ALSO INSIDE SPOTLIGHT ON
PUBLIC-SECTOR UNIONS AND THE
LOBBYING FIRMS IN NYC
ABUSE and NEGLECTin
April 25, 2016
New York’s Hospitals and Doctors Have the Highest Medical Malpractice Costs— and That Makes No Sense Despite fewer adverse events and scoring high on numerous quality measures, New York’s world-class hospitals and doctors spend billions annually on medical malpractice costs—by far the nation’s highest. It’s stark proof of a deeply flawed system in need of sensible reforms.
Let’s do something about this. Tell your State Senator and Assembly Member: It’s time to fix New York’s medical malpractice system and its out-of-control costs.
3/7/16 11:25 AM
EDITOR’S NOTE / Contents
Jon Lentz Senior Editor
When New York politicians talk about their home state, it’s often to boast about how it’s the best in the country. But when New Yorkers are no longer able to care for aging parents, spouses or other loved ones – or even themselves – they have to pick from an array of nursing home facilities that, taken together, are among the worst in the country. While many facilities in New York do provide top-notch care, the state was one of 11 that earned an “F” grade, according to one watchdog group. Other figures demonstrate a rise in reports of neglect and abuse, while advocates warn that government oversight is failing the elderly and infirm. In this week’s cover story, the first in a multi-part investigative series on nursing home care, reporter Frank G. Runyeon delves into the causes behind these troubling trends.
SPOTLIGHT: PUBLIC-SECTOR UNIONS From Supreme Court fights to government reliance on temporary employees, we look at the obstacles unions face in the Empire State.
NURSING HOME NEGLECT Frank Runyeon writes that reports of abuse in nursing homes are rising sharply in New York.
LOBBYING 18. FIRMS
Meet the leaders of New York City’s most soughtafter lobbying firms.
BACK & FORTH Legendary investigative reporter and longtime Trump critic Wayne Barrett shares his thoughts on the Donald’s campaign.
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On the Cover ALSO INSIDE SPOTLIGHT ON
PUBLIC-SECTOR UNIONS AND THE
LOBBYING FIRMS IN NYC
The RISE of NURSING HOME ABUSE and NEGLECTin NEW YORK
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April 25, 2016
Cover photo by FRANK RUNYEON Staff profiles by CELESTE SLOMAN
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CAMPAIGN CENTRAL New York was a hotbed of political activity these past few weeks, with presidential contenders crisscrossing the state and local candidates vying to replace two disgraced state legislative leaders. City & State was on the beat, hosting a presidential forum – our “Great Debate,” with proxies for Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, John Kasich and Donald Trump – and filing dispatches from the campaign trail and on April 19 as the election results streamed in.
Roger Stone, a longtime Trump supporter, debated New York City Councilman Eric Ulrich, a Kasich supporter.
Former New York Gov. George Pataki endorsing Kasich.
The New York Times’ Sam Roberts, left, moderated a debate between Assemblyman Michael Blake, a Clinton supporter, and former state Sen. Tom Duane, who is backing Sanders. Baruch College’s David Birdsell and New York Slant Editor Nick Powell co-moderated.
PHOTOS BY JULIA LECATO, GEOFF KELLY, JON LENTZ, SARINA TRANGLE
Carl Paladino at a Donald Trump rally.
Alice Cancel, left, was elected to replace former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. She was joined by New York City Councilwoman Rosie Mendez, a supporter.
Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky declared victory in the race for the state Senate seat vacated when former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos was convicted on corruption charges.
“ YOU GUYS HAVE SOME OF THE WORST NURSING HOME CARE I’ VE E VER SEEN. SOME OF THOSE NURSING HOMES ARE LIT TLE SHOPS OF HORRORS .”
– Brian Lee, executive director of Florida-based Families for Better Care
HEALTH NURSING HOME ABUSE AND NEGLECT ON THE RISE IN NEW YORK Story and photos by FRANK G. RUNYEON
NEW YORK’S NURSING HOMES have received failing grades from watchdog groups for years. Now, recent reports suggest they are getting worse. Reports of neglect and abuse in nursing homes are rising sharply, according to state enforcement agencies. Reports to the New York Attorney General’s office, which investigates and prosecutes criminal and civil cases related to nursing home care, were “up markedly.” Between 2013 and 2015, allegations of abuse and neglect climbed from 1,392 to 1,644, a jump of nearly 18 percent. The New York state Department of Health, which refers cases to the attorney general, saw a similar increase, with reports rising from nearly 900 to over 1,100. The reports of abuse and neglect encompass a wide swath of unlawful behavior in nursing homes, from physical or sexual assault to willful negligence in providing therapy, nutrition and cleanliness. While officials caution that the spike may be the result of better reporting, the figures may also be indicative of a worrying trend. Advocates and researchers have been alarmed by increasingly flawed government oversight and a growing proportion of for-profit nursing home operators, which tend to provide poorer-quality care. “In my experience, abuse and neglect is far too widespread in far too many facilities,” said Brian Lee, executive director of the Floridabased nonprofit advocacy group Families for Better Care. While he allowed that the increase may be attributable to improved reporting, he said, “It could be that the abuse and neglect was there all the time and it’s just finally getting found out.” Over 105,000 New Yorkers live in nursing homes, according to federal statistics, more than any other state in the country, but New York has consistently received some of the lowest marks nationally. “You guys have some of the worst nursing home care I’ve ever seen,” said Lee, who previously served eight years as Florida’s state longterm care ombudsman in a federal program investigating complaints
and advocating for nursing home residents. “Some of those nursing homes are little shops of horrors.” Lee’s organization analyzes government statistics and releases nursing home report cards for each state. When the rankings are released, New York will receive an “F” rating for the third year in a row while ranking a dismal 44th overall. According to the forthcoming report card, 95 percent of the state’s facilities were cited for at least one deficiency (a 3 percent increase over the previous year), while nearly two-thirds failed to score an aboveaverage health inspection rating. The general public often fails to understand the problem, Lee said. “Yes, people die in nursing homes because they have serious ailments and that’s to be expected,” Lee said. “But to see how many are being neglected to death? It’s just insane. It should not be happening in our country.” In the past year alone, several grisly cases of abuse and neglect have come to light in New York. In one case, a nurse aide at West Lawrence Care Center in Far Rockaway allegedly pummeled a bedridden 80-year-old resident, leaving her battered, black-eyed and ultimately hospitalized. But while cases of outright assault against elderly nursing home residents are shocking, they are comparatively rare, said Paul Mahoney, deputy chief of the state attorney general’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit that investigates and prosecutes such crimes. “Many more of the incidents of abuse and neglect involve activity in which no one was intending to create a bad outcome. But shortcuts were taken – due to a lack of oversight or staffing – and something goes wrong,” Mahoney said. “Then, someone doesn’t handle it properly. What is an accident becomes a crime, because instead of giving a person care for the accident, they cover it up.” Mahoney pointed to perhaps the most egregious case his office prosecuted in the past year, in which a nursing home worker at Medford Multicare Center for Living on Long Island was convicted of criminally
negligent homicide after she failed to connect 72-year-old Aurelia Rios to her ventilator while she slept, ignoring a doctor’s order. For two hours, several nurses ignored alarms warning that Rios had stopped breathing. After her death in 2012, administrators and staff falsified records and lied to the family for years. ASIDE FROM CRIMINAL indictments, one thing the Medford and West Lawrence cases have in common is that both happened at for-profit operations. A 2009 study from the federal Government Accountability Office indicates that the correlation may not be a coincidence. It found that the worst nursing homes in the country tended to be run for profit. In fact, many studies show that for-profit nursing homes generally provide lower quality care than nonprofit or government-owned homes, according to Charlene Harrington, professor emeritus at University of California San Francisco. She is among the leading researchers on nursing home quality,
