What Will the Mayor’s Management Report Tell Us About Progress on the De Blasio Administration’s Priorities?
Mayor Bill de Blasio will soon release the Mayor’s Management Report (MMR), an assessment of the progress made by each of New York City’s 41 agencies in fulfilling their respective missions during the previous fiscal year. The MMR includes more than 1,600 indicators. Concerned citizens may find this mass of data overwhelming; to help New Yorkers assess progress on the de Blasio Administration’s policy priorities for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2016, the Citizens Budget Commission (CBC) identifies 10 questions.1 Trend data for each service area is available on our interactive performance data dashboard.
1. Is New York City becoming safer?
As Figure 1 shows, major felony crime increased in fiscal years 2012 and 2013, plateaued in 2014, but then declined in fiscal year 2015. In fiscal year 2016 the Administration made efforts to sustain the decline by increasing resources: the New York City Police Department (NYPD) received a 7 percent increase in funding and a 3 percent increase in uniformed headcount over 2015.2 In addition the NYPD began a strategic shift toward neighborhood-based policing that emphasizes trust building between officers and communities.3
The Preliminary Mayor’s Management Report (PMMR) indicated that four months into fiscal year 2016 major felony crimes exceeded the previous year’s comparable count.4 But more recent data finds the full first half of calendar year 2016 had fewer murders, shootings, robberies, and burglaries (all classified as major felony crimes) compared to the first half of calendar year 2015.5
2. Are ambulances and fire trucks responding to emergencies more quickly?
Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY) response times are critical indicators of service quality, and the Administration has sought speedier responses by adding funds and staff. The average time it took FDNY units to travel to structural fires remained relatively constant between fiscal years 2009 and 2015 – ranging from 4 minutes and 5 seconds to 4 minutes and 11 seconds – despite a hiring freeze stemming from a federal employment discrimination case.6 (See Figure 2.)
After the freeze, the number of uniformed firefighters increased from a low of 10,180 to 10,820 at the end of fiscal year 2016. The PMMR reported that average response times were the same in the first four months of fiscal year 2016 as in the same period in fiscal year 2015 – 4 minutes and 10 seconds.7
Ambulance response times to life-threatening medical emergencies have varied since fiscal year 2009, but have steadily increased since fiscal year 2012 from 6 minutes and 25 seconds to 7 minutes and 4 seconds in fiscal year 2015. This may be related to an increasing workload as the number of medical emergencies increased 14 percent since fiscal year 2012.
To address this, Mayor de Blasio increased the average number of ambulance tours per day from 989 in fiscal year 2012 to 1,057 in fiscal year 2015.8 But the system was recently put under additional pressure when TransCare, a private company that ran 81 of the city’s daily ambulance tours, filed for bankruptcy in February 2016.9 Preliminary data indicate responses slowed in the first four months of fiscal year 2016 by 26 seconds compared to the first four months of fiscal 2015.10
3. Are New York City jails becoming safer for inmates and guards?
New York City’s jails have long been plagued with reports of violence among the inmate population as well as between inmates and guards.11 From fiscal year 2009 to fiscal year 2015, the incidence of inmate-on-inmate violence increased 74 percent, and the incidence of inmate assaults on staff increased 197 percent. (See Figure 3.)
In March 2015 the de Blasio Administration introduced a 14-point anti-violence reform agenda which called for increased programming for inmates to reduce idleness, additional training for corrections officers, and enhanced security camera coverage.12 Additionally, as part of the June 2015 settlement of Nunez v. the City of New York, the City agreed to make further efforts to enhance the safety of inmates including allowing a federal monitor on Rikers Island.13 The Department of Correction’s resources have increased as it implements these reforms: in fiscal year 2016 spending grew 14 percent and headcount increased 22 percent to total 12,458 full-time and full-time equivalent employees.14
Preliminary data suggest that the reforms and new resources did not have the intended effect in the short run. The incidence of inmate-on-inmate violence increased by 13.7 incidents in the first four months of fiscal year 2016 compared to the same period in 2015, totaling 48.2 incidents per month per 1,000 inmates. Inmate assaults on staff remained on par with fiscal year 2015 with 8.8 incidents per month per 1,000 inmates.15 More recent data from the first six months of calendar year 2016 indicate that on Rikers Island the absolute number of inmate assaults on staff was lower than during the first six months of calendar year 2015, but this does not adjust for the likely decline in prison population.16
