A coincidence in timing has City Hall releasing the results of the Fiscal Year 2005 Mayor's Management Report on the day before Democrats vote on who should try to take Mayor Michael Bloomberg's job. The administration, naturally, points to the numerous achievements suggested by the numbers ("Crime is down . . . Violence in jails declined . . . Student achievement is up in elementary and middle schools . . . The public schools have become safer . . . Recycling rates increased.") as proof that "City agencies succeeded in doing more with less, without adversely affecting critical services."
City Hall acknowledges, however, that, "there is always room for improvement." The stats prove this is true.
Suicides in jails increased from one to five, and findings of unnecessary force by corrections officers leapt from 16 to 27. The average citywide fire response time jumped by 20 seconds. The number of youth programs shrank from more than a thousand to less than three hundred, and the placement rate for youth employment programs slipped by 14 percent. Fewer stolen vehicles were recovered, more people were reported shot, and the number of cops slipped yet again (by 300 officers). The average arrest-to-arraignment time also rose slightly. The percentage of streets with a pavement rating of "good" slipping slightly to 73 percent, the number of sanitation complaints rose by about 20 percent, and the response time to written complaints rose by a day.
It's not exactly a picture of a government in failure, a total collapse of public services, or anything very exciting at all. But it's a grain of salt for use in digesting the stats that the mayor's people, and the newspapers, will highlight.
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