companies can cut their cost is having fewer staff with wages and benefits and have less well-trained staff,” including critically important registered nurses, Harrington explained. “They cut corners on all of that. That’s the main way they make their money.” And these for-profits are increasingly taking up a larger share of the New York nursing home market, according to an analysis of government records by City & State. In 2006, for-profits owned half of all New York nursing homes. In the last decade, however, for-profits bought up 20 percent of all government and nonprofit nursing homes in the state, increasing forprofit nursing home ownership to nearly 60 percent of the state’s total. While the majority of New York’s nursing homes are now run for profit, those homes are more than twice as likely to hold a low 1-star rating as those that are nonprofit or government run. In fact, among the state’s 371 for-profit homes, 92 of them – or 1 in 4 – ranked among the state’s lowest-quality facilities. A report by ProPublica last
“WE HAVE THE LARGEST OMBUDSMAN PROGRAM AND WE’RE ONE OF THE POOREST FUNDED IN THE COUNTRY.” – Susan Dooha, executive director of the Center for Independence of the Disabled, New York chronicling the endemic problems in for-profit facilities. “The for-profit large chains are the worst in terms of both staffing and quality,” Harrington said. “New York has been sort of unique in keeping out a lot of national chains, but I know New York has a lot of regional chains. The real growth has been in these chains. And the chains have definitely been problematic.” The damage to quality care is typically seen in two categories: a higher number of deficiencies and short staffing – there often just aren’t enough nursing staff to provide decent care for the residents. “Nursing homes are labor intensive, so basically, they’re about staffing. And the main place these
October showed that New York’s largest for-profit chain, SentosaCare LLC, has successfully expanded its ownership in recent years despite a record of repeat fines, violations and complaints of deficient care among its 25 facilities. Advocates, researchers, and watchdog groups point to deeply flawed government oversight as a key reason for the proliferation of poor quality nursing home care in the state. A recent report from the New York state comptroller’s office found that although the state Health Department, charged with enforcing minimum care standards in nursing homes, was “generally meeting its obligations,” the enforcement
“THE FEDERAL AND STATE AGENCIES WERE GIVEN A POWERFUL TOOL TO CARRY OUT THEIR RESPECTIVE MANDATES TO HOLD PROVIDERS ACCOUNTABLE FOR PROTECTING RESIDENTS, WHICH THEY CHOSE TO IGNORE . IT IS INFURIATING AND HEARTBREAKING.” – Richard Mollot, executive director of the Long Term Care Community Coalition
division was so inefficient that there were delays of “up to six years between when the violation is cited and the resulting fine is imposed.” The delays undermined incentives for nursing homes to clean up their act, particularly repeat offenders, the report noted. A spokesperson from the comptroller’s office said the problem appeared to stem from a single parttime employee who was saddled with both the obligation to process the fines for all the nursing homes in the state as well as conduct his own investigations. When asked for comment on the comptroller’s findings, a New York state Department of Health representative said the report “found DOH to be in compliance with federal regulations governing the inspection of nursing homes, and that the agency acts quickly on serious complaints. A new enforcement process was implemented by the DOH Nursing Home Division in April 2015 and we are continuing to work to ensure that fines are assessed in a timely manner.”
But the problems at the state Health Department go beyond short staffing, said Richard Mollot, executive director of the Long Term Care Community Coalition (LTCCC), a leading advocate for nursing home residents. “In recent years we’ve seen a significant decrease in the state holding nursing homes accountable,” Mollot said. “I would say we have widespread failure to meet or exceed the minimum standards.” In fact, Mollot believes the state Health Department has abdicated its role as the state agency responsible for enforcing quality care in nursing homes. “In essence, they don’t see their role as a regulatory agency, even though they are a regulatory agency,” he said. “That’s really what the problem is.” LTCCC issued a report last year noting that the state Health Department rarely cites nursing homes for pressure ulcers – open sores that form as a result of a lack of movement. At the same time, it found that nearly 9 percent of nursing home residents have a pressure ulcer. The sores are a commonly used measure of neglect in nursing homes because they are easily preventable with proper care. “We have 9,000 people in New York nursing homes that have pressure ulcers,” Mollot said. “That is insane.” The report also found that the state Health Department rarely cites nursing homes for staffing shortages even though New York is recognized as having low staffing rates. On average, the department issues just 13 citations for insufficient care staff each year to the over 600 nursing homes in the state, according to the report. A 2005 LTCCC report also showed that federal inspectors identified over four times as many violations as the state Health Department did for the same homes. The state Health Department stressed that it has a thorough process by which complaints are appropriately investigated, and nursing homes that are found to be deficient are given citations and fines. “DOH is committed to protecting
the health and safety of New York’s nursing home residents,” a state Department of Health spokesperson said. “Whether or not there is abuse or neglect, any time a facility violates a regulation it must submit a plan of correction that is acceptable to the Department and correct the deficient practice. All complaints and incidents received about nursing homes are reviewed by the Department through the Centralized Complaint Intake Unit with appropriate action taken. In cases where the Department determines a nursing home violates regulation, the Department will issue a citation to the nursing home.” INVESTIGATORS AT THE attorney general’s office say more could be done. “There is room for more oversight,” said Mahoney, the deputy chief of the state attorney general’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. “The Department of Health could use more enforcement staffers.” While the state Health Department is the designated enforcement agency for the state, the federally mandated Long Term Care Ombudsman program also plays a role in monitoring abuse and neglect in nursing homes, advocating for residents and proactively visiting nursing homes regularly. Ombudsmen are charged with investigating complaints and seeking to resolve them, and although they have no direct authority over nursing homes they can assist residents in reporting complaints to the Health Department, the attorney general’s office or the police. But since funding is sparse for this program and the manpower is almost entirely volunteer, there’s only so much they can do. “We have the largest ombudsman program and we’re one of the poorest funded in the country,” said Susan Dooha, executive director of the Center for Independence of the Disabled, New York. The nonprofit recently took over ombudsman coordination for New York City, overseeing roughly half of the state’s nursing home residents – or around 50,000 people in 174 nursing homes.
If the program were fully funded, it would have 24 paid staff members – instead, it has six. And while it manages an unpaid volunteer corps of 90 ombudsmen who may work an average of four to six hours a week, over half of the city’s nursing homes do not have an assigned ombudsman who checks in on those facilities. In recent years, formal reports from the ombudsmen dropped precipitously because reporting became far more labor-intensive for the volunteers. A policy change required them to fill out pages of paperwork instead of a single-page complaint. “The number of cases or complaints in New York state absolutely plummeted almost to zero – and it wasn’t because there weren’t complaints,” said Richard Danford, the ombudsman coordinator for New York City. “It was because the methodology they were using was problematic and the volunteer ombudsmen in the field stopped reporting.” As a result, Danford said, the figures that New York’s Long Term Care Ombudsman submits to the federal ombudsman office are inaccurate. “I would really caution you – anybody – against using this number as a measure of really anything reliable,” Danford said. “I hate to tell you that.” There are plans to revise the reporting practices and improve the data in the future, Danford added. Advocates say the underfunded, short-staffed and largely ineffective compliance regime in the state is particularly frustrating because there are laws and enforcement methods to crack down on nursing homes that are abusing or neglecting their residents – but government agencies have not been taking full advantage of them. “Essentially, the federal and state agencies were given a powerful tool to carry out their respective mandates to hold providers accountable for protecting residents, which they chose to ignore in favor of activities that were much more amenable to the (nursing home) industry,” said Mollot, of the LTCCC. “It is infuriating and heartbreaking,” he said.