4. Is the city’s waste being managed in a more environmentally friendly manner?
Two of the Administration’s environmental goals are to dispose of less waste in landfills and to recycle more material (with the ultimate goal of “Zero Waste”). Progress on these goals can be measured by the number of tons of refuse disposed by the Department of Sanitation (DSNY) and by the share of recyclable material collected by DSNY for recycling, the “diversion rate.”
As Figure 4 shows, the tons of refuse disposed have declined since fiscal year 2009. This decline has been evident despite population growth and may be related to multiple factors including lower circulation of print media and more meals eaten away from home, as well as more recycling. The diversion rate of recycled materials hit a trough in fiscal years 2012 and 2013 and has increased since.
Under the “Zero Waste” banner the Administration rolled out an organics composting program and is piloting programs to introduce recycling to New York City Housing Authority buildings.17 The PMMR suggests that the favorable trends have continued – comparing the first four months of fiscal year 2016 with the same period in fiscal year 2015, DSNY disposed of 1.2 percent less refuse and the diversion rate increased 0.8 percentage points, reaching 16.1 percent.
5. Is New York City Health + Hospitals attracting more customers and revenue?
New York City Health + Hospitals (H+H), the municipal health care system, runs numerous facilities and MetroPlus, a managed care organization that caters to low-income New Yorkers.18 In April 2016, in response to growing concern over the agency’s financial viability, the Administration released a strategic plan to transform H+H from a focus on “sick care to public health care.”19 The number of patients the system serves and people it enrolls in MetroPlus are indicators of how well the organization is reaching needy patients and expanding its market share in accord with the strategic plan. The indicators also reflect how much revenue the system is earning and how much progress it is making in enhancing its financial viability.
Although H+H previously reported the volume of different types of services it provided, it was not until fiscal year 2013 that the MMR began tracking the number of unique patients H+H served.20 MMR data show initial progress – H+H served 0.6 percent more unique patients in fiscal year 2014 than in 2013, totaling 1.2 million people in the later year. (See Figure 5). In the subsequent fiscal year, however, the system saw 0.3 percent fewer patients. The PMMR indicates that in fiscal year 2016 patient volume may have continued to decline; in the first four months of fiscal year 2016 H+H served 2.4 percent fewer patients than in the same period in fiscal year 2015.21
MetroPlus enrollment increased about one-third between fiscal years 2009 and 2015 to reach 472,251 enrollees. This growth slowed, however, in fiscal year 2015 in part because much of the previous growth had resulted from implementation of the federal Affordable Care Act, which brought new customers to the health insurance market. Now H+H has the more challenging task of expanding enrollment through increasing its market share.22 Nevertheless, MetroPlus set an ambitious enrollment goal for fiscal year 2016 that relied on expanding coverage to Staten Island and targeted recruitment on Rikers Island of soon-to-be released prisoners and their families.23
6. Is the Human Resources Administration (HRA) increasingly successful at helping people who receive cash assistance gain employment?
The HRA administers New York City’s cash assistance programs designed to help recipients during periods of dire need and provides services to help them find jobs and achieve financial independence. A key MMR indicator is therefore the number of cash assistance recipients placed in a job. As Figure 6 depicts, the number of clients HRA helped to gain employment declined 41 percent between fiscal year 2009 and 2015 while the overall caseload remained relatively constant.
The drop in employment placements derives from key changes made by the de Blasio Administration in 2014 to the cash assistance programs. Eligibility restrictions were loosened such that it is now easier for recipients to remain eligible for cash assistance while pursuing training and education. Additionally, following recommendations by the “Jobs for New Yorkers Task Force” in 2014, the Administration shifted away from making placements in short-term jobs towards longer-term, sustainable positions.24 Both of these reforms depressed the number of short-term job placements but are intended to promote longer-term self-sufficiency.
