Memorial Day weekend brought a drumbeat of bad headlines for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio:
- He’s upsetting even supporters with his tardiness and disorganization.
- The Mayor failed to correctly register the two buildings he owned.
- A big New York Times story blamed de Blasio’s management style for an exodus of women from city administration.
Break these down for me
The first two stories, both from the Post are fairly inconsequential but telling about Bill de Blasio’s troubles.
Supporters upset about his tardiness and disorganization:
The de Blasio administration attempted to keep de Blasio’s emails with five outside advisors under wraps. The administration argued that the five were “agents of the city”, even though there were no agreements of any sort to that effect, and so the Freedom of Information Law did not apply. NY1 sued for access to the emails under FOIL and won.
The emails were finally released Friday. They showed de Blasio friend and then-Ambassador to South Africa Patrick Gaspard berating de Blasio and his team for de Blasio cancelling one call and flaking on another.
Why this matters: Many have criticized Bill de Blasio for his lackadaisical approach to punctuality. His late arrivals have provoked anger in the past and this is another example of him getting in his own way.
De Blasio Failed to Register His Buildings
Though de Blasio campaigns as a friend of tenants and advocate for affordable housing, he’s also a landlord, owning two buildings in Park Slope. And the rules for renting out those houses keep tripping him up.
The city Department of Housing Preservation and Development requires landlords to register their buildings if the owner or immediate family don’t live there. The de Blasio family submitted the paperwork but forgot to sign it, and the Mayor hasn’t corrected that. While the fine is only $500, it’s telling that he can’t get it right.
Why this matters: On the face of it, this doesn’t matter; it’s mostly just about paperwork. However, it’s part of a storyline that has to worry de Blasio or at least his advisors: that the Mayor treats standard rules as beneath him.
Why Have So Many Women Quit on Mayor de Blasio?
It’s this story that is the most directly troublesome, both for the Mayor and New York City. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter if de Blasio is late or occasionally screws up paperwork if he can run New York City well. But if top officials are fleeing his administration, that will make it that much more difficult to run New York City well.
Since de Blasio took office, 31 high-level advisors have left his administration, the Times reports. Of those who have left, 22 are women. Why?
The Times offers a few factors:
- Mayor de Blasio’s management style: several said that important decisions can go unmade for months, languishing in a flood of memos without approval.
- Bill de Blasio’s condescension, lecturing and belittling subordinates.
- A workplace inhospitable to women. As Lindsay Scola, who had previously worked with first lady Michelle Obama, told it, she was treated “like I was a little girl” and the Mayor “knowingly tolerated it.”
Advisors to the Mayor acknowledged the challenges women face in the workplace but these issues extend beyond the women in the Mayor’s office.
Why this matters: ShakingNews knows of numerous projects that have faltered and people who have been frustrated by disorganization and de Blasio’s attitude. The allegations in the Times article add up to a frothy mix of bad news.
Sum it up
Bill de Blasio’s problems are getting in the way of him focusing on the job of being Mayor. He should still cruise to re-election. However, if he can’t get things in order, the next four years will continue to be turbulent.