Our Perspective Our Perspective
Car Wash Worker Car Wash Worker Campaign Continues Campaign Continues to Change Lives to Change Lives By Stuart Appelbaum, President, Retail, Wholesale and Department By Stuart Appelbaum, President, Store Union, RWDSU, UFCW Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union,
RWDSU, UFCW arlier this year, 50 workers at the large SLS car wash this in Brooklyn, York,atoverwhelmingly voted arlier year, 50New workers the large SLS car to join the RWDSU. They did it for the same wash in Brooklyn, New York, overwhelmingly voted reasons workers at 10 other washes to join the RWDSU. TheyNew did York it forCity the car same since 2012 have at done it: to win at work, to win reasons workers 10 other Newrespect York City car washes better pay and benefits, and to prove that there is since 2012 have done it: to win respect at work, todignity win in low-wage work. They’ve proven thatthat car wash can better pay and benefits, and to prove there jobs is dignity be a stepping stone to a better life and not just a in low-wage work. They’ve proven that car wash jobs can sentence to a lifebe of a poverty. stepping stone to a better life and not just a Car to wash like other low-wage workers across the country, sentence a lifeworkers, of poverty. have had enough of often illegally pay, and havingacross their voices – and Car wash workers, like other low low-wage workers the country, their rights – ignored. They are calling attention to the difference unions have had enough of often illegally low pay, and having their voices – and can the factattention that employers can affordunions to do theirmake rightsin–workers ignored.lives, They and are calling to the difference right by their workers.lives, and the fact that employers can afford to do can make in workers Workers at nine right by their workers. New York City car washes Workers at nine have won contracts New York City car washes bringing better pay, have wonthem contracts better benefits, betterpay, bringing them better health and safety better benefits, better protections, and paid time health and safety off and control protections, andover paid time scheduling thatover had never off and control before beenthat a part their scheduling hadofnever jobs. The largely before been a part of their immigrant workforce has jobs. The largely Hillary Clinton talks with RWDSU members won the right to returnhas to at Hi-Tek car wash. immigrant workforce Hillary Clinton talks with RWDSU members their the home countries won right to returnand to at Hi-Tek car wash. have their jobs waiting for them when they return. their home countries and They’ve shown that a union voice isn’t all about money. It’s about have their jobs waiting for them when they return. dignityThey’ve and respect, the isn’t things aremoney. important for shownand thatfighting a unionfor voice allthat about It’s about each group of workers. dignity and respect, and fighting for the things that are important for The day the New York Democratic primary, presidential each group of before workers. candidate Hillary Clinton to Hi-Tek Car Wash in Queens to talk with The day before the came New York Democratic primary, presidential workers. The workers at Hi-Tek started it all, as the first “carwasheros” candidate Hillary Clinton came to Hi-Tek Car Wash in Queens to talk with east of Los a union election. campaign is focused workers. TheAngeles workerstoatwin Hi-Tek started it all, Clinton’s as the first “carwasheros” upon fighting for marginalized people in our society – including low paid east of Los Angeles to win a union election. Clinton’s campaign is focused workers – and creating a better America with an economy that works for upon fighting for marginalized people in our society – including low paid all of us. Car wash workers epitomize this part of her campaign, and workers – and creating a better America with an economy that works for Clinton talk with this group ofpart immigrant workers and hear all of us.was Carthere washtoworkers epitomize this of her campaign, and first-hand the story of how they had changed their lives. Clinton was there to talk with this group of immigrant workers and hear We see it all around ourtheir union. We see it in New first-hand the story of how us, theythroughout had changed lives. York City’s car washes, and we see it across the river in New We see it all around us, throughout our union. We see itJersey, in New where newly-organized workers at Laminated paper products won a York City’s car washes, and we see it across the river in New Jersey, short in April when the owner agreed to paper the RWDSU Local 262 wherestrike newly-organized workers at Laminated products won a members’ terms. short strike in April when the owner agreed to the RWDSU Local 262 Workers are showing that when they stand members’ terms. together and form collective build Workers are a showing thatvoice, whenthey theycan stand stronger for themselves their families. together lives and form a collectiveand voice, they can build stronger lives for themselves and their families.
For more information, visit For more information, visit www.rwdsu.org
PUBLIC– SECTOR UNIONS CONTENTS 12 … FOR UNIONS, SUPREME COURT RULING IS MERELY A TEMPORARY REPRIEVE By JUSTIN SONDEL 14 … DE BLASIO SEEKS MORE TIME TO COMPLY WITH LAW LIMITING USE OF TEMPORARY WORKERS By SARINA TRANGLE
All across the country, organized labor is on the defensive. Governors in historically labor-friendly states like Wisconsin and Michigan have weakened unions. Membership has declined for decades. In the case of Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, the U.S. Supreme Court was poised to make it harder for unions to collect fees – and labor groups appear to have dodged that bullet only because Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died. In New York, the situation is less gloomy for unions. Membership is actually growing, according to some measures. The governor has joined state lawmakers in rallying behind the cause of organized labor. Just a few weeks ago the state enacted groundbreaking paid family leave legislation and a $15 minimum wage. But unions in the Empire State face formidable obstacles, from government reliance on temporary employees to the risk posed by other legal challenges working their way through the courts. In this special section on public-sector unions, City & State takes a closer look at these issues – and more.
On the line every day.
We’re family, friends and neighbors doing the work that matters.
NEW YORK’S LEADING UNION DANNY DONOHUE, PRESIDENT
SMART. DYNAMIC. CARING. DEDICATED.
People working together to make a better New York for all. CS0015_FP.indd 1
4/22/16 1:11 PM
A TEMPORARY REPRIEVE Unions hail Supreme Court decision, but brace for further attacks By JUSTIN SONDEL
LATE LAST MONTH, publicsector unions across the country breathed a collective sigh of relief. The U.S. Supreme Court, in the absence of recently deceased Justice Antonin Scalia, deadlocked 4-4 on a case that had posed a significant threat to organized labor. In the case, Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, the plaintiff had argued that mandatory payments to the union for teachers, regardless of whether or not they are union members, was a violation of her First Amendment rights. The court’s split decision stops (for now) what would have likely been a mass exodus from unions across the country – in collective bargaining, unions represent members and nonmembers alike.
Had the plaintiff won, individuals would decide whether to pay dues and fees on their own instead of having those fees deducted from their paychecks. But while New York union leaders applauded the decision, they know it is not permanent. Indeed, the legal attack was only one of many salvos fired by rightto-work groups fighting to reduce
the power of unions, which are still a powerful force in New York. Mario Cilento, president of the New York State AFL-CIO, a union umbrella group, said that while the Supreme Court decision did reassure many union leaders and members, it was also a clear sign of just how quickly union rights can evaporate. “This is more of a temporary
reprieve,” Cilento said. “It allows us to continue the work we’ve been doing, particularly in this state, to educate our members on what exactly is happening at the Supreme Court and what could possibly come down the pipe in the future.” With the Friedrichs case still not settled, and dozens of other cases on both the state and federal level still pending, the danger for unions is far from over. In fact, labor organizations have been facing pushback for years from a network of loosely organized outfits working to erode union power. Stephen Madarasz, a media relations specialist with CSEA, said that the Friedrichs case is just the latest attack by these groups. “There’s a bigger picture here than simply the Friedrichs case itself,” Madarasz said. “It’s symptomatic of what is really a sustained and escalating attack on working people that has been going on for the last generation.” NEW YORK STATE has the strongest union membership in the nation, with more than 2 million active members, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics – almost 25 percent of all workers in the state. That strength may keep libertarian right-to-work groups like the National Right to Work Committee and the Center for Individual Rights at bay, with weaker states making more appealing targets. But Wayne Spence, the president of the Public Employees Federation, said that New York is a state where groups want to bring the fight. “New York is the Alamo,” he said, “the last bastion for the labor movement” Still, those groups may wait for a more opportune time to launch a major offensive in the Empire State,
“NEW YORK IS THE ALAMO, THE LAST BASTION FOR THE LABOR MOVEMENT.” – Wayne Spence, president of the Public Employees Federation
“AS THIS FRUSTRATION CONTINUES TO BUILD, WHICH YOU CLEARLY SEE , PEOPLE ARE STARTING TO REALIZE NOW MORE AND MORE THAT THE ONLY PROTECTION THEY HAD WAS WITH THE UNIONS WHEN THEY’RE TRYING TO GET DECENT WAGES, LIVING WAGES. YOU’RE GOING TO SEE MORE AND MORE OF THAT.” – Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers with Gov. Andrew Cuomo having recently signed a minimum wage hike and a paid family leave bill, two key labor victories. Josh Freeman, a professor of history a CUNY’s Queens College whose expertise centers on the labor movement, said that union opponents will likely wait for a change in state government before launching a full-fledged campaign here. “I think in the short run it’s not likely we’ll see the kinds of efforts or controversies in New York we’ve seen elsewhere because of the political configuration of the state, with the governor and the Assembly so closely aligned with the labor movement,” Freeman said. “I think there would be very little traction for those kinds of efforts, and I don’t think people are even really trying very much.” Still, if a Republican were to become governor, the dynamic could change quickly. In Wisconsin, for example, Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican, has quickly reduced the influence of unions there. What’s more, New York’s unions have experienced large-scale losses over the last several decades. At one point, almost half of New York workers were union members. And while the state has actually been able to add public-sector members – about 60,000 statewide last year – the drop in private-sector union membership since the early 1970s has been precipitous. “Things can change quickly,” Freeman said. “I don’t think anyone five years before the events in Wisconsin would have predicted that. The labor movement in New York potentially could be
vulnerable. The public sector is very strong here, but the private sector union movement in New York state, like everywhere else, has diminished and is still comparatively strong, but that’s not strong.” WHILE NEW YORK’S labor leaders remain confident in their ability to defend their home turf, they agree that the next big issue is right in front of them: electing another Democrat to the White House who will fill the Supreme Court vacancy, and likely several more, with a liberal justice. Immediately after the deadlocked Friedrichs decision was handed down, Terence Pell, the president of the Center for Individual Rights, which represented the plaintiff that brought the suit, told The New York Times that he hoped the court would again hear the case once a new justice is in place. “We believe this case is too significant to let a split decision stand,” he said. Before Scalia’s sudden death, the Supreme Court seemed prepared to hand down a victory for the plaintiff. If a conservative justice is appointed to replace him, the court would be expected to side with the right-to-work groups.
