been talking about since I entered the race for mayor; the outrageous amounts of money being spent on consultants by the New York City Department of Education (DOE). “The sub-headline on Comptroller Stringer’s news release sums it all up; ‘98% of sampled payments lacked basic proof that services were provided.’ That’s a shocking statistic, especially when you think there’s over a $100 million in taxpayer funded contracts at stake.

“Bill de Blasio needs to respond to the allegations raised by the Comptroller and be accountable for how tax dollars are spent; because, obviously, his DOE isn’t.

“If the CEO of a publicly traded company allowed this type of shoddy bookkeeping, the company shareholders would be calling for the CEO’s arrest. But, in Bill de Blasio’s New York, the Mayor’s response is likely to be, ‘read my lips; I don’t care.’

“This is just the most recent example of the Department of Education being cited by the Comptroller’s office. On May 21st of this year, the Comptroller’s Office released another audit that showed that between 2010-2019 the DOE Capital Plan allocated $997.6 million to install, maintain or enhance broadband internet and wireless service in our schools. 10 years into the project the Comptroller’s Office found that 45% of Middle Schools that responded to a survey, stated that the speed of their internet service did not meet their instructional needs. To view audit, please click here.

“In addition, the Comptroller’s Office found that DOE had no plans or total budgets in place during the decade-long project to upgrade schools’ technology infrastructure. Missing information included project plans, implementation timelines, progress reports, costs, dates of installation, and all the names of contractors who worked on the project. “The fact is, that in this day and age, it is irresponsible and verging on criminal that the DOE, on 2 projects slated to spend over $1 billion is tax dollars, would not collect the most basic information to insure the integrity of the projects.

“Time and again, we’ve see Mayor de Blasio wave off questions from the media when it is a topic he wants to ignore. The time for waving off questions is over; too much money is at stake and it’s time for someone to take action. The mayor should instruct Mark Peters, his Commissioner of the city’s Department of Investigations, to immediately start an investigation into the actions of those responsible for the management and allocation of all funds spent in fulfilling the NYCLA contract and to also investigate the lack of fiduciary oversight in the implementation of improved broadband and Wi-Fi service in our public schools.

“If Bill de Blasio won’t take the needed steps to investigate these matters, then I will, immediately after being sworn in as Mayor of the City of New York.”