Jacques Jiha works as the commissioner of the New York City department of finance. The agency leadership consists of a finance commissioner, first deputy commissioner, the chief of staff, and ten more individuals. The agency is responsible for the collection of revenues in the city valuation of properties. More functions of the DOF include recording property-related documents, administration of exemption programs, adjudication of and collection of parking tickets, and maintenance of the City’s treasury. The DOF also supports the NYC banking commission with administrative functions and controls the New York City’s Sheriff’s Office. One of the agency’s divisions is the Mayor’s office of pensions and investments provides advisory services to the administration regarding New York city’s billion-dollar pension scheme and the deferred compensation plan.
Background of Jacques Jiha
Jacques Jiha was appointed the New York City Commissioner of finance in 2014 by Mayor Bill de Blasio. In the role, Mr. Jiha was in charge of the managing New York City’s finance laws totalling approximately one million properties with a value worth $1 trillion. He leads an agency that collects revenues worth more than $40 billion every year. He also acts in the capacity of the City’s chief civil law enforcement officer and is a member of several other government boards such as the Housing Development Corporation and the Banking Commission. He is also a member of the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission where he currently serves as the interim chair and CEO. Dr. Jiha also advises the mayor on pension issues and acts as a trustee in the TRS, NYCERS, Fire and Police Pension Funds.
Prior to the appointment, Dr. Jiha was the COO and CFO of Black Enterprise, which is a multimedia company involved in properties in print, television, events. He previously served in the New York State Office of the Comptroller as the Chief Investment Officer. His duties involved managing the New York Common Retirement Fund. Prior to that, he worked as Nassau County Deputy Comptroller for Audits and Finances, and as a Chief Economist as the New York City Deputy Comptroller for Budget. He once was the Principal Economist for the New York State Assembly Committee on Ways and Means and also as the Executive Director of the New York State Legislative Tax Study Commission.
Dr. Jiha has appeared in several public service boards including that of McDonald House of New York, the New York State Dormitory Authority, the National Coalition for Haitian Rights, the Haitian American United for Progress, Public Health Solutions, and the Haitian Roundtable. He is a PhD holder from The New School for Social Research, and he obtained his bachelor’s degree from Fordham University. Dr. Jiha is the author and co-author of several academic papers including “The Growth and Stability Trade-Off: An Application of the Markowitz Portfolio Theory to the New York City Employment Mix” in public policies and management and “A Note on Inflation in Haiti: Evidence from Co-integration Analysis” in Social and Economic Studies, March 1995.
The Property Tax System in New York
One of the greatest challenges that faced Dr. Jiha during his tenure as the commissioner of finance is to create a fair property tax system in New York City. The problems with New York City property tax began in 1981 when legislators created a tax system aimed at benefiting small homeowners. The homeowners were then categorized as class 1 who paid an insignificant levy while commercial properties such as apartments were placed under class 2 who paid higher taxes compared to their class 1 counterparts. During that time, co-op conversions were taking place rapidly, and most rental apartments were being converted into tenant-owned cooperatives (Been et al., 2016). Lawmakers needed to encourage assessors who facilitated the conversions to base their assessments on the net income and not their sales value. As a result, they placed coops and condos under class 2 category of properties.
Recently, however, the changes in the economy have resulted in a shift in the system from one that meant good to one that oppresses the poor while benefiting the rich. The low rates on co-ops and condos create a significant variation in taxes paid by New York residents. The prices of houses in booming neighbourhoods have shot up to match the economic times, but the taxes levied on the properties remains almost equal to the ones levied when approximately four decades ago. Consequently, homeowners are paying taxes that are not proportional to the sales value of the properties. The laws of the state require that homes in class one be assessed on 6 per cent of what assessors state as their market value while class 2 rentals are assessed at 45 per cent of the potential rental income.
The system burdens the minority with higher taxes as compared to the majorities, most of whom are homeowners. In 2016, the CBC released statistics showing that family homes accounted for 48 per cent of the total market value of the properties in New York City but only contributed 15 per cent of the City’s total levy. On the contrary, class 2 properties comprised only 25 per cent of the total market value, yet they contribute 38 per cent of the City’s total levy. The high taxes demanded from landlords are in turn shifted to the tenants who are mostly the minorities such as African-American and Hispanic individuals. As a result, there have been a series of lawsuits against the agency requiring the harmonization of property taxes.
During his welcoming speech as the commissioner of the agency, Dr. Jiha acknowledged the inequality in payment of taxes between homeowners and renters and those renters with modestly priced homes sometimes paid more taxes than homeowners with high-valued properties. According to him, equally situated people should be treated equally. He, however, defended the city officials claiming that only legislators had much power on the issue but proceeded to promise to seek a solution to it.