“Unless we get a president who is going to appoint a liberal Supreme Court justice, it will become the law of the land,” Spence said. Spence and other labor leaders have been preparing for the worst and hoping for the best. New York unions are moving back towards an engagement model, making efforts to train leadership to constantly seek out members for one-onone discussions and encouraging communication any way possible. Then, Spence said, if the worstcase scenario for his group were to occur and paying dues became optional, more of his members would understand the value of the union and would be less likely to walk away. “If we can survive four to six months, I believe the union will be a stronger union,” Pence said. “I might not have the same capacity that I did before Friedrichs, but once you get a volunteer union membership, that union membership will be a stronger membership in the long run.” WHILE UNION LEADERS know they can’t rest easy after the Friedrichs decision, there are encouraging signs for the future of the labor movement. Union
membership is growing statewide, Cilento said, and many of New York’s unions remain healthy. Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers, said there are also positive signs in the populist rhetoric being employed by presidential candidates on both sides of the aisle. The backlash, Mulgrew said, is in part the result of the labor movement’s campaign seeking to show that owners of corporations are trying to erode workers’ rights to enrich themselves. “As this frustration continues to build, which you clearly see, people are starting to realize now more and more that the only protection they had was with the unions when they’re trying to get decent wages, living wages,” Mulgrew said. “You’re going to see more and more of that.” And while there is no doubt that right-to-work groups will continue working to battle unions on the state and federal level, New York’s union leaders remain confident that they are ready for the fight, Cilento said. “From the state AFL-CIO point of view, we are ready for anything,” Cilento said. “We don’t take anything for granted.”
“FROM THE STATE AFL-CIO POINT OF VIEW, WE ARE READY FOR ANY THING. WE DON’T TAKE ANY THING FOR GRANTED.” – Mario Cilento, president of the New York State AFL-CIO
A TEMPORARY SOLUTION
De Blasio to seek more time to comply with law limiting use of temporary workers
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announces a $15 minimum wage for all city government employees and employees who provide contracted work for the city at social service organizations at DC 37’s union headquarters in downtown Manhattan on Jan. 6. DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido and City Council members stand beside him. AS THE NUMBER of temporary municipal employees in New York City has continued to grow, Mayor Bill de Blasio appears poised to once again ask Albany to postpone a deadline to trim the city’s temp workforce as required by the Civil Service Law. In the wake of a landmark court ruling, the state enacted a law in 2007 giving the city five years to trim its provisional – or temporary – workforce. When the deadline approached, Albany gave the city two more years to decrease its provisional workforce by 8,600.
Since then the city’s provisional headcount has grown instead, from 22,954 to 23,052. Lisette Camilo, commissioner of the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, said the city was confident it would knock 5,233 people off the provisional tally by the end of 2016, when it will hire permanent employees from a list of administrative manager and staff analyst candidates. Still, she said the city would need another extension – and always anticipated receiving one. “That was always the intention,
when we submitted the initial one,” Camilo testified at a City Council hearing in March, noting that she was not sure how long of an extension the city would seek. “We still don’t have a final draft of a plan.” This strategy, however, may face hurdles in Albany. State Sen. Martin Golden and Assemblyman Peter Abbate, the sponsors of the legislation that granted the city an extension in 2014, said they had requested an update from the city but had not received one. “It is our understanding through
discussions with the New York State’s Civil Service Commission that their primary goal has not been met,” Abbate, who is chairman of the Assembly Governmental Employees Committee, said in a statement. “I’ve been extremely discouraged by the city’s lack of action regarding the reduction of provisional employees in their ranks. … Mayor de Blasio has done little to discontinue this practice, despite initial optimism, and is now running out of time before the extension lapses and the city is no longer current with the law. I am concerned that another extension will only continue to postpone action.” De Blasio’s office did not respond to requests for comment. Without another extension from Albany, the city’s employment of more provisional workers than is legally allowed could open it up to lawsuits or wrangling with unions. In 2007, the New York State Court of Appeals ruled that provisional workers terminated in Long Beach, Nassau County, did not have arbitration rights their union claimed they did. The court also said the government misled these provisional workers into having an expectation of being employed beyond the nine months permitted under Civil Service Law. Because New York City had so many provisional employees – about 19 percent of competitive titles at that time – the state passed legislation allowing it a window to work its way into compliance. Under the law, the city would achieve “substantial compliance” with the Civil Service Law once no more than 5 percent of competitive jobs were filled with temporary workers. Organized labor has long opposed
MICHAEL APPLETON/ MAYORAL PHOTOGRAPHY OFFICE
By SARINA TRANGLE
Day Care Employees Quick Takes
I. DANEEK MILLER CHAIRMAN, NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL COMMITTEE ON CIVIL SERVICE AND LABOR
PETER ABBATE CHAIRMAN, ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES
ON RESOLVING THE CONFLICT OVER THE CITY’S PLAN TO CHANGE NYCHA WORKERS’ SCHEDULES ... “We should be able to provide a reasonable service to these NYCHA residents that they are well deserving of. And I would hope that both sides can get to the table and make sure that it happens. “I know that there are some provisions about conditions and safety and all of that that the union has, and we want to make sure first and foremost that those conditions are addressed, but again, there is precedent about how we go about doing our jobs, and precedent about how we deal with collective bargaining agreements. “If you’re going to make a drastic change in someone’s lifestyle, and if you change the terms and conditions of employment, than they’re subject to compensation in my experience … from agreements that I negotiated and had in place over the years with the MTA and others. ... There are provisions that are necessary to address those things that may come up. “I would be certainly willing to lend my limited expertise in terms of mediation to get this done. Having been a NYCHA alumni – born and raised – I know the importance of these services being delivered. But I also know that services have probably been delivered the same way for ... as long as NYCHA has been in existence. And the world is different now. And we need to make provisions for the 21st century workforce that we’re dealing with. And if we didn’t do that, we’d be doing a real disservice to those residents.”
ON ADDRESSING CRITICISMS OF THE PUSH TO RAISE THE MINIMUM WAGE ... “Ensuring that workers have a livable minimum wage is important to our communities and to guaranteeing fairness for this generation and the next. Low-wage workers deserve a living wage and an opportunity to better themselves and their families. “Raising the minimum wage in the way this year’s budget has should erase any concerns that critics have because it addresses need across the state in different ways. By staggering the increases over time, taking into account regional differences and creating dedicated times to provide analysis on effects, we’ve laid to rest many of the issues that were brought up in opposition to the ‘Fight for 15.’”
Justice Now! New York City’s community-based day care system, the nation’s largest and most admired, is in crisis. Employers cannot hire or retain competent, state-certified employees because of tremendous underfunding. Poor and working parents and their children are now paying the price with staff retention levels lower than ever in the system’s history. The reason is simple: 3,000 unionized day care employees have not had a negotiated wage increase in ten years; 50 percent of the workers cannot afford to pay for their health care and the future of their pension plan is in jeopardy. Workers are saving the bus fare by walking home at the end of the month to afford putting food on the table for their own kids. And while they take good care of the children at the center, they can’t properly take care of their own children when they get sick. The City Council is recommending that $33.5 million more be allocated this year in the city’s multi-billion dollar budget and increase day care funding in years to come in order to fund a long overdue collective bargaining agreement that meets the pressing wage and health care needs of unionized communitybased day care employees. Sponsored community-based day care has well served New York’s children and parents for almost two generations because it is safe, of high quality, in the community, and affordable to working families. We can’t allow this vital system to be destroyed. Our members have been patient. They cannot wait any longer.
