Power Failure: New York City Politics and Policy Since 1960

Hardcover | April 30, 1999

byCharles Brecher, Raymond D. Horton, Robert A. Cropf

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New York City's municipal government is the largest and most complex in the nation, perhaps in the world. Its annual operating budget is now a staggering $29 billion a year, plus it has a capital budget of $4 billion more. The city and its various agencies employ approximately 360,000full-time workers. The Office of the Mayor alone employs some 1,600 people (and spends some $135 million). And the Police Department boasts a small army of over 25,000 officers, with a budget of $1.5 billion. Anyone wanting to make sense of an organization this vast needs an excellent guide. In Power Failure, Charles Brecher and Raymond Horton provide a complete guidebook to the political workings of New York City. Ranging from 1960 to the present, the authors explore in depth the political machinery behind City Hall, from electoral politics to budgetary policy to the delivery ofcity services. They examine the operation of the Office of the Mayor and the City Council, covering everything from the number of members and their annual salaries (Council Members receive $55,000 per year, the Council President $105,000) to the mayoral races of John V. Lindsay, Abraham Beame, andEdward I. Koch. Much of this encyclopedic work focuses on New York's ever-present financial woes, including the financial crisis of the mid-1970s, when the City had an unaudited deficit of over a billion dollars and the public credit markets closed their doors. They examine the repeated failure ofcollective bargaining to set wage policy before the annual operating budget is set (which undermines the integrity of the budgetary process), and they look at the main source of revenue, the property tax (homeowners pay 84 cents per hundred dollars of market value, commercial property owners pay$4.31, a politically motivated imbalance which the authors find economically harmful and grossly unfair to renters and businesses). Finally, they examine service delivery and discover, not surprisingly, that the highest local taxes in the nation are not spent efficiently. The authors offer detailedlooks at the uniformed services (police, fire, sanitation, corrections), the Department of Parks and Recreation, and the Health and Hospitals Corporation (which operates the country's largest municipal hospital system), revealing which departments are run well and which are not. For New York City residents, this is an essential volume for understanding City Hall. Indeed, anyone baffled by big city government--whether you live in New York or in any major metropolis--will find in this volume a wealth of information on how to run a city well, and how to run it into theground.

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From Our Editors

New York City's municipal government is the largest and most complex the nation, perhaps in the world. Its annual operating budget is now a staggering $29 billion a year, and it has a capital budget of $4 billion more. The city and its various agencies employ approximately 360,000 full-time workers. The Office of the Mayor alone employ...

From the Publisher

New York City's municipal government is the largest and most complex in the nation, perhaps in the world. Its annual operating budget is now a staggering $29 billion a year, plus it has a capital budget of $4 billion more. The city and its various agencies employ approximately 360,000full-time workers. The Office of the Mayor alone emp...

From the Jacket

New York City's municipal government is the largest and most complex the nation, perhaps in the world. Its annual operating budget is now a staggering $29 billion a year, and it has a capital budget of $4 billion more. The city and its various agencies employ approximately 360,000 full-time workers. The Office of the Mayor alone employ...

Charles Brecher is a Professor at the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University. Raymond D. Horton is Professor in the Graduate School of Business at Columbia University.

other books by Charles Brecher

Format:HardcoverDimensions:416 pages, 9.57 × 6.38 × 1.46 inPublished:April 30, 1999Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195044274

ISBN - 13:9780195044270

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From Our Editors

New York City's municipal government is the largest and most complex the nation, perhaps in the world. Its annual operating budget is now a staggering $29 billion a year, and it has a capital budget of $4 billion more. The city and its various agencies employ approximately 360,000 full-time workers. The Office of the Mayor alone employs some 1,600 people (and spends some $135 million). And the Police Department boasts a small army of over 25,000 officers, with a budget of $1.5 billion. Anyone wanting to make sense of an organization this vast needs an excellent guide. In Power Failure, Charles Brecher and Raymond Horton provide a complete guidebook to the political workings of New York City. Ranging from 1960 to the present, the authors explore in depth the political machinery behind City Hall, from electoral politics to budgetary policy to the delivery of city services. They examine the operation of the Office of the Mayor and the City Council, covering everything from the number of members and their annual salaries (Council Members receive $55,000 per year, the

Editorial Reviews

"Its subject is truly the stuff of abject terror, so horrifying that the book should not be left where small children or senior citizens with weak hearts might find it. Needlees to say, the book deals with public policy in New York City....Anyone interested in understanding tyhe gradualdescent of the worldm's most important city into an economic abyss should make the extra effort to plow through it."--Chief Executive