Government by contest seems to be an accepted approach nowadays.
We see it in programs from President Barack Obama's Race To The Top school competition, unveiled in 2009, to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's latest grant competition for upstate development, proposed last week.
Someday people may wish to take a fresh look at centrally organized, government-sponsored jockeying for funds. Competitive tension is supposed to improve performance. After all, competitive bidding for contracts is considered fair and efficient. At the same time, it allows elected executives to mete out rewards and stay above the fray, citing "objective" data for decisions. Does it work?
MANGANO DENIAL: A still-uncorroborated rumor persists in Mineola that Nassau Executive Edward Mangano would soon leave office to take an appointed post with the state. Mangano spokesman Brian Nevin was asked Friday if the second-term GOP incumbent would serve out the rest of his term -- and whether there have been discussions on another position.
Nevin said in an email there is "no truth" to the 3-week-old rumors. So Mangano will finish his elected term? Nevin replies: "Yes, he has not accepted any position and has no plans to leave."
BOOSTING SKELOS: New financial filings show the New York City Patrolmen's Benevolent Association doling out a total of $3,500 for a reporting period between early December and last week. Of that, $1,000 was recorded as going on Jan. 6 to Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre). On Dec. 29, Skelos -- who like other lawmakers, both Democratic and GOP, has enjoyed PBA support before -- announced public hearings this month focused on the safety of police officers "in the current climate." The PBA also contributed $1,000 to Council Member Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village) in the latest period.
CASH CACHES: Politicians often have money left in campaign accounts after leaving office, which can be used in any number of ways. Ex-Assemb. Vito Lopez (D-Brooklyn) shows $38,960 in one account, and a fund belonging to ex-Democratic Sen. Malcolm Smith of Queens reported a closing balance of $47,300, according to last week's filings. Other filings showed investigated Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan), still in office, spending $30,000 on legal bills. And still-probed ex-Republican Sen. George Maziarz reported some $72,000 spent on lawyers in recent months.