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New law aims to boost transparency of NY's local authorities

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has signed a law giving the state's Authorities Budget Office the power to suspend local authority board members or executive staff for not submitting annual reports.

Previously, the ABO was permitted only to make recommendations and issue public censure letters.

"Local public authorities are responsible for some of the state's most essential services and infrastructure – from transportation to energy to water – and it's critical that they follow the law and fulfill their responsibilities to the public," Cuomo said last week. "With this new measure, we will be able to better hold these local authorities accountable and ensure New Yorkers are getting the top-of-the-line services they pay for."

The ABO can now suspend local authority board members and executives if the annual reports are more than three years late.

Some local authorities have gone years without filing reports. As of July 1, 54 local authorities were delinquent for over three years in filing their reports.

The Public Authorities Law requires the entities that receive public funds to file the annual reports to disclose how they use the funds.

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