2010 Annual Report on Public Authorities in New York State
The independent Authorities Budget Office (ABO) was created pursuant to the 2009 Public AuthoritiesReform Act (PARA). The ABO and the Act took effect on March 1, 2010. Prior to this date, the ABOexisted for four years as the Authority Budget Office pursuant to the Public Authorities AccountabilityAct of 2005 (PAAA). From its inception, the mission of the ABO has been to make public authoritiesmore accountable and transparent, and to act in the public interest consistent with their intendedpurpose. The ABO carries out its mission by: collecting, analyzing and disseminating to the publicinformation on the finances and operations of state and local public authorities; conducting reviews toassess the operating and governance practices of public authorities and compliance with state laws;exercising its enforcement powers; promoting good governance principles through training, policyguidance, the issuance of best practice recommendations and staff assistance; and investigatingcomplaints made against public authorities for non-compliance or inappropriate conduct.Consistent with its original statutory powers and duties under the PAAA, the Authority Budget Officefocused its initial efforts on collecting and analyzing standardized budget, financial, program andoperating information submitted by public authorities, conducting 21 onsite reviews of the managementpractices of certain authorities and their compliance with state laws, and training the directors of publicauthority boards on their fiduciary responsibilities. The ABO will continue these efforts under PARA andexercise its additional oversight and enforcement power to assure the compliance of public authorities.
2009 Public Authorities Reform Act
The Public Authorities Accountability Act was generally recognized as the initial step in a comprehensivepublic authority reform agenda. While the legislation provided a broad framework within which theAuthority Budget Office could improve reporting and provide general analysis on the transactions andperformance of public authorities, the law lacked basic enforcement language that could ensurecompliance, improve board member performance, and strengthen the oversight role of the ABO. Afterseveral years of discussion and alternative proposals, the persistent effort of Assemblyman RichardBrodsky, the leadership of Senator William Perkins, and the commitment of Governor David Paterson, inconsultation with corporate governance expert Ira Millstein, led to agreement on a series of reformsthat were embodied in the 2009 Public Authorities Reform Act. The Governor signed the bill into law inDecember 2009, and the Act took effect March 1, 2010.
Key Provisions of the Public Authorities Reform Act
Central to the Act was the codification in Public Authorities Law of the Authority Budget Office as theindependent Authorities Budget Office and vesting this recreated office with additional powers andresponsibilities. The office is headed by a Director appointed by the Governor to a fixed four year term,subject to confirmation by the Senate. The Act also imposes additional reporting requirements on public