DC 37 Pushes Budget Agenda at City Council Hearing

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Belinda Medina, vice president of Municipal Hospital Employees Local 420, left, and Judith Arroyo, president of United Federation of Nurses and Epidemiologists Local 436, testify before the City Council Finance Committee on May 25. John Hyslop, president of Queens Library Guild Local 1321, and Fran Schloss, president Local 1757, which represents assessors and assistant assessors, also testified. Photo: Alfredo Alvarado

By ALFREDO ALVARADO

As the deadline to approve Mayor Bill de Blasio’s $84.6 billion proposed budget for 2018 draws closer, four leaders from District Council 37 appeared before the City Council’s Finance Committee to advocate for more funds to expand city services.

John Hyslop, president of Queens Library Guild Local 1321, pressed for more funding to modernize the libraries’ dated computers and install additional electrical outlets so customers can recharge their electronic devices and use their laptops.

“The public wants better services in their libraries and we want the resources to provide those services,” said Hyslop, at the committee’s hearing on May 25.

The network of libraries continues to provide an array of services for New Yorkers from adult literacy classes to programs for children and senior citizens.

Our branches are overflowing,” added Hyslop.

United Federation of Nurses and Epidemiologists Local 436 President Judith Arroyo raised the issue of pay equity for Public Health Nurses, who are employed by the Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene but work in schools. “The salary and benefits of Public Health Nurses who work for the DOHMH is not competitive when compared with those who work for the Dept. of Education,” explained Arroyo. The disparity in pay has caused a difficulty in recruiting and retaining nurses.

Belinda Medina, vice president of Municipal Hospital Employees Local 420, raised the local’s concern over New York City Health+Hospitals’ continued use of private contractors. “There is an ever expanding effort to create a shadow workforce, built with outside contracts,” she told the committee.

The city could collect millions more in property assessments if it hired more assessors to work in the Dept. of Finance and Property Division, said Fran Schloss, president of Local 1757, which represents assessors and assistant assessors.

“We need an additional 80 assessors for inspection of properties, especially now with all of the new construction being built,” she added.

The budget must be approved before fiscal year for 2018 beings on July 1.

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