Member Items: Some Districts Getting Gypped

José M. Serrano

July 29, 2010

The Bronx News Network

Published: Thursday, March 25, 2010

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A few weeks ago, state senator Jose M. Serrano introduced a bill that would change the way member items are distributed and called for more transparency in how representatives are spending them. (Member items—or public money generally intended for nonprofits and community needs—have landed a number of Bronx politicians in hot water for alleged misuse).

One aspect of the legislation called for equal distribution of funds to all senate and assembly members. A statement from Serrano’s office at the time of the bill’s introduction said the current system for allocating member item funds is done "disproportionately," with larger amounts going to the majority party…

"Until the system becomes more equitable and transparent, certain districts and organizations will continue to benefit at the expense of others, and that does not make for a better New York," Serrano said in a statement on March 9.