Justice Now for Day Care Workers! Victoria Mitchell
Executive Director District Council 1707 AFSCME
President Day Care Employees Local 205
BY THE NUMBERS
New York City’s provisional headcount
Civil service exams
given by New York City in fiscal year 2015
157,000 NEW YORKERS
took an exam in fiscal year 2015
76% for the 2015 sanitation work test, the second most applicants of any civil service exam in history
AVERAGE PASS RATE OF THE EXAMS
relying on provisional employees, who have fewer due process rights and less job security because they’re meant to temporarily fill jobs while the city gives exams, calculates results and makes permanent hires from the top scoring candidates. For the time being the city’s largest municipal union, District Council 37, is working with the administration to hash out a plan that will allow for an extension, but include reforms that prevent the city from finding itself in a similar situation when the next extension lapses, according to DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido. DC 37 represents the “lion’s share” of provisional employees and wants to see them transition into permanent positions, as opposed to being abruptly terminated en masse, according to Garrido and other union leaders. “We have now as many provisionals as we had last year – that is a problem,” Garrido said. “I’m looking for big, sweeping change in the legislation tied to the extension that would allow us to finally, once and for all, deal with the issue of the 22,000 provisionals in a major scale across the city.” In testimony before the City Council, DCAS officials said they have embarked on an “aggressive” schedule of giving civil service exams and reclassifying job titles with few workers so they fall outside the civil service sphere and do not count toward the city’s provisional tally. They said these efforts helped the city hit an all-
time low of provisional staff by the end of 2014. However, the provisional count ticked up again because of attrition and the need to hire for new citywide initiatives, they said. Still, the officials said recently administered exams should help it cut more than 5,000 from the provisional count by the end of 2016. Garrido praised the city for expanding its use of the civil service exams. But he said DCAS staff was too limited to administer enough tests to fully phase out provisional employees in the near future. The city could speed up hiring, Garrido said, by letting licenses stand in for exams when the licenses are a prerequisite for the post, such as for tech jobs that call for Cisco or Microsoft certification. Since the license-holders would appear equally qualified, Garrido suggested the city then use criteria similar to what it has historically used under education and experience tests, which assign points based on candidates’ demonstrated capabilities, rather than exams. In general, he said the city could rely on education and experience to transition provisional personnel into permanent positions. Garrido and Local 1180 of the Communications Workers of America have also called on DCAS to use citywide candidate lists for titles instead of separate ones for each agency. Gerald Brown, a vice president of Local 1180, testified in March that the number of city provisional administrative managers
SOURCE: NEW YORK CITY DEPARTMENT OF CITYWIDE ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES
had grown to 566, and some of these temporary hires could have been avoided if the city compiled and pulled from 17 agencies’ promotional lists, which collectively contained 1,225 administrative manager candidates. Union leaders said they were opposed to moving titles with a large number of employees out of the civil service system. Garrido wants to assess what changes may be appropriate with the city on a title-by-title basis. He conceded that there are some positions that do not belong in the civil service system, such as assistants to borough presidents. By the time an exam was drafted, given and certified, there may be a new borough president in office, he said. “I don’t believe, as labor, that we should simply be opposing that just because in the past it has been manipulated to take people out of the ranks,” Garrido said. “When you do that, you are taking resources that otherwise could be used to test for needed tests.” Quick Takes
HAKEEM JEFFRIES MEMBER, HOUSE SUBCOMMITTEE ON HEALTH, EMPLOYMENT, LABOR AND PENSIONS
Phasing out provisional status for emergency medical service supervisors, however, is a priority for Vincent Variale, president of the Uniformed EMS Officers Union Local 3621. Variale said he has been urging the city to recognize 120 captain, deputy chief and division chief positions as civil servant jobs, albeit without success. Variale said he was concerned about bosses overlooking the best candidates to promote friends, but noted that supervisors also need the job protection a civil service title provides. During Hurricane Sandy, he noted, a chief was too nervous to disobey orders and remained in a flooding station on Manhattan’s waterfront until two lieutenants, who were civil servants, carried her out. “She was afraid to make a decision because if she did and it was the wrong decision that went against her superior’s, she could be easily demoted,” Variale said. “When they left, that water rose about 8 feet in that station – they could have been killed.”
ON THE ROLE OF UNIONS IN BUILDING THE MIDDLE CLASS IN NEW YORK AND BEYOND … “The decline in unionization is one of the most important issues of our time. Unions have played a crucial role in constructing the American middle class through the belief of one simple tenet: a hard day’s work should be compensated by a hard day’s pay. Anybody who works hard to provide for their family should be able to achieve the American dream of a middle-class life. “In New York State we have recently seen firsthand the positive impact organized labor can have on the lives of all working-class Americans. All New Yorkers will benefit from the recent groundbreaking minimum wage increase and adoption of 12-week paid family leave. A rising tide lifts all boats. “Unfortunately, America’s labor unions are under an unprecedented assault from right-wing outside organizations who have poured millions of dollars into the effort to deny Americans the basic right of union representation and the living wage afforded by that relationship. We must aggressively counteract those efforts with the same intensity. It is only by working hand-in-hand with our partners in the labor movement that we will secure the victories we need to ensure every American has a living wage, that women receive equal pay and that older Americans can retire with grace and dignity. We need our unions now more than ever.”
To Power Our Future, New Yorkers Deserve The Best BY JAMES SLEVIN
As New Yorkers, we want and expect the best. We work hard and hold ourselves to a higher standard. This results in a better quality of life, as it attracts businesses to our area looking to prosper in our economy, as well as people who want the jobs that will improve our lives and theirs. But do we have the best energy infrastructure to support growth? According to the New York State Transmission Assessment, 47,000 miles, or 42 percent, of our state’s transmission lines need to be replaced within thirty years. It’s clear that New York must improve its aging energy infrastructure if it is to support the increasing demand that will power our economy into the future. And we must begin today. It takes approximately ten years—a full decade—to receive regulatory approval and financing to actually build a new transmission line. But the members of the Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA) see the effects of age on our power grid today, and they know the work that is required to strengthen, rebuild, and enhance it. Even though our utility companies are addressing the most pressing needs, years of wear and tear have stressed old transmission lines, leaving them unreliable. But repairing and replacing electricity supply lines won’t be enough. We also need to build more power plants. And although the labor community helped renew New York State’s Article X Power Plant Siting Law several years ago, we have yet to build any new plants. Governor Cuomo would have us believe that our increased demand for electricity generation and transmission can be met by importing more power. The Champlain Hudson Power Express (CHPE) is just one of several such proposals: a foreign-backed giant extension cord between Canada and New York that would export our jobs, hurt our state’s economy, and make us more dependent on foreign-produced power. We believe this type of energy policy is not the answer for a New York fully capable of meeting its own power needs if only we have the drive, vision, and leadership to build the infrastructure we require for the future. Whether it be new and upgraded transmission lines, power plants, pipelines, or solar and wind projects, one thing is clear: union workers, such as the Utility Workers of America, have the capability to generate more in-state electricity power for use by New Yorkers, for New York companies, without exporting jobs or supporting economic development in other states or Cananda. Let’s build it here and now – because we deserve the best. About the Author: James Slevin is the president of the Utility Workers Union of America, Local 1-2, and an advisory board member of New York AREA.
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The New York Affordable Reliable Electricity Alliance (New York AREA) is a diverse group of business, labor, environmental, and community leaders working together for clean, low-cost and reliable electricity solutions that foster prosperity and jobs for the Empire State.
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NEW YORK CITY’S TOP 10 LOBBYISTS Lobbying is a big business, and it’s only getting bigger. In New York City last year, lobbyists raked in $86 million. That’s up from $72 million the year before and about $62 million in 2013. If the trend continues, the total amount spent on lobbying in the city could soon exceed $100 million. This growth has rewarded many of the city’s top lobbying firms, who have seen compensation from powerful clients – real estate firms, corporations, trade groups, unions and advocacy groups – rise substantially. How did these top performers get where they are? In interviews with City & State, leaders of the city’s most prominent firms cited their strong teams, their many years of experience, and plain old hard work. But in a time when lobbying is often looked at with a critical eye, one explanation stood out: It’s less about the relationships lobbyists have with key officials and more about the in-depth knowledge that clients rely on to navigate an increasingly complex city bureaucracy. For other insights from – and about – the city’s top 10 lobbyists, read on.