The PMMR indicated that in the first four months of fiscal year 2016 the decline in placements continued; HRA helped 1,000 fewer individuals gain employment than it did during the same period in 2015.25 The forthcoming MMR may shed some light on whether the changes in policy, now more than two years old, can move the needle on employment as well as enrollment in education and training.
7. Is New York City’s homeless crisis abating?
Since the mid-2000s New York City has experienced an alarming growth in its homeless population: the average daily number of adult families, families with children, and single adults in municipal shelters swelled as more people entered shelters and then stayed for longer than they had in the past.26 (See Figure 7.)
Mayor de Blasio addressed the worsening situation in 2014 with the introduction of Living in Communities (LINC), a rental assistance program, followed by a December 2015 announcement that the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) would be restructured after a 90-day review. The Administration also increased the DHS budget 13 percent in fiscal year 2016 over fiscal year 2015, reaching a total of $1.3 billion, allowing the hiring of 475 new employees27 A portion of this money went toward the newly introduced Homeless Outreach and Mobile Engagement Street Action Teams (HOME-STAT) who engage homeless individuals on the streets and connect them to support services. But a substantial amount of the additional funding went toward rehousing and prevention programs that should directly impact the volume of entries into the shelter system as well as the length of stay.28 The PMMR indicated that all three shelter populations increased in the first four months of fiscal year 2016 compared to the same period in fiscal year 2015.29
8. Is the Department of Education (DOE) better preparing young people for life after high school?
A signature initiative of the de Blasio Administration is the establishment of a universal pre-kindergarten (UPK) program, but the Administration has also invested resources in improving underperforming schools and expanding curricular offerings to make students more college and career ready. Two indicators of this goal are graduation rates and the share of high school graduates prepared for college and careers.
Four-year graduation rates in New York City public high schools improved from 62.7 percent of students in a cohort in fiscal year 2009 to 70.5 percent in fiscal year 2015. This is encouraging, but whether the graduates are prepared for further education and/or a career is a different question. In fiscal year 2013 the MMR introduced a metric that tracks the percent of high school students who graduate “ready for college and careers.”30 In that year, the figure was 31 percent, meaning that 69 percent of the students would need remedial coursework before pursuing a tertiary degree. The preparedness rate increased to 34.6 percent in fiscal year 2015. (See Figure 8.)
For the 2015-2016 school year, which overlaps with fiscal year 2016, DOE funding increased $1.2 billion from $21.0 to $22.2 billion and 2,734 new staff were hired.31 These additional resources, however, were devoted primarily to programs such as UPK and special education expansion, which while valuable, do not immediately impact graduation rates or preparedness of high school students. Graduation and preparedness rates in the upcoming MMR will reveal how the de Blasio Administration’s broader management of public schools is performing.
9. Is the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) increasing the supply of affordable housing?
Mayor de Blasio has given high priority to increasing the availability of affordable housing. He set ambitious “start and completion” goals in the May 2014 Housing New York plan, which calls on HPD to preserve 120,000 affordable units and create 80,000 new ones over 10 years.32
To help achieve these goals HPD hired an additional 129 full time staff over the course of fiscal year 2015, reversing an eight-year downward trend at HPD.33 The City’s capital funding for the agency increased to $419 million, and housing starts jumped in fiscal year 2015. (See Figure 9.)
HPD’s resources were augmented to an even greater extent in fiscal year 2016. An additional 360 staff were hired, and City capital funding jumped to $748 million.34 In addition, the Mayor introduced Mandatory Inclusionary Housing and Zoning for Quality and Affordability policies, which were approved by the City Council in September 2015 and are expected to boost the number of housing starts in fiscal year 2016.
