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Posted: Thursday, December 26, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 11:58 am, Thu Jan 2, 2014.

De Blasio taps old Albany hand to be his budget director

Dean Fuleihan, a longtime aide to state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) who is now with the SUNY College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, will be Bill de Blasio’s budget director when the mayor-elect takes office in January.

Fuleihan has served as the top fiscal advisor to Silver and the Assembly’s Democratic Caucus, and was the lower house’s chief budget negotiator in three-way talks with the governor and Senate for years, de Blasio noted.

“During the hardest of times, when we had a Republican governor and State Senate determined to leave New York City’s most vulnerable to fend for themselves, Dean Fuleihan stood his ground,” de Blasio said in a prepared statement. “Dean is a true progressive who understands not only our limits, but our possibilities. He will ensure our priorities live up to both our responsibilities and our values.”

Fuleihan said the new administration’s budget plan will “confront inequality with critical investments” in education and other areas.

De Blasio wants the state to impose a tax hike on city residents earning more than $500,000 a year in order to fund early childhood education and afterschool programs. Some analysts told the media last week that naming Fuleihan could help his effort because the incoming budget director is well-known and respected among lawmakers in Albany.

Hearing on campaign finance set for Jan. 22

The city’s Campaign Finance Board is holding a public hearing Jan. 22 on how its efforts “to amplify the voices of New Yorkers in our elections” panned out in this year’s voting.

The hearing will address four topics: the matching funds that campaigns get from taxpayers; disclosure of independent groups’ spending; voter education and engagement; and the use of new technology in fundraising and disclosure. The discussions will provide a basis for a CFB report to be issued next September.

The event will be held at 9:30 a.m. at the New York Law School, located at 185 W. Broadway in Manhattan. For details, call (212) 306-7116 or email press@nyccfb.info.

U.S. wants crooked pols’ pension money

Four politicians found guilty of corruption charges and sent to prison, including former City Councilman and state Sen. Hiram Monserrate of Queens, will have to give up their pension benefits to pay back their ill-gotten gains if federal prosecutor Preet Bharara has his way.

Bharara, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, filed papers last week seeking to seize the four criminals’ pension money in order to satisfy forfeiture judgments made against them as part of their convictions.

Monserrate owes $79,434.49, according to Bharara. Ex-Councilman Miguel Martinez owes $106,000. Ex-Councilman Larry Seabrook owes $418,252.53. Ex-Yonkers Councilwoman Sandy Annabi owes $1,270,302.99.

All were convicted between 2009 and 2012, and Bharara said none has paid back a dime yet. The prosecutor said he is committed to making sure crime doesn’t pay, including by “preventing public money from being used to fund the comfortable retirement of corrupt officials.”

NYCHA agrees to fast fix for mold problems

Residents of public housing who have mold in their apartments can get it cleaned up within 15 days of making a complaint, rather than waiting for months as they often must, under a settlement reached between the New York City Housing Authority and advocacy groups. They also will be able to go to a federal judge if NYCHA does not live up to the agreement, and the court could impose penalties on the agency.

Mold exacerbates asthma, which reports say is far more common among public housing residents than other people. The agreement settles a class action lawsuit filed against NYCHA by the Natural Resources Defense Council and the National Law Center for Economic Justice.

— compiled by Peter C. Mastrosimone

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