In deciding whether to recommend changes in compensation levels, our goal is to make recommendations that are in the public interest and commensurate with the duties and responsibilities of the offices held. Of course, there are many aspects to the public interest.
We hope to learn by listening.
We will be transparent. For example, this memorandum and all our research materials will be digitally available.
Although there will be questions of judgment, to the extent possible, the Commission will rely on data and evidence-based methodology to make its recommendations.
At the outset, there is a lot to learn about the structure of City government, the duties and responsibilities of the various elected officials, prior Quadrennial Commission Reports, and relevant legal and constitutional materials. We will also be obtaining research papers, as indicated below.
We will make all these materials available digitally and invite comments from any who choose to submit them. We also invite comments on this memorandum.
After our initial research, we plan to hold two public hearings to listen to testimony about the relevant facts and about the issues facing us. These will be open to members of the public and anyone who wishes to testify, including elected officials (present and former), other government employees and their representatives, and other stakeholders, including representatives of civic, good government and other public interest groups. We hope that these hearings will involve dialogue between the witnesses and the Commissioners and not just be a passive reception of information and ideas.
Along with understanding the roles, responsibilities and key skill-sets required of the City's elected officials, we will gather evidence and data based on research concerning at least the following subjects, and welcome suggestions on additional data and material we should obtain or analyze.
A. Data Concerning Compensation Levels for City Elected Officials.
B. Data with Respect to Compensation for Persons Other Than City Elected Officials.
C. Cost of Living (in NYC).
D. Additional Research Related to Compensation and Possible Changes in it.
We made the decision that our staff should not be employed by the City. Talented and fair-minded as City employees would no doubt be, there would be an appearance of a conflict of interest given (i) who they work for and (ii) that, ultimately, the compensation of higher level City employees is related to the compensation of the City's elected officials. On occasion, however, we will, pursuant to § 3-601(g), both ask City employees for answers to specific questions and avail ourselves of technical assistance. We will make available digitally answers to those specific questions, as we will with our other research.
The Commission will be assisted by Jeffrey Friedlander, Counsel; R. Kyle Alagood, Director of Research; Laura Kozien, Communications Manager.
Section 3-601 of the City's Administrative Code, which provides for the establishment and operations of the Quadrennial Commission, states that the Commission shall serve without compensation, and that it may hire or contract for necessary staff and technical assistance. To this end, the Commission's budget was the following:
Legal Assistance (Jeffrey Friedlander), $20,000
Research Assistance (R. Kyle Alagood) $20,000
Communications Assistance (Laura Kozien) $5,000
Additionally the Brennan Center for Justice covered miscellaneous costs. The City of New York covered transcription costs for public hearings.
 In our materials comparing NYC elected officials with elected officials elsewhere, we should reference at least differences in (i) population; (ii) number of the government's employees; and (iii) size of the government's budget. In considering population, we should consider the population of the City itself and the population of the surrounding metropolitan area, particularly the number of people who come into the City to work or for entertainment because they add to the need for certain City services.
And in analyzing budgets, we should reference both the expense budget and the capital budget. We should also note the difference between "strong mayor" positions and weak mayor positions. (There may be relevant comparisons with county executives as well as mayors.)