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Dear Brad Lander:
The comptroller’s office ensures that there is integrity, accountability, transparency and no abuses in city contracting. You have been prolific in conducting audits, issuing reports and analyses of city agencies. You have testified at numerous City Council hearings.
However, amid all the voices that have weighed in on the city’s plan to enroll retirees in a Medicare Advantage plan, you have been noticeably silent.
Audits of the Office of Labor Relations’ health benefits program for active employees and retirees are long overdue. In a May report, “Preparing for the Next Fiscal Storm,” you indicated that the Retiree Health Benefits Trust has improperly become “ a rainy day fund because that is how it has been used in practice.”
Please audit where the money went!
You didn’t testify at the Committee on Civil Service and Labor’s Jan. 9 hearing on a proposed change to the administrative code that would have impacted health benefit expenditures. The procurement process conducted by OLR and the Municipal Labor Committee itself deserves
scrutiny. Self serving letters and memos were made public. Meanwhile, the MLC and OLR will not disclose the names OR EVEN THE AFFILIATIONS of their Tripartite, Steering, Evaluation and Technical Committees.
So much for transparency.
In December, an “arbitrator” issued a paid opinion recommending Aetna to receive the contract. At the January hearing, Council members who asked to see a draft contract were rebuffed by OLR officials. No serious observer can say that the city was negotiating with Aetna from a position of strength. The fix was in.
Last week, the MLC voted to select Aetna. By Friday night, an announcement letter and a special Aetna website went live. But still no draft contract.
Please audit and investigate. It’s your public duty.
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Excellent letter, Mr. Weiner. Hopefully there will be a successful court fight by those who represent retirees. We have to expose the opaque tricksters who would steal part of our precious medical benefits.
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