Dr. Jiha has brought significant changes to the Tax systems in New York City since his appointment. During his tenure, he has modernized the City’s and corporate tax laws and reduced taxes for small-scale businesses. The department also has numerous new services to the residents including a call-centre which also serves as tax payer’s advocate office where homeowners can present their issues about taxes., parking ticket pay, and an online property and business tax systems. His agency has also adopted a tax policy whereby homeowners who have experienced mistakes in their assessments and have got proof of the errors. The commissioner referred to the move is part of a bigger plan to transform the agency into a more customer-centric that focuses on taxpayers as clients and not a tax complier. The agency offers the property tax refunds in the form of reduced assessments and checks. The existing tax system places properties into four classes which are subjected under different tax rates.
The City has, however, experienced complaints who have been misclassified and thus had to extra taxes. The courts interpreted the law as an avenue to challenge property tax assessments in New York and also a second chance to the petitioner. In 2018, Dr. Jiha and his team, as well as Mayor de Blasio, formed a new advisory commission. The commission is tasked with the responsibility of developing recommendations to reform the City’s property tax system and make them more simple, clearer, and fairer. Dr. Jiha would be involved in the commission as a non-voting ex-officio member. The Department of Finance in New York hopes that the commission would initiate the process that would end the City’s property tax system inequities.
Types of Leadership
Dr. Jacques Jiha has displayed several types of leadership, but the most common are two. The first type of leadership seen in him is Bureaucratic leadership which is seen in leaders who follow the rules strictly and ensure that their employees also adhere to set procedures precisely. The second leadership approach is transformational, which involves charismatic qualities that inspire eagerness in their organizations, and they empower employees to move forward.
Bureaucratic leadership models are in common in administrative environments where adherence to rules and set procedures are essential. Like autocratic leaders, they expect their team members to abide by rules precisely as stated. The leadership focuses on fixed duties, and each employee has designated responsibilities and thus requires little collaboration and creativity. Bureaucratic leaders work best in organizations or government departments where most procedures are well laid down and with limited possibilities of adjustments. Unlike in the autocratic case, this type of leadership considers employee inputs provided they do not conflict with the set rules and procedures of the organization.
i. Central authority thus effective in organizing
Bureaucracy promotes hierarchy within an organization. The chain of command followed in decision making helps in defining the specific roles for different people in the organization. It, therefore, makes it easy for the management to monitor the performance of employees occupying lower positions in the hierarchy. It strict nature also helps to ensure that duties are carried out in time and systematically.
ii. Supports the hiring of specialists
Bureaucracy encourages the designation of appointed officials with both the relevant education and expertise to perform in a particular agency. The system ensures that bureaucrats have the necessary training and skills suitable for their designation. The matching of offices with skills ensures maximum productivity. The specialization also helps in finding solutions to issues since an officer who gets challenged by an issue receives help from another competent individual in the department.
iii. Eliminates favoritism
Bureaucracy involves regulations and procedures that are followed to achieve results and do not focus on the individuals affected. Bureaucratic leaders make decisions that impersonal and which focus on providing the best results to the organization. As a result, issues of nepotism are rare in organizations that follow a bureaucratic form of leadership. The procedures involved in making decisions require approval from one step to the next and failure to meet the necessary standards halts the process. The same procedure applies to hire and thus allows for merit-hiring and promotion and also improves the level of job security.
iv. It is a predictable form of leadership
Bureaucratic leaders help in creating rules that are intended to create consistent results. The rules and regulations set for all employees work in the way and lead to similar results. Although the features limits individuals creativity, it provides the certainty of achieving desired results and thus, a leader can make promises with confidence.
i. Hinders creativity
Bureaucratic leaders permit employees to use their creativity within the context of achieving the set goals but without overstepping their mandates as prescribed. Leaders are also less likely to consider the opinion of workers since they are following stringent rules. The lack of freedom to be creative reduces employees’ morale, and thus, they are unable to produce to their potential.
ii. Projects take longer time to be achieved
Critics of the system argue that the system encourages time wasting due to long chains of command followed in performing duties. Tasks are carried out in steps, and thus, decisions take time following the procedure upwards and then down to the lower employees. Many decisions require approval and have to wait for the top management to make decisions before moving to the next step.
iii. Causes inefficiency
Bureaucratic form of leadership discourages competition since hiring and promotions are based on merit. Moreover, employees salaries are not based on results, and the functions they engage in are fixed, thus prohibiting them from working outside they stated departments. Team members are also less inspired since they are given a series of quotas which they have to accomplish. Most workers only work to the set limit.
iv. Bureaucratic leaders find it challenging to adopt changes
Since the system is normally built in a manner that anticipates similar results for following particular procedures, it becomes difficult for the organization to desire change (Khannet al., 2015). The world keeps changing, and such leaders may recognize the opportunities for the change, but the system they operate in is not flexible enough to allow them to act. Moreover, adopting new changes requires lengthy procedures that may discourage employees from initiating the move.
