Advice for the New Mayor
Savas, E. S.
Heinemann, H. Erich
Wriston, Walter B.
E. S. Savas Chairman, Department of Management, Baruch College
The bloated city government squanders taxpayers' money in scores of activities that no other city in America undertakes--municipal hospitals and housing rehabilitation are two costly examples. Stick to your campaign promise to adopt a program of prudent privatization. Bus services, garbage collection and disposal, and recycling are good places to start: on just these three services taxpayers can save more than half a billion dollars a year after gradual implementation that relies on attrition, rather than layoffs, to cut the city workforce.
Sell OTB and the city's radio and TV stations--the city has no business being in bookmaking or broadcasting. Sell unneeded city-owned land, buildings, and other property to raise cash. Auction off housing that has been acquired for nonpayment of taxes. Airports are being privatized around the world: how about selling JFK and LaGuardia? Let the Port Authority continue to operate Newark Airport and let's see who does a better job. Cultural institutions, zoos, and museums should be left entirely to the private, nonprofit sector.
Reform the city's obsolete personnel system, which gives employees both civil-service and labor union protection. Reform work rules to increase productivity, as Mayor Edward Rendell did recently in Philadelphia. Put able-bodied men and women who are on welfare in vacant, unskilled, entry-level jobs in city agencies. Pay them higher than minimum wage, but less than above-market municipal wages. Challenge the unions on this and challenge the Clinton administration to treat it as an experiment aimed at "ending welfare as we know it."