Both City Comptroller John Liu and United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew have had a rough year in the press. Liu has been dogged by questions over alleged campaign finance practices as he runs for mayor, while Mulgrew faced a sex scandal and has been accused of stalling teacher evaluation negotiations. So it was odd to see both men standing with former President Bill Clinton at the center of one the better financial stories of the year when they announced a pledge of $1 billion of teacher pension fund money toward investment in post-hurricane reconstruction.
“In times of great need we need great ideas and that’s exactly what this is,” said Liu, who called the plan to use public pension funds toward rebuilding the city and creating well-paying jobs a “winning trifecta.”
Liu and Mulgrew worked out much of the details of the arrangement, which was part of a multi-year pension commitment the Clinton Global Initiative has spurred among other unions for several years. Mulgrew said that more than 10,000 of his members live in red zones affected by the hurricane’s devastation.
“Teachers always take care of their communities,” he said. “It is especially joyful we are able to do this with our own pension funds to help the public.”