NYC Agencies: Best and Worst pitch

By: Rebecca Harris and Rikki Reyna

New York City Budget: Who Uses and Abuses Funds

Slug: NYC Agencies Best and Worst

Key elements: 

– Stimulus funds

– Progress of projects that used stimulus funds

– Ranking of city agencies who received funds


The Mayor released his preliminary budget. The city is talking about money. Who gets it, what programs do they spend it on, and how much do they need? De Blasio even chastised Albany and the Federal Government for putting the squeeze on New York City’s budget.

But if every city department got every dollar they asked for, would that solve everything?

 A look into how various city departments spent the federal stimulus money they received five years ago shows that an influx of money is not a silver bullet. Because in many cases that money is not spent.

Data on the usage of stimulus funds provided to New York City agencies through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, found here, shows that in many cases the funds were underutilized, if used at all. For each project, the data gives a description of the project’s goals, how much money it received, the city agency that received the money for the project, and what percentage of the money was spent and what percentage of the project was completed.

Some of the worst offenders included…

Top 5 worst:

1) Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) – Out of School Time (OST), provides a mix of after-school activities for youth, Given $8,300,000 and has spent -0.28%

2) Department of Education (DOE) – Education Services for Special Needs Students, Given $316,603,358 has spent 0% of it

3) Department of Probation (DOP) – Rockefeller Drug Law Reform Probation Investigation and Community Supervison, given $3,976,000 has spent 0% of funds

4) Department of Small Business Services (SBS) – Individual Training Grants, given $9,941,858 spent 0%

5) (SBS) – Workforce 1 Career Centers, given $1,722,515 spent 0%

Our project would investigate some of these cases in which the money was grossly underused to seek to answer, why wasn’t the money spent and where did it go? And do these examples reflect a larger, systematic misuse of project funds by the respective city agencies.


Barbara Fife, Baruch College, Former NYC Deputy Mayor

Dick Dadey, Executive Director, Citizens Union

Steve Malanga, Senior Fellow, Senior Editor, Manhattan Institute

E.J. McMahan, Economist, Manhattan Institute

Nicole Gelinas, Senior Fellow, Contributing Editor, Manhattan Institute

Ronnie Lowenstein, Director, Independent Budget Office

Doug Turetsky, Communications Director, Independent Budget Office

James Parrot, Deputy Director, Chief Economist, Fiscal Policy Institute

Charles Brecher, Research Director, Prof., Citizens Budget Commission, Wagner, NYU

Betsy Lynam, Deputy Research Director, Citizens Budget Commission

Carol Kellerman, President, Citizens Budget Commission