New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio recently held a press conference justifying why taxpayers have been footing a $2 million annual bill for the staff of his wife, First Lady Chirlane McCray.
Media platforms have been reporting on the 14-person team she has, even as de Blasio threatens to cut 22,000 jobs due to revenue loss amid COVID-19. The budget gap has not stopped McCray who has nearly doubled her official staff payroll, including at least six full-time workers who don’t appear on her official roster.
McCray is currently mulling a run for Brooklyn borough president and has built a portfolio of work, including a billion-dollar endeavor to improve the city’s mental health services, known as ThriveNYC. She has told media sources she is “thinking about” joining the race, but has not responded to questions about her intentions for that contest.
When asked, McCray’s office provided the names of eight full-time employees who together collect roughly $1.1 million in salaries through the office of the mayor. Her new hires include a $150,000-a-year senior adviser in the midst of the hiring freeze, and a $70,000 videographer who started working for her during the height of the pandemic in early April.
This is not a function of the government at all. The city is in major pain and de Blasio and his wife are using spending resources to make videos of McCray’s ginger snap cookies to post on Twitter. Numerous small businesses are closing, but please, more cookies.
Following the backlash of his wife’s costly payroll, de Blasio cited his wife’s work on mental health and her coronavirus racial inequality task force. “This work is about the needs of the people of this city especially in crisis,” he stated.
Mind you, de Blasio has made comments in the past that there’s not enough money in the city to maintain parks or pick up trash. McCray’s prominent role in her husband’s administration has been questioned about the effectiveness and value of ThriveNYC. The $850 million mental health initiative has operated without much scrutiny or accountability, pointing to budget discrepancies in the hundreds of millions since it was established in 2015.
As the attention on McCray’s mental health program intensified, de Blasio argued that sexism and racism might also play a role in the questions about his wife’s role. Typical liberal response.
“Unquestionably there will be layoffs at City Hall. There’s no question about it for my staff, her staff, everyone,” de Blasio said. He insists the vulnerability of his wife’s aides to layoffs just like the rest of the city workers whose jobs are threatened if the state can’t work through the budget.
De Blasio and his wife are stealing millions of dollars in broad daylight for pet projects that have yet to show its effectiveness, all while they continue to cut EMS jobs. Who can really take the de Blasio team seriously anymore as they embezzle the city with their scams?