Transformational leadership is also called charismatic leadership, and it focuses on clear communication, goal-orientation, and workers motivation. A transformative leader is driven by a commitment to achieve the objectives of the organization. It involves creating a thriving organizational culture through efficient communication. Leaders operating in this system spend a substantial time on the big picture, and thus it requires employees who can work with minimum supervision. It relies entirely on the leader’s personality since they build confidence among the employees. Charismatic leaders train their employees in advance through their ways of operations to enable them to continue with organization responsibilities in the absence of the leader. Transformational leaders push their employees to move out of their comfort zones and deliver to their maximum potential. As the company grows, the leader is likely to raise the targets, which enables the overall growth of the employees as the organization grows. The employees are also encouraged to think critically in order to find quick solutions to organizational issues.
i. Lowers Turnover costs
Inspiring leaders can maintain employees for longer times than other leaders. Their appeal to clients also helps them have a higher client retention rate. Transformational leaders try to satisfy both organizational and personal needs concurrently. They also inspire workers to feel like part of the organization and thus strive to achieve the goals of the organization. As a result, the workers are often engaged, leading to reduced costs of staff turnover.
ii. Promotes creativity and innovation through collaboration
As compared to other forms of leadership that place decision-making responsibilities on the leaders, transformational leadership encourages collaboration, and thus, the leader and the employees brainstorm to arrive at amicable solutions. They work as a team in exploring, generating, and synthesizing ideas and promotes innovation (Listokin, 2017). Transformational leadership encourages employees to participate in leadership roles like setting goals and coming up with creative ideas to help solve any issues that arise.
iii. Enhances organizational change by influencing positive behaviours
Transformational leaders lead by example in bringing change to the organization and thus affect other employees to participate in the process hence helping the organization go through change. Research indicates that transformational leaders facilitate the engagement of employees and their perception of work and causing change to the organization.
i. Can place high pressure on employees
Transformational leadership puts high pressure on the leader who in turn distributes it among employees. While some people may get inspiration, some people may find the constant engagement too much. The increased participation in work activities is also likely to cause de-motivation and burnout in some workers.
ii. Can be risky and disruptive
When change occurs too frequently, it is expected to disrupt the running of the organization, and the negative impact may be severe if the leader takes excessive risks(Hunt, 2018). Before initiating change, it is advisable to verify that the change is the best option at the moment to avoid risks of creating change that is not the best alternative the moment.
iii. It carries the potential for abuse
Transformational leadership might be powerful but may sometimes be abused. Leaders who apply the transformational approach achieve the desired results by encouraging their followers to work towards a common goal and avoid individual interests for a while. If the leader is wrong, all the workers are likely to feel abused for living the normal duties to sacrifice for a wrong course.
Dr. Jiha has been successfully applied concepts of bureaucratic leadership and transformational leadership in transforming the New York City finance department. The two ideas of leadership have impacted his activities in the office, both positively and negatively. New York City follows a bureaucratic style of leadership where all decisions have to follow a set procedure. His capacity as the commissioner does not give him the mandate to effect any changes in the tax system without passing it through legislators. To adjust the property tax system in New York City, the motion has to be discussed and passed in the house. The lengthy procedures involved have prevented the commissioner from overhauling the unfair taxation system even though he has admitted on several occasions that the system needs to be amended.
On the other hand, application of the transformational leadership concepts has enabled the commissioner to formulate a new method of providing tax refunds to property owners who have been overtaxed before. The procedure came as a part of extensive reforms occurring in the system. The collaboration between employees in the department and has enabled the setting of a call centre where an employee can interact with property holders more frequently and attend to their queries. The mayor acknowledged Dr. Jiha prowess in financial matters and was confident that he would cause positive changes in the system. The employees at the agency seem inspired by his charisma, and in the short period they have been in office they have caused reasonable changes which makes property owners optimistic in his leadership.
Been, V., Ellen, I. G., Gedal, M., Glaeser, E., & McCabe, B. J. (2016). Preserving history or restricting development? The heterogeneous effects of historic districts on local housing markets in New York City. Journal of Urban Economics, 92, 16-30.
Hunt, J., & Fitzgerald, M. (2018). STYLES OF LEADERSHIP. Leadership: Regional and Global Perspectives, 62.Khan, M. S., Khan, I., Qureshi, Q. A., Ismail, H. M., Rauf, H., Latif, A., & Tahir, M. (2015). The styles of leadership: A critical review. Public Policy and Administration Research, 5(3), 87-92.
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