When Government is Opaque: The Fight for Transparent Public Authorities in New York State.
Lecture by Elizabeth M. Marcello, Senior Research Associate, Citizens Budget Commission.
Public authorities supplement routine government functions by building infrastructure, maintaining bridges, building stadiums and convention centers, managing public housing, and running mass transit systems. These special purpose governments are a fixture of urban development and service delivery. Yet, these governmental bodies are rarely given more than cursory attention. Marcello explains the importance of these entities while also pointing out their many challenges. Public authorities are not subject to the same disclosure and accountability rules as typical governmental agencies, raising questions about the role they play in democratic planning efforts. Arguing that there is an important role for public authorities in urban and regional development, Marcello gives an overview of reform efforts in New York and contends that in the absence of comprehensive reform, these agencies will continue to undermine democracy.
Elizabeth M. Marcello is a graduate of GSAPP’s PhD in urban planning program and a Senior Research Associate at the Citizens Budget Commission, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that works to achieve constructive change in the finances and services of New York City and State. Elizabeth also serves on the Board of Directors of StreetsPAC, a political action committee dedicated to electing pro-transit, pro-pedestrian, pro-bike, and pro-safe streets candidates. Elizabeth’s academic research focuses on city-state relations, economic development, and governance. She also works as an adjunct assistant professor at Hunter College, City University of New York.
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