Bill de Blasio’s Wife Spends $2 Million on Staff While City Projects 22,000 Municipal Layoffs
In New York City unemployment is up, tax revenues are down, and nearly a half of a million citizens who fled during the pandemic may never come back. But despite that all, life is going on as usual for Bill de Blasio and his wife Chirlane McCray.
According to Fox News:
There’s no money for regular trash pickups or to maintain city parks, but Mayor Bill de Blasio’s wife enjoys a 14-member staff — including a $70,000 videographer who captured her baking cookies during the pandemic.
Some of the Chirlane McCray staffers, who cost city taxpayers nearly $2 million a year combined, work for the first lady’s $1.25 billion mental health initiative ThriveNYC, which has come under fire for its lack of metrics.
McCray has a core team of eight staffers. This is despite the city facing layoffs of 22,000 municipal workers over the coronavirus-induced budget crisis.
There’s a $117,000-a-year speechwriter, even though McCray held that same position under former Mayor David Dinkins, and a $150,000-a-year senior adviser who was recruited in April after de Blasio announced a hiring freeze to help close a $7 billion deficit caused by the coronavirus.
But she has at least six other city employees deputized to her office from other public agencies. That makes a robust roster of 14 staffers– double the amount she had in 2018.
Not deterred by his wife’s inability to account for hundreds of millions of dollars while running the ThriveNYC mental health project, de Blasio appointed her as co-chair of the coronavirus “Task Force on Racial Inclusion and Equity” earlier in the year. In the words of de Blasio, the purpose of the panel was do address “structural racism that is obviously present in the realities we are facing with this disease” – whatever that means.
The appointment came amid rumors that McCray is planning to run for the presidency of New York’s Brooklyn borough.
A month after McCray’s appointment, the city’s politicians couldn’t help but notice that she accomplished nothing. While the task met had been meeting 2-3 times per week over video chat, they didn’t make a single public statement. Democrat Brooklyn Councilman Antonio Reynoso complained “The time for task forces and talk is over. The budget is due in a month, the city is supposed to start reopening in the coming weeks, and all we hear are crickets from City Hall.”
If the task force actually has accomplished anything since, they haven’t made much of an effort to get the word out.