CAPALINO+COMPANY RANK (BY COMPENSATION): #1 PREVIOUS RANK: #1 COMPENSATION: $12,886,180.70
JAMES CAPALINO CEO
TO WHAT DO YOU ATTRIBUTE YOUR SUCCESS? There are three reasons that we have achieved this level of success. The first is that the firm has consistently recruited from city government the very best and brightest. We’re organized around eight practice groups, a n d w e h av e m a d e a p o i n t of putting in charge of these practice groups somebody who has a track record, a level of intellectual accomplishment as a former public servant, who really understands the area that they are managing. Factor No. 2 is we’ve been doing this for a long time. I’m proud of the fact that when I left the Koch administration at the end of Mayor Koch’s first term, I had the goal of establishing a public relations firm that frankly was not a subsidiary of the local
Democratic clubhouse. When I was in government, most of the people practicing government relations were significant Democratic Par t y leaders or functionaries. I saw an opportunity to take the practice of government relations out of the political clubhouse arena and to devote ourselves to attracting the caliber of people we’ve attracted with one very simple principle: There is no silver bullet. The notion that anybody in the business of public advocacy can pick up the phone and with one single telephone call solve a major problem for a client. It’s just fictional. It doesn’t work that way. Our work entails a deep understanding of a client’s objectives, a deep understanding of the public policy or aspect of the city administration that the client is working with. Our goal, fundamentally, is to help that
We know New York.
client manage the risk cur ve, because pursuing business goals in New York City is a challenging business with significant financial and other risks. Our goal is to help our clients achieve those goals in a very transparent and open way, with complete and total compliance with all the lobbying rules and regulations. We’re very proud of the fact that there are there are three people in our firm who on a full-time basis engage in compliance regulatory work, because we take that very seriously. The third thing is a lot of our success has come from the caliber of clients that we’ve attracted over the years. We are very proud of the fact that we have a group of 20 to 25 clients of the 235 or 240 clients we represent who we’ve represented for decades. We’ve sort of grown up together, frankly.
Government Relations built on experience, knowledge and integrity. NYC | Albany | Washington, DC | Long Island
KASIRER RANK (BY COMPENSATION): #2 PREVIOUS RANK: #2 COMPENSATION: $9,536,388.98 TO WHAT DO YOU ATTRIBUTE YOUR SUCCESS? It’s been 20 years since I started the firm, and most everybody in the firm has both been in government and been in politics at a senior level. Everybody here is incredibly focused on New York. We’re not trying to do lots of things, we’re really trying to focus on New York. We really are very strategic thinkers and we think about developing and implementing a strategy for our clients. We are tenacious in the focus of getting that done.
SURI KASIRER President
WHO ARE YOUR MA JOR CLIENTS? About a third of the business is
corporate, a third is not for profit, and a little more than a third these days is real estate. That ’s the breakdown. W H AT I S O N E WAY Y O U DELIVERED FOR A CLIENT? We just finished the rezoning of the Vanderbilt Corridor for SL Green. We delivered to the city $220 million of transit improvements, and what’s going to be a terrific addition to Grand Central and really help to make the rider experience in Grand Central so much better, in addition to really creating the first ground-up commercial building in East Midtown in a long time.
HOW IS THE LOBBYING BUSINESS CHANGING? Every administration is different, and every administration has a different focus and different priorities and does business in different ways. I think that this administration has been very, very clear about their priorities, which I think is a positive thing, because it’s clear how to work with them, what’s important to them, what their priorities are, what their focus is. We’re doing lots of work in the boroughs on the development side, doing stuff in Queens, doing stuff in Brooklyn, so that’s very exciting, watching the East Midtown rezoning very, very carefully for lots of clients that have interests there.
PITTA BISHOP DEL GIORNO & GIBLIN RANK (BY COMPENSATION): #3 PREVIOUS RANK: #4 COMPENSATION: $4,158,631.00
TO WHAT DO YOU ATTRIBUTE YOUR SUCCESS? My partners, Vinny and Bob, have been together in various setups and firms for almost 40 years, so our experiences as a team – I joined them in 2002 – there’s no egos and we work together for the benefit of our clients. Many of our clients have been with us for 20 years or more, and that’s because our philosophy is our team becomes as if we were employees of that organization, so we know the business of our clients as well as if we were an employee of theirs. That’s made us very successful.
JOHN DEL GIORNO Partner
WHO ARE YOUR MAJOR CLIENTS? About one-third of our clients is labor, from the Sanitation Workers Local 831 to the Operating Engineers Local 94. We represent the Detectives’
Endowment Association and Local 420, the health and hospital non-medical workers. Another third is not-for-profits. We represent ASPCA, Human First, Arab American Famil y S er v ic e s , the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Public Health Solutions, which is one of the largest health care providers and research not-for-profits in the state. The last third is corporations and trade associations. For instance, we represent the Association of Brick Mason Contractors of Greater New York, and what we’re doing for them is encouraging the use of brick and mason work as more sustainable with local products here in America. W H AT I S O N E WAY Y O U DELIVERED FOR A CLIENT? A key one is with the sanitation
garages, which has a workforce of about 6,400 here in the city. The first female joined the uniformed force, and many of the garages did not have women’s facilities, both bathrooms and lockers rooms. It’s a tough job, long hours out on the street, and after Sandy a lot of garages had to be moved away from the water and consolidated. When they did that, they realized that didn’t have facilities for women. We highlighted this with the City Council and we had a hearing and in the next three years every garage will have a women’s locker room or other facilities. The other benefit is as they’re doing the women’s facilities, the men’s facilities get upgraded. So it was a big reward, and it wasn’t done because of any legal challenge or contractual issue. It was done on the basis of fairness and recognizing the facts.
Constantinople & Vallone Consulting LLC is a results oriented government relations, public affairs and business development firm with a strong record of success. As a boutique firm, C&V provides customized, hands on consulting services to a select group of clientele. C&V works to understand a client's needs and develops a detailed strategy and budget while defining short and long term tactical goals. We at C&V believe that effective government relations is not just who you know, it's knowing who you need to know. C&V's principals bring a unique combination of experience and expertise in the sectors of government, finance, law and public affairs. C&V believes in creating and fostering an open dialogue with government officials, policy makers, community leaders, business executives and members of the media.
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BOLTONST. JOHNS RANK (BY COMPENSATION): #4 PREVIOUS RANK: #3 COMPENSATION: $3,870,356.46
EMILY GISKE Partner
Lobbying, Consulting, Strategic Planning, Business Development, Crisis Management, Fire Safety and Emergency Response, Community and Public Relations
TO WHAT DO YOU ATTRIBUTE YOUR SUCCESS? Bolton-St. Johns’ success comes from hard work and having a staff that really is remarkable out there. We strive to provide the highest level of service to our clients, including enhancing the client’s experience outside of actual lobbying, from providing memos and political background, etc. Also, BSJ lobbyists are available to our clients 24/7. WHO ARE YOUR MAJOR CLIENTS ? One good thing about being a large firm like ours, especially since we have a big market in New York City, Albany and also Western New York and Buffalo, is that we get to work on a lot of diverse issues and industries. We have tech, transportation, education, higher education, entertainment, labor issues, we do a lot of health care. So we’re very grateful to have a well-rounded group of clients that we have the privilege of working with each day to help build relationships with them and solve their problems. What sets
us apart is that we also have at BSJ a very strong commitment to social issues that we believe in, such as family, homelessness, issues affecting the LGBT community and immigration. W H AT I S O N E W AY Y O U DELIVERED FOR A CLIENT? We’re very, very proud to have secured city funding for not-for-profit clients, such as for HIV and AIDS, for day care and day care training for women who are trying to get back into the workforce, for example, and other important ser vices helping our fellow New Yorkers. HOW IS THE LOBBYING BUSINESS CHANGING? T h e m a i n c h a n g e i s w h a t ’s happening in Albany with JCOPE and the courts with what qualifies to be a lobbyist and whether or not a lobbyist is a traditional lobbyist like at Bolton-St. Johns, or a media consulting firm as well. That’s still to be determined. We’ll have to see how that plays out.
