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Queens Chronicle

Comptroller Liu vows change

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Posted: Thursday, January 7, 2010 12:00 am

New Comptroller John Liu said government must be more resilient and creative to meet the challenges “of doing so much more with so much less” at his inaugural speech on Sunday outside City Hall.

Liu, who became the city’s first Asian-American comptroller, completed two terms in office as city councilman from Flushing, where he grew up. He overcame four opponents and a runoff to win the November election.

As the city’s chief financial officer and watchdog, Liu said he is ready “to hit the ground running.” He promised to deliver substantial results on behalf of the people through “unparalleled financial expertise, utmost integrity and the highest level of professionalism.”

Liu vowed to work for the taxpayers by serving as a watchdog over the use of funds, and for the future of retirees through responsible managment of investments and protecting the assets of the city’s pension funds.

He also promised to examine past and future agreements between the city and developres, to ensure, “that the promises of affordable housing and job creation are actually delivered.”

Finally, he vowed to eliminate waste and fraud from the city’s budget, “by examining the millions of dollars of no-bid contracts, whose justifications are weak, at best.”

Liu noted the city’s current budget crisis, the largest in decades, but pointed to the financial collapse of the 1920s, the meltdown of the 1970s and the market crash of the 1980s, and said: “We’ve been there before and we will get through this again.”

Liu said he is optimistic about the future and that his office “will restore the fiscal health of the city, public confidence in government and the economic outlook of our future.”

He called New York City a special place where “necessity inspires innovation, crisis endows hope and where in obstacles, we find opportunity.”

Lastly, Liu promised New Yorkers to not let them down.

Liu, Mayor Mike Bloomberg and Public Advocate Bill DeBlasio were sworn in during an outdoor ceremony on one of the coldest days of the season.

Comptroller’s appointments

City Comptroller John Liu on Tuesday named six deputy comptrollers in his office.

• Eric Eve, first deputy comptroller, previously served as senior vice president of Citigroup’s Global Community Relations Department. He also worked as special assistant to President Bill Clinton.

• Ricardo Morales, deputy comptroller for legal affairs, will serve as general counsel. He previously worked as general counsel with the New York City Housing Authority.

• Simcha Felder, deputy comptroller for accounting and budget, is the best known appointment, having been re-elected in November as a city councilman from Brooklyn. He’s a certified public accountant. The mayor will have to call a special election for the council vacancy.

• Geneith Turnbull, deputy comptroller for contracts, last worked as deputy commissioner for the city’s Human Resources Administration.

• Tina Kim, deputy comptroller for audit, is the former director of audit and civil rights for the state Department of Transportation.

• Carol Kostik, deputy comptroller of public finance, worked in former Comptroller Bill Thompson’s office from 2006 in the same position.

Former state Comptroller Carl McCall served as Liu’s Transition Committee chairman.

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