Lots of things have been vanishing around here lately, like small business storefronts and mass transit reliability. Now we have another: the mayor.
According to a story in this week’s New York Times [“New York’s Vanishing Mayor,” 12-5-18], Mayor Bill de Blasio is less and less available to his department heads, commissioners, and senior aides at City Hall because he’s seldom there. In 2014, his first year in office, he “spent an average of 19 days a month” behind his desk. Since then, however, he’s averaged 17 days in 2015, 14 in 2016, and only 9 in 2017. This year he’s tallied about 10 days a month, dragged down by the rather dubious distinction of showing up just 5 days in July. His favorite day off? Friday. As the Times reported, he prefers his weekend “getaway days.” He’s only worked 4 Fridays at City Hall all year.
One big consequence is that he never sees members of his leadership team. For example, in the past 12 months, de Blasio hasn’t had a meeting with any of these Commissioners:
- Rick Chandler, Department of Buildings (DOB)
- Marissa Lago, Department of City Planning (DCP)
- Richard Silver, Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR)
- Bill Chong, Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) or
- David Hansell, Administration for Children’s Services (ACS)
He also hasn’t “spoken in person” to Cynthia Brann, Commissioner of the Department of Correction (DOC), since he appointed her in October 2017–a stunning detail given his proposal to close Rikers Island and build 4 new jails around the City in the next 10 years.
But, if you assume that means these agencies aren’t essential, think again. Check out the dollars he doled out for each in his Executive Budget for Fiscal Year 2019:
- DOB: $202 million
- DCP: $52 million
- DPR: $509 million
- DYCD: $719 million
- ACS: $2.9 billion and
- DOC: $1.4 billion
Seems like he should meet with their Commissioners at least once a year then, no?