City Cuts Costly Education Consultants to Save Firehouses

By Ben Fractenberg on January 7, 2011 9:59am 

The City Council negotiated to keep open 20 firehouses that were on the chopping block in the proposed 2011 budget.
The City Council negotiated to keep open 20 firehouses that were on the chopping block in the proposed 2011 budget.
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By Ben Fractenberg

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

MANHATTAN — Mayor Michael Bloomberg saved 20 firehouses by cutting pricey Education Department consultants, the Daily News reported Friday.

The department reportedly paid 100 consultants six-figure salaries, and close to two-dozen more than $200,000, in 2010. The contracts cost taxpayers $200 million between 2008 and 2010, the News reported.

The 2011 budget will cut $4 million in spending on education consultants, which will allow the city to save the firehouses.

"It's utterly ridiculous," Canarsie and Flatbush parents council president James Dandridge told the News. "They pay so much for these computer consultants, and we have schools in our district that don't have working computers. That should be unheard of in this day and age."

One of the consultants reportedly billed the agency at $225 an hour, with fees reaching $516,881 in just 18 months, which is more than twice the salary of the new schools chancellor Cathie Black, the paper said.

An Education Department spokesperson defended the contracts but also said the agency would more closely regulate contracts.

"Given the changing fiscal conditions, we are going to be taking a hard look at all of these contracts," DOE spokeswoman Natalie Ravitz told the News.


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