CONSTANTINOPLE & VALLONE CONSULTING LLC RANK (BY COMPENSATION): #5 PREVIOUS RANK: #5 COMPENSATION: $3,328,159.70
PERRY VALLONE AND ANTHONY CONSTANTINOPLE Principals
TO WHAT DO YOU ATTRIBUTE YOUR SUCCESS? AC: Honesty and performance, I’d say. A lot of our clients appreciate not only how well we perform for them and our honesty in dealing with the city and the state and the officials and the clients themselves, but a lot of our business is wordof-mouth referrals. Those clients go out and seek to find us other clients, friends of theirs that they can introduce us to, and that’s one of the reasons why we’ve been successful. PV: I would add to that reputation. The names of Constantinople and Vallone have a reputation that go with it, and it starts with how my father, Peter Vallone, approached his speakership at the City Council, which is he wants to do what’s right for the city. That’s how we approach our efforts here in the lobbying
world. We will take on clients that have something to offer the city, and we approach elected officials with something we think makes sense for the city or the state. AC: That’s a very good point that Perry brings up. We take on clients that are doing the right thing for the city and the state. That’s something that Peter Vallone Sr. and Tony Constantinople think is very important. WHO ARE YOUR MAJOR CLIENTS? AC: Some of our larger clients are Waste Management and T-Mobile, TD Bank and Walgreen’s. Probably about a quarter of our business is real estate development, and of that the vast majority is affordable housing. So we’re really trying to help clients fulfill Mayor de Blasio’s
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goal of creating affordable housing for the residents of the city of New York. PV: And we have a good chunk of not-for-profits as well. Some of them go way back with my father and with Tony Constantinople, like the after-school programs, the sports and arts and schools foundation and New York Junior Tennis and Learning. We have other nonprofits like the Queens LGBT Network. AC: Also the College Board, which is a not-for-profit that runs the Advanced Placement programs and the SAT and the PSAT, so they have a strong partnership with the city and the state, and their goal is to get into college and prepare them for college. They’re now offering free SAT prep, which we’re very excited about.
GREENBERG TRAURIG RANK (BY COMPENSATION): #6 PREVIOUS RANK: #8 COMPENSATION: $3,141,117.53
JOHN MASCIALINO Chairman, New York Government Law & Policy Practice
TO WHAT DO YOU ATTRIBUTE YOUR SUCCESS? We’ve been consistently in the top 10 over the years. I think our key is we don’t just rely on contacts and relationships in government. Especially for us as a law firm, we rely on our knowledge of the government process and procedures, rules, regulations, local laws, and we evaluate them and see how they can advance our clients’ goals, and try to match them up with the city’s policy initiatives that are going on and extracting the best value possible for the client and the government when doing transactions. The majority of our stuff is really large-scale transactions and real-estate-related government contracting, as opposed to all the legislative practice. It’s the more transactional side.
WHO ARE YOUR MA JOR CLIENTS? A lot of it is land-use-related, regulatory work, any development where it’s not as-of-right, where you need zoning changes or text changes or economic benefits. We also do a lot of government contracts. We help a lot of our clients respond to RFPs and RFQs that the government puts out for government contracting and property development. We also do what we call one-stop shopping here in New York City. We have a very prominent real estate practice, land use, government law and policy, tax, environmental, so we can really cover any aspect of land development and real estate development or rehab or preservation in the city. We call on all of our various disciplines and legal fields, and the way the lobby
laws are, a lot of the legal work we do is characterized as lobbying. There’s a lot of legal work that goes behind the actual interaction with the government. W H AT I S O N E WAY Y O U DELIVERED FOR A CLIENT? One of the biggest things we did in the past year was we do a lot of franchise and concession review contracts, so we had a major client that went through a franchise change of control procedure with New York City DOT and the franchise and concession review committee and negotiated that. It went through all the approval processes. It was a very long process, very successful, and we did great work with the city on that.
DAVIDOFF HUTCHER & CITRON LLP RANK (BY COMPENSATION): #7 PREVIOUS RANK: #7 COMPENSATION: $2,916,029.50
SID DAVIDOFF Senior Partner
TO WHAT DO YOU ATTRIBUTE YOUR SUCCESS? It’s 40 years of doing this. A good part of our team has been in state and city government prior to coming to the firm. So we’ve gained a great deal of experience and understanding with the city side of it as well as the client side. You have the experience of having been on that side of the desk. You understand what the issues are, hopefully, by this time. You try to put yourself in the shoes of the city official, the bureaucrat or the elected official, who has to review what you’re asking and what your client needs. One of the first things we tell everybody here is don’t ask for something you wouldn’t do if you were on that side of the desk. It’s important to understand the
whole perspective. One, the press perspective, when somebody looks at it, is it something that has merit and should be done. It’s a combination of things. It’s not just me, it’s everybody here. We have a team of very experienced professionals, par ticularly in our land use area, which is very complicated in zoning issues, who have been there, either at the City Planning Commission or some staff level who have dealt with the zoning code and could understand it as well as anybody could. WHO ARE YOUR M A J O R CLIENTS? In my handling of clients, personally, it’s the two markets: the fish market in Hunts Point and the produce market. We’ve just got
the term sheet for the fish market that will keep them in the Bronx at the Hunts Point Terminal until at least 2030. They employ several thousand people, and it’s obviously a major place in the city where 90 percent of the restaurants in the city and the surrounding area get their fish from. That was an important one for us. Additionally the produce market that feeds almost 20 percent of the people in the Northeast is one that we’ve been working very hard on for the last five years and trying to renegotiate their lease. Right now they’re committed to staying another five years, and we’re continually talking to the city about a rebuild and keeping them here in the city with their many thousands of employees.
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MANATT, PHELPS & PHILLIPS LLP
RANK (BY COMPENSATION): #8 PREVIOUS RANK: #6 COMPENSATION: $2,400,616.16
TO WHAT DO YOU ATTRIBUTE YOUR SUCCESS? We h a v e a t e r r i f i c t e a m o f professionals. Each person is uniquely skilled and dedicated. We ’ ve buil t a repu tation on building smart strategies and listening to our clients and helping them meet the goals they set.x
KATIE SCHWAB Managing Director and Co-Chairwoman of the New York City Government Practice
W H AT I S O N E WAY Y O U DELIVERED FOR A CLIENT? We started last spring with ribbon cuttings for two wonderful projects that we worked on for many years. One was at the Whitney Museum, and one was God’s Love We Deliver. Both of those were tremendously rewarding, just wonder ful to see these amazing institutions grow and launch beautiful new
facilities. We also went through another successful budget cycle. We managed to help our clients secure $12 million in expense and $40 million capital funds in the budget. We had some legislative successes, including helping NYSAFAH, which was a prominent advocate for Zoning for Quality and Affordability and Mandatory Inclusionary Housing, and the BID Association with the public plaza legislation, and one longtime project that’s come to fruition this year is LinkNYC with CityBridge, so it’s been an exciting year. HOW IS THE LOBBYING BUSINESS CHANGING? I think the lobbying industr y changes with the times. The impact
of the news cycle, everything moves more quickly now than it did before, so we need to be nimble and informed in real time, all the time. There are very few slow periods during the year. There’s constant activity, and it makes for a dynamic work environment. Between the Bloomberg and de Blasio administrations, there are different priorities. But our work style remains pretty consistent in that we take an analytic approach to our clients’ problems and work at all different levels within the government to get them where they need to be. City government is an enormous, complex organization, and that remains consistent across administrations, so in that regard there are a lot of similarities.
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The Woolworth Building 233 Broadway, Suite 710 • New York, NY 10279 212.616.5810 • www.capalino.com • @capalino
We help our clients achieve long-term, sustainable success in New York City. Contact us to see how our award-winning team can help you with: • Agency Resolution + Permitting • Business Strategy • Corporate Social Responsibility • Energy, Resiliency + Sustainability • Housing + Real Estate Strategies • Land Use Planning + Zoning • Legislative + Political Affairs • Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise (MWBEs)
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GETO & DE MILLY INC. RANK (BY COMPENSATION): #9 PREVIOUS RANK: N/A COMPENSATION: $2,342,588.00
MICHELE DE MILLY Principal
TO WHAT DO YOU ATTRIBUTE YOUR SUCCESS? What distinguishes our firm from other firms is a lot of the others on the top 10 list are law firms and pure government relations/lobbying firms. What we bring to the table that’s a little bit different is we have an integrated approach that involves government consulting, community affairs and public relations. We’re very involved with utilizing social media and other digital platforms. We do web sites and e-blasting and advertising. That’s a component of our government affairs activities. It’s a very integrated approach. Another thing that’s distinguishing is we’re very analytical. We’re extremely well-versed in a broad range of public policy
issues that we have worked on for decades, and we work very hard to thoroughly understand the context of every client issue as well as all of the stakeholders involved. We’re very respectful and embrac e the pro c e s s e s that include communities in decision-making in New York City. Because we have real expertise in those processes, we know them thoroughly and we encourage our clients to be responsive to communities, to their concerns and the agendas. We feel that it’s not only the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do. WHO ARE YOUR MA JOR CLIENTS? I would put them into two big categories. First of all, a lot of what we do is not lobbying. We
develop and implement effective marketing and branding and m e d i a s t ra t e g i e s t h a t h a v e no need for us to register as lobbyists, and that’s a good chunk of what we do. As for lobbying, we have a pretty diverse client base, and we always have. More than half of our work has been not-forprofits, and there are social services organizations and education and health care institutions, labor unions. The next big category of client is the land use and real estate issues. Some of those clients are also educational and health care institutions – everybody has a land use in New York, if you’re a property owner – but it also includes all the major developers that we work with, Toll and Zeckendorf and Forest City Ratner and so on.
