David Paterson doesn’t like ineptitude. In fact, he abhors it so much that he’s going to go ahead andÂ gut the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. (LMDC) this summer.
According to the New York Post, Gov. Paterson will slash the 35-person staff — which reaps a combined annual salary of around $3 million — down to a crew of just five. The reason for this drastic measure: The LMDC hasn’t doled out $540 million of the $3 billion in federal funds it was created to dispense, and it has yet to carry out one of its primary duties, the demolition of the former Deutsche Bank building.
The LMDC’s critics, which not so shockingly include one of its own board members, say the corporation has devolved into a money-sucking bureaucracy with only one goal in mind: to justify its own preservation.
Gov. Paterson hopes that this slash-and-burn will jolt the corporation into action, compelling those still left standing after the shakeup to put the remaining Congress-allocated cash to good use in the rejuvenation of Lower Manhattan. This includes paying off cost overruns of the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, funding a planned performing-arts center, and giving money to non-profit groups and small businesses.
In fact, the LMDC still has $4 million in its coffers that is supposed to be dispensed in $25,000 increments as grants to local small businesses. And, according to a recent Community Board 1 survey, a whopping 66 percent of local small business owners didn’t even know they were eligible for these grants.
Sounds like the LMDC still has a whole lot of work to do — and pretty soon it’ll have 30 fewer people to do it.