The PMMR showed fewer housing starts in the first four months of fiscal year 2016 compared to the same period in fiscal year 2015. More recent data suggest that HPD did surpass its near-term goal of starting the preservation or construction of 18,000 affordable units in fiscal year 2016. As of March 2016 HPD was also on track to achieve its fiscal year 2016 targeted number of unit completions, 11,708 units.35
10. Is the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) becoming a more responsive and responsible landlord?
NYCHA operates 328 developments that house approximately 400,000 New Yorkers. As part of the Administration’s efforts to improve affordable housing options, it has increased direct financial support of NYCHA’s maintenance and operations. Accordingly, the Authority’s responses to emergency and non-emergency work requests from its tenants are significant indicators of its performance.
For non-emergency repairs, average wait time peaked at 42.5 days in fiscal year 2013, and in January 2013, there was a backlog of more than 420,000 work orders. NYCHA then announced a plan to address the backlog and reduce the average wait for repairs to one week for simple repairs and two weeks for skilled repairs by January 2014 and to maintain response times to emergency requests below 24 hours. A subsequent City Comptroller audit found that NYCHA had failed to achieve these non-emergency targets, but average wait time did decline notably during fiscal years 2014 and 2015.36 (See Figure 10.)
Building on these improvements, NYCHA unveiled a 10-year strategy document, NextGeneration NYCHA, in May 2015. Among other initiatives, the strategy created the Real Time Repairs program in June 2015 to further improve response times. The PMMR showed that in the first four months of fiscal year 2016, response times to non-emergency work requests continued to decline – averaging 13.9 days – just within the January 2014 goal of two weeks. Response times to emergency work requests also declined to 13.8 hours, comfortably below the goal of 24 hours.37 The upcoming MMR will give insight into whether NYCHA is able to maintain these improvements in response times in a period of pressure: more than 143,000 work orders remained open in May 2016, far in excess of the 90,000 orders deemed to be a manageable volume.38
These 10 questions point to MMR indicators that will reveal much about the Administration’s accomplishments, but they do not cover all programmatic initiatives and expansions under Mayor de Blasio. The upcoming MMR should also include meaningful indicators for new efforts, such as ThriveNYC, a mental health initiative launched in November 2015. The Mayor’s Office of Operations, responsible for the MMR, will expand coverage of this and other service areas. After the MMR is released next week, New Yorkers may have answers to additional questions about the Administration’s progress on its core agenda.
Update: Answers to these questions are in a subsequent blog post.
- For more information on the Mayor’s spending priorities, see Charles Brecher, Mariana Alexander and Erik Bagwell, Where is the Money Going? Mayor de Blasio’s Spending Priorities (Citizens Budget Commission, June 2016), www.cbcny.org/sites/default/files/REPORT_MAYOR_06032016_2.pdf.
- New York City Office of Management and Budget, Fiscal Year 2017 Adopted Budget: Budget Function Analysis (June 15, 2016), p. 3, www.nyc.gov/assets/omb/downloads/pdf/adopt16-bfa.pdf.
- William J. Bratton, The NYPD Plan of Action and the Neighborhood Policing Plan: A Realistic Framework for Connecting Police and Communities, (New York Police Department, June 2015), www.nyc.gov/html/nypd/html/home/POA/pdf/Plan-of-Action.pdf.
- New York City Mayor’s Office of Operations, Preliminary Mayor’s Management Report (February 2016), p. 46, www.nyc.gov/assets/operations/downloads/pdf/pmmr2016/2016_pmmr.pdf.
- New York City Police Department, “Violence Continues Its Downward Trend in NYC” (press release, August 4, 2016) http://nypdnews.com/2016/08/violence-continues-its-downward-trend-in-nyc.
- As uniformed headcount declined due to attrition, the FDNY increasingly relied on overtime to maintain staffing and performance. FDNY overtime grew from $169 million in fiscal year 2009 to $353 million in fiscal year 2013. For more on the court case, see: U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, “U.S. v. City of New York (FDNY)” (updated July 25, 2015), www.justice.gov/crt-fdny/overview.
- New York City Mayor’s Office of Operations, Preliminary Mayor’s Management Report (February 2016), p. 53,
- New York City Mayor’s Office of Operations, Preliminary Mayor’s Management Report (February 2016), www.nyc.gov/assets/operations/downloads/pdf/pmmr2016/2016_pmmr.pdf.