MERCURY PUBLIC AFFAIRS RANK (BY COMPENSATION): #10 PREVIOUS RANK: #9 COMPENSATION: $2,231,913.93 WHO ARE YOUR MA JOR CLIENTS? It’s New York, right, so there’s always going to be real estate playing a prominent role for any of these businesses on the list. It’s an eclectic mix.
MIKE MCKEON Partner
HOW IS THE LOBBYING BUSINESS CHANGING? There’s no question that it ’s changed a fair amount, and largely for the better. I think it’s gotten much broader. It’s not just about going and doing the meeting. You have to understand the politics, and there are plenty of things you can do from a public affairs perspective that are important to success for clients. Relationships will always
matter, but understanding politics and understanding the environment you’re working in and how to impact that is a lot more part of the effort these days – and I think that’s all for the better. Going in and asking someone for a favor because you’ve known them for 20 years, that’s not a business model, and fortunately that’s more and more in the rearview mirror. That’s the stigma attached to the industry, and fortunately from my perspective, it’s less and less the reality. DOES IT CHANGE FROM MAYOR TO MAYOR, OR MORE SPE CI F I CALLY, F R O M T H E BLOOMBERG ADMINISTRATION TO THE DE BLASIO
ADMINISTRATION? No. Personalities change, people change, the skill sets of the people you’re working with change. I have great respect for the people inside the Bloomberg administration. They cared very much about the jobs they did, and I find the de Blasio administration equally as passionate about the work that they do and the city they serve. Everything is different based on individuals – some people are stronger, smarter, better than others – but no, I don’t think there’s any real difference. WHAT ’S THE BEST PART OF YOUR JOB? Trying to figure out solutions.
READING THE TRUMP PLAYBOOK A Q&A WITH WAYNE BARRETT
Legendary investigative reporter Wayne Barrett spent almost 40 years sifting through dirt and making enemies of politicians while working at The Village Voice. Now, with Donald Trump in the spotlight more than ever, Barrett is re-releasing his 1991 book on the bellicose businessman – “Trump: The Deals and the Downfall” – with a new introduction and a new title: “Trump: The Greatest Show on Earth.” Barrett sat down with Opinion Editor Nick Powell and Editor-at-Large Gerson Borrero to talk about the Donald.
“I USED TO GO TO A FUNDRAISER AND THERE’D BE 200 PEOPLE FROM ONE END OF THE ROOM TO THE OTHER AND I’D SAY, ‘EVERY ONE OF THEM HATES ME . I FEEL SO GOOD ABOUT IT!’” C&S: When Trump first entered the race, were you like the rest of the political observers in thinking that this was just another publicity-fueled campaign that would ultimately end in ignominy for Trump? Or did you see it for what it would become? WB: I don’t think Donald thought it was going to be what it is! Roger Stone, who has been involved in a variety of dirty tricks in presidential campaigns for many years, he and Donald cooked up this candidacy. I don’t think they cooked it up with any idea of how big it would become. It was either a scam or a grudge or some combination thereof. But it seems to me, to start out, the No. 1 objective was get his name out there in a big way, attack a few Mexicans. But it rolled into something so much bigger. Once it became a legitimate
campaign for the presidency they had to create this artifice that Roger wasn’t running it anymore. The way it started out, I didn’t think it would be a real campaign, I didn’t think it would last for long. It certainly has lasted for long. I’m still not sure if it’s a real campaign! It’s extremely successful for an unreal campaign. C&S: Has the media made it successful? Or is it the vulnerability of the Grand Old Party that it caught itself being so preoccupied with being obstructionist to the president for the past seven and a half years? WB: This is a race campaign. Through and through. Whether it’s Mexicans, blacks, Muslims, whatever. It’s a race campaign. He hit a chord. Lee Atwater did the Southern Strategy how many
years ago. But the undercurrent of the Republican Party – not too deep under – for many decades it’s trying to be the white party of America. So this campaign has just made it extremely explicit. One of the things that I point out in the intro of the new book: I would sit here and watch Dana Bash and Jake Tapper election night after election night early in this campaign saying, “How remarkable it is that a kid from Queens is winning in Alabama! And winning in Louisiana!” You know, there are 11 (former) Confederate States in the United States and the only one he didn’t win was Texas. Ted Cruz happens to come from Texas! So he won 10 out of 11 Confederate states. A kid from Queens! What could it be? What could it be? Stating the obvious is too difficult for a broadcast journalist. It’s just too difficult. So no one ever said the obvious. But the obvious is that this is a race button that Donald has pushed. Look, he thought he was going to run in 2012 and what button did he push? The birther button. He’s understood this for a long time. He thought he might run for mayor in ’89 when he did the ads about the death penalty in the Central Park jogger case. He’s had one move to the basket. And it’s race. And he understood that this was supposed to be a subliminal message. Not too subliminal. But a subliminal message
of the Republican Party. The Southern Strategy nationwide. But he’s made it extremely specific and I think that is the single factor. … It was never the outsider – I’m not saying there aren’t some people who vote for him out of the outsider thing – but the core message that he has conveyed, from the very outset of this campaign: You step up to the mic, you ride the escalator down, and the first words out of your mouth are “Mexican rapists,” it’s not difficult to find out what pathway this is. It’s really not difficult. C&S: After the book was published, did he ever threaten any legal action? WB: Oh, before it was published! When I signed it, we were all very concerned about libel. I went through probably three weeks of libel review with the Harper (publishing) lawyers. I can’t remember if he talked directly to me, or just to Harper. But I know his position was, “I’m going to sue unless you take the word ‘downfall’ off the cover.” That one word. I had 25 mob associations in the book. He didn’t give a damn! I accuse him of every conceivable crime, doesn’t give a damn. “Just don’t say I’m a failure.” To listen to the full interview on the New York Slant podcast, visit NYSlant.com.
m o c . t Slan
s ’ K R O Y W E N mier source pre N O I N I P O r fo . S I S Y L A N A d an Be part of the Insiders’ conversation. Subscribe to be a City & State Insider to get daily op-eds, buzz, news and more. Subscribe at CityandStateNY.com/INSIDER
2/19/16 4:07 PM
Thursday, May 19th 8:00am - 11:00am 3 We st Clu b, 3 We st 51 st St , Ne w York , N Y 1 0 0 1 9 Presented by:
Convene with public health officials, hospital administrators, healthcare providers, and innovators from both the public and private sectors to discuss important topics in health care.
Deputy Mayor Herminia Palacio
Transitioning to Value-Based Health Care:
Yevgeniy Feyman, Deputy Director, Health Policy, The Manhattan Institute (Moderator) Assembly Member Richard Gottfried, Chair, Committee on Health Karen M. Ignagni, President and Chief Executive Officer, EmblemHealth Dr. Ram Raju, President & CEO, NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation
Innovation in Health Care:
Patrick J. Roohan, Director, Office of Quality and Patient Safety, New York State Department of Health Luke Forster-Broten, Product Innovation Team, Surescripts Ron Vianu, CEO, Spreemo
Healthcare for New Yorkâ€™s Vulnerable Populations:
Mark Wagar, President, Heritage Medical Systems (Moderator) Louise Cohen, President of The Primary Care Development Corporation Joe Baker, President of the Medicare Rights Center
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