City Comptroller John Liu announced Wednesday that his office was launching a hotline for the public, city employees and contractors to report possible wasteful spending by city agencies.
The hotline, called 212-NO-WASTE, was unveiled as part of Liu’s ‘Campaign to Cut Waste’ during his State of the City Address last week.
Staffed by trained professionals in the Comptroller’s Community Action Center, the new hotline is designed so that New Yorkers can make anonymous reports on city agencies wastefully spending money. Call takers gather information from the public and share it with the staff at the Comptroller’s office for review and possible investigation.
In addition to providing the public with an avenue to report on City expenses, the Comptroller’s office will scrutinize the call data to identify and analyze trends. This information will also be used to formulate future audit plans and contract reviews.
The idea for the hotline stems from a series of Audit Town Hall Meetings held by Liu last year in all five boroughs to engage the public on where they would like to see audits. The 212-NO-WASTE, or 212-669-2783, hotline builds upon the audit town hall idea and aims to utilize public input to make government more efficient and accountable.
In a statement, Liu said allowing people to make such anonymous reports will help identify areas where wasteful spending can be cut; nearly $1 billion in waste was identified by Liu’s office over the past two years.
“The work we’ve done to cut waste convinced us that we need to build on our success and do even more. This hotline provides taxpayers another way to get involved by giving us their ideas about where to look for waste in City spending,” Comptroller Liu said.
The hotline is one of the four goals Liu highlighted in his State of the City address last week. Later this year, Liu also aims to start up the remaining three goals, including: Checkbook 2.0, a website that gives the public the ability not only to see every single dollar the City spends but also each agency’s budget, revenue, and contracts; New York City IT Dashboard, an early warning system requiring city agencies to track their IT projects according to schedule; and a subcontractor tracking system, which aims to force major city contractors to be responsible and accountable for the performance of subcontractors they hire, and help the city enforce prompt payment policies and track actual spending from minority and women-owned businesses more accurately.