John Burnett Announces Candidacy for Comptroller

June 27, 2013

Candidate cites experience managing money, Mayor’s assessment that Scott Stringer “doesn’t really do anything”


Contact: David Laska


NEW YORK CITY… Republican Comptroller candidate John Burnett delivered the following remarks this afternoon on the steps of City Hall:

Good morning. Thank you all for coming. My name is John Burnett and I’m here today to announce my candidacy for New York City Comptroller.

I’m a lifelong New Yorker — born in the Brooklyn, raised in Queens and currently residing in Harlem. I’m running for New York City comptroller and here are my reasons:

1. Good pension fund management matters. Retired city employees count on their pensions and the person responsible for overseeing investments needs to know how to grow and protect money. My parents counted on their pensions to get by in their later years, so I know what it means to people;

2. I know what it means to be less fortunate in this City and I know the path out of poverty. We need job growth in our poorest communities, and that means entrepreneurialism and small business investment. If we don’t have a stable and growing economy in this city, poor people pay the highest price. As comptroller, I’ll increase small business loans among women and minorities, because it’s a great investment. There’s unlimited economic potential in our communities; and

3. I come from a union family. I worked as a cashier at Pathmark during and after high school and I was a union member. But I also realize that unions and taxpayers have to work together to find the right balance. Workers deserve protection, and so do the taxpayers. I’ll root out the hundreds of millions of dollars that the City wastes each year through fraud and inefficiencies. The City Comptroller doesn’t just oversee the pension fund; but is the City’s chief financial officer with the power to audit. I’ll use that power to clean things up. If I step on people’s toes doing that, so be it. My opponent is a career politician. They tend not to step on toes; they go along to get along. You may ask how can I get it done? Well, I’m a government outsider with the guts to seriously promote government accountability and transparency. I do not owe anyone any favors. In the words of Shirley Chisolm, I am un-bought and un-bossed.

Over the next four months, I’ll ask New Yorkers in every community to hire me as their fiscal watchdog. I’ll tell them who I am and how I got here — how I went from selling candy in school and oatmeal cookies as a youngster to overseeing financial advisors and global wealth portfolio managers at the world’s most prestigious financial institutions. I’ve led global compliance initiatives on business ethics, corporate governance, enterprise risk management, audit reviews and regulatory examination.

I have the financial experience and academic credentials for this job, while my opponent does not. I have a bachelor’s degree from NYU with honors and an MBA from Cornell University.

However, my opponent in this race has never managed money. Call me crazy, but, in my opinion, you should have some idea of what you’re doing if you’re going to be in charge of one of the largest pension funds in the country.

As Mayor Bloomberg said about Scott Stringer, “All he does is rush to the steps of City Hall to hold press conferences – he doesn’t really do anything.” The Mayor of New York said that about Scott Stringer and he wants to manage 130 billion dollars of taxpayer money.

My opponent has never even had a job outside government. He’s been on the taxpayer dime all his adult life. That means he’s a part of the system, and, as I see it, the Comptroller should be independent and from outside the system looking in — the Comptroller shouldn’t be a part of the problem.

My opponent has repeatedly supported tax hikes and more government regulation — the things that have made New York the worst place for business growth in America.

In the coming weeks I’ll be rolling out specific plans I can bring to bear as comptroller.

I’ll talk about combining the pension plans into a single, comprehensive plan to save New York millions in administrative costs while enhancing the overall investment returns to ensure that our retirees have the comfort that they deserve in their golden years.

It has been 5 years since the financial crisis; however, the City’s unemployment rate is higher than the national average, while the unemployment rate in the Black, Hispanic and Latino are nearly double the national average. This needs to change. With better fiscal management and vision, we can do better.

This will be a tough race but I am offering New Yorkers the alternative they deserve and a chance to vote for someone that actually has the qualifications to serve as City Comptroller.

Thank you all for being here this morning and I would like to say Happy Birthday to my daughter – Happy Birthday Imani.

Bazzo 06/28/13


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