Democratic Candidate for New York City Comptroller
Corey Johnson is a career politician who moved to New York City in 2000 upon graduating high school. He began at the Community Board level, becoming the youngest person to chair a Community Board. Johnson is finishing his second term on City Council, representing portions of the West Side. He was elected Speaker of City Council in 2018. Johnson began a campaign for Mayor, but he abandoned it due to struggles with depression, later pivoting to join the race for Comptroller.
- Johnson has been a City Councilman for four years and is currently the speaker of the City Council, a position he was elected to by his peers.
- Johnson has no formal finance or legal training.
- Johnson has a high school degree but no college education. He is currently enrolled in night school as a freshman at Columbia University.
- As a member of City Council, Johnson has been part of shaping the New York City budget.
- Johnson has managed the staff of his City Council office as well as the staff assigned to the Speaker of the City Council.
- As Speaker of the City Council, Johnson initiated the Oversight and Investigations division within the Council. It went on to hold hundreds of oversight hearings related to failings of the city government. It is not clear if this was coordinated with the Comptroller’s office, which has the official oversight and auditing duties for the city.
- Johnson says he will explore moving away from hedge funds in favor of investing in index funds to maximize returns and minimize fees.
- Johnson has not stated a particular audit strategy, but says he will focus on auditing agencies with the greatest direct impact on New Yorkers to ensure services are delivered equitably and efficiently.
- Johnson, in his role as Speaker of City Council, pledged to defund the police.
- Johnson has been open about his struggles with substance abuse and mental illness. He announced a run for Mayor in this election cycle, but he suspended that campaign in 2020, sharing that he has been suffering from depression and needed to focus on his mental health. He became a late entrant into the Comptroller race in the spring of 2021, but Johnson is seen as a frontrunner due to strong name recognition across the city as well as substantial campaign funds accumulated during his run for Mayor.
- Johnson supports the Defund the Police Movement and has called upon the police to stop enforcing “low level” crimes. (As Comptroller, he would be responsible for overseeing any settlements between the city and claimants and would have audit powers over the NYPD.)
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What does the Mayor do?
Serves as the Chief Executive The mayor has the power to appoint and remove the commissioners of more than 40 city agencies including the police, fire, education, sanitation, health and more. The mayor also has full control over the city’s public schools.
Sets budget priorities for billions of dollars The mayor and the City Council determine how city’s money should be allocated, what departments should grow or shrink, which programs should be expanded or contracted and how big the municipal workforce should be.
Manages relationships with state and federal lawmakers The mayor serves as the city’s advocate, champion and negotiator, fostering productive relationships with state and federal lawmakers.
The mayor also proposes, enacts and vetos laws, oversees major zoning, land use and housing policy decisions and make judicial appointments.
What does the District Attorney do?
The office is responsible for the prosecution of violations of New York state laws (federal law violations in Manhattan are prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York).
A DA's duties typically include reviewing police arrest reports, deciding whether to bring criminal charges against arrested people, and prosecuting criminal cases in court. The DA may also supervise other attorneys, called Deputy District Attorneys or Assistant District Attorneys.
What does the Public Advocate do?
The public advocate is a non-voting member of the New York City Council with the right to introduce and co-sponsor legislation.
The public advocate also serves as an an ombudsman for city government, providing oversight for city agencies, investigating citizens' complaints about city services and making proposals to address perceived shortcomings or failures of those services.
Along with the Mayor and the Comptroller, the public advocate is one of three municipal offices elected by all the city's voters. In the event of a vacancy or incapacity of the mayor, the public advocate is first in line to become mayor.
What do City Council Members do?
From Woodlawn to Coney Island, every neighborhood in New York City is part of a Council District. There are 51 of these Districts, each represented by an elected Council Member.
Council Members Introduce and vote on legislation (proposed laws) having to do with all aspects of City life; negotiate the City's budget with the Mayor and approve its adoption; monitor City agencies such as the Department of Education and the NYPD to make sure they're effectively serving New Yorkers; and review land use and making decisions about the growth and development of our city.
What makes a good Comptroller?
- Complex Managerial Experience — Leads a staff of about 800 employees across all various skill sets including accountants, attorneys, economists, engineers, IT professionals, etc.
- Sound Investment Strategy — Serves as the Chief Investment Officer who has the final say in how the City’s five public pension funds totaling approximately $250 billion in assets are invested.
- Track Record of Transparency & Accountability — Serves as the fiscal “watchdog” — overseeing the auditing team for the entire City, with the power to hold the City accountable when contractors/agencies are falling short. Approves all City contracts and reviews performance.
- Government Experience (City & State) — Understands complex interplay between agencies and lawmakers. Responsible for resolving legal claims on behalf of and against the City.
- Budgeting — Advises the City on any potential developments affecting the city’s fiscal outlook, e.g. relocation of businesses outside NYC, issuing municipal debt. Sets and enforces the prevailing wage.
Robert E. Cornegy, Jr.
What does the Borough President do?
Each Borough President advises the mayor on issues relating to their respective borough. They propose legislation, zoning changes, city-wide budget recommendations, and influence direction for land-use. Borough presidents also appoint members to the New York City Planning Commission, and members to other local boards including community boards.