- The Council of the City of New York, Committee on Fire and Criminal Justice Services, Report on the Fiscal 2017 Preliminary Budget and the Fiscal 2016 Preliminary Mayor’s Management Report: Fire Department (March 10, 2016), http://council.nyc.gov/html/budget/2017/pre/057-FDNY.pdf.
- New York City Mayor’s Office of Operations, Preliminary Mayor’s Management Report (February 2016), p. 54, www.nyc.gov/assets/operations/downloads/pdf/pmmr2016/2016_pmmr.pdf.
- The Editorial Board, “Imagining a Rikers Island With No Jail,” The New York Times (February 24, 2016), www.nytimes.com/2016/02/24/opinion/imagining-a-rikers-island-with-no-jail.html.
- The Council of the City of New York, Committee on Fire and Criminal Justice, Report on the Fiscal 2017 Preliminary Budget and the Fiscal 2016 Preliminary Mayor’s Management Report: Department of Correction (March 10, 2016), http://council.nyc.gov/html/budget/2017/pre/072-Department%20of%20Correction.pdf.
- Benjamin Weiser, “New York City Settled Suit Over Abuses at Rikers Island,” The New York Times (June 22, 2015), www.nytimes.com/2015/06/23/nyregion/new-york-city-settles-suit-over-abuses-at-rikers-island.html.
- New York City Office of Management and Budget, Fiscal Year 2017 Adopted Budget: Budget Function Analysis (June 15, 2016), pp. 142-161, www.nyc.gov/assets/omb/downloads/pdf/adopt16-bfa.pdf.
- New York City Mayor’s Office of Operations, Preliminary Mayor’s Management Report (February 2016), pp. 63-64, www.nyc.gov/assets/operations/downloads/pdf/pmmr2016/2016_pmmr.pdf.
- Samantha Schmidt, “City Report Suggests Progress in Effort to Curb Violence at Rikers Island,” The New York Times (August 2, 2016), www.nytimes.com/2016/08/03/nyregion/rikers-island-inmates-correction-officers.html.
- City of New York, Office of the Mayor, OneNYC: 2016 Progress Report (April 2016), pp. 119-124, www.nyc.gov/html/onenyc/downloads/pdf/publications/OneNYC-2016-Progress-Report.pdf.
- The Council of the City of New York, Committee on Mental Health, Developmental Disability, Alcoholism, Substance Abuse and Disability Services, Report on the Fiscal 2017 Budget: New York City Health + Hospitals (May 10, 2016), http://council.nyc.gov/html/budget/2017/ex/hhc.pdf.
- City of New York, Office of the Mayor, One New York – Health Care For Our Neighborhoods: Transforming Health + Hospitals, www.nyc.gov/assets/home/downloads/pdf/reports/2016/Health-and-Hospitals-Report.pdf. “Unique patients” refers to an unduplicated count of all inpatients and outpatients that visited an H+H facility within a 12 month period. It is a count of the number of unique individuals, not of admissions and visits.
- New York City Mayor’s Office of Operations, Preliminary Mayor’s Management Report (February 2016), p. 147, www.nyc.gov/assets/operations/downloads/pdf/pmmr2016/2016_pmmr.pdf.
- Bob Hennelly, “Bleeding Money: In Time of Transformation, New York City’s Public Hospital System Faces Funding Crisis,” City & State (March 7, 2016), p. 27, https://issuu.com/cityandstate/docs/cs_030716_all?e=4004074/33988747.
- The Council of the City of New York, Committee on Mental Health, Developmental Disability, Alcoholism, Substance Abuse and Disability Services, Report on the Fiscal 2017 Budget: New York City Health + Hospitals (May 10, 2016), http://council.nyc.gov/html/budget/2017/ex/hhc.pdf; and City of New York, One New York: Health Care for Our Neighborhoods: Transforming Health + Hospitals (April 2016), www.nyc.gov/assets/home/downloads/pdf/reports/2016/Health-and-Hospitals-Report.pdf.
