Councilman Brad Lander, who will be the city’s next comptroller after winning the Democratic primary, on Thursday backed the current office holder’s effort to force Mayor Bill de Blasio to restore normal checks on City Hall spending — which have been suspended since the pandemic’s beginning.
“We need to restore contract oversight, because when you spend $14 billion without contract oversight, you know there are going to be problems, there’s a risk of corruption,” the left-leaning Lander said Thursday morning on PIX 11.
“I agree with that lawsuit, and I call on Mayor de Blasio to restore normal contract oversight to all our spending immediately.”
Lander’s support for Stringer’s suit — filed Tuesday in Manhattan Supreme Court — comes after the comptroller ripped the newly estimated $6.9 billion in “unacceptable” unchecked city spending.
“The mayor has extended the procurement emergency powers more than 100 times, including as recently as last week, allowing the city to continue to spend without the oversight that my office is charter-mandated to provide,” Stringer said at a press conference. “We’re gonna get to the bottom of this.”
Lander — who earned 51.9 percent of the vote in the 10th round of ranked-choice voting — on Thursday said that, while he understood the need for expedited, urgent spending during the throes of the COVID-19 crisis, it’s time to return to the pre-pandemic manner of doing business.
“I agree with Scott Stringer here,” Lander said.
“Look, at the very height of pandemic last March, when there were not enough N95 masks, obviously that was a critical time to say maybe we need to waive contract provisions, so that we could quickly acquire masks without worrying [about] do we know everything about the provider of them.”
“But now, 16 months and $7 billion later,” comptroller contract reviews are appropriate, he said.
On March 16, the mayor signed an executive order that stopped regular procurement rules, in order to speed up the process with which the city makes purchases. In August, Stringer called on the mayor to allow him to regain supervision of city contracts.