- City of New York, Jobs for New Yorkers Task Force: Workforce Development Re-imagined (May 2014), www.nyc.gov/html/ohcd/downloads/pdf/jobs_for_nyers_task_force_flyer.pdf; and City of New York, Office of the Mayor, “Mayor de Blasio Announces ‘Jobs for New Yorkers’” (May 20, 2014), http://www1.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/news/233-14/mayor-de-blasio-jobs-new-yorkers-#/0.
- New York City Mayor’s Office of Operations, Preliminary Mayor’s Management Report (February 2016), p. 153, www.nyc.gov/assets/operations/downloads/pdf/pmmr2016/2016_pmmr.pdf.
- “Adult families” refers to married couples, domestic partners, or partners where one individual is dependent on the other such as siblings.
- New York City Office of Management and Budget, Fiscal Year 2017 Adopted Budget: Budget Function Analysis (June 15, 2016), p. 124, www.nyc.gov/assets/omb/downloads/pdf/adopt16-bfa.pdf.
- New York City Mayor’s Office of Operations, “HOME-STAT” (August 25, 2016), http://www1.nyc.gov/site/operations/projects/HomeStat.page.
- New York City Mayor’s Office of Operations, Preliminary Mayor’s Management Report (February 2016), p. 171, www.nyc.gov/assets/operations/downloads/pdf/pmmr2016/2016_pmmr.pdf.
- The “College Readiness Index” aligns with the standards by which a student would not be required to engage in remedial coursework in a post-high school diploma program, as set out by the City University of New York.
- City of New York, Office of Management and Budget, Financial Plan Fiscal Years 2016-2020 (June 2016), www.nyc.gov/assets/omb/downloads/pdf/adopt16-fp.pdf, and The Financial Plan of the City of New York: Full-Time and Full-Time Equivalent Staffing Levels – Adopted 2017 Financial Plan (June 2016), www.nyc.gov/assets/omb/downloads/pdf/adopt16-stafflevels.pdf.
- City of New York, Office of the Mayor, Housing New York: A Five-Borough, Ten-Year Plan (May 2014), www.nyc.gov/html/housing/assets/downloads/pdf/housing_plan.pdf.
- The Council of the City of New York, Committee on Housing and Buildings, Report on the Fiscal 2017 Preliminary Budget and the Fiscal 2016 Preliminary Mayor’s Management Report – Department of Housing Preservation and Development, (March 3, 2016), http://council.nyc.gov/html/budget/2017/pre/806%20-%20Housing%20Preservation%20and%20Development.pdf.
- The Council of the City of New York, Committee on Housing and Buildings, Report on the Fiscal 2017 Preliminary Budget and the Fiscal 2016 Preliminary Mayor’s Management Report – Department of Housing Preservation and Development (March 3, 2016), http://council.nyc.gov/html/budget/2017/pre/806%20-%20Housing%20Preservation%20and%20Development.pdf; and City of New York, Office of Management and Budget, Message of the Mayor: City of New York Executive Budget Fiscal Year 2017, (April 2016), p. 170, www.nyc.gov/assets/omb/downloads/pdf/mm4-16.pdf.
- City of New York, Office of the Mayor, “Mayor de Blasio: NYC Sets Affordable Housing Record, Highest Production Since 1989” (press release, July 26, 2016), www1.nyc.gov/site/housing/news/07-26-16.page. The “production” figures include about 5,000 units preserved at Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village through an agreement keeping or restoring units under rent regulation.
- Office of the Comptroller, City of New York, Audit Report on the New York City Housing Authority’s Maintenance and Repair Practices (July 13, 2015), http://comptroller.nyc.gov/wp-content/uploads/documents/FK14_102A.pdf.
- New York City Mayor’s Office of Operations, Preliminary Mayor’s Management Report (February, 2016), p. 262, www.nyc.gov/assets/operations/downloads/pdf/pmmr2016/2016_pmmr.pdf.
- The New York City Housing Authority, “NYCHA Metrics” (August 25, 2016) https://eapps.nycha.info/NychaMetrics/Charts/PublicHousingChartsTabs/?section=public_housing&tab=tab_repairs.