Sunday, December 28, 2014

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NY1 Political Director Bob Hardt's daily look Inside City Hall.

NY1 ItCH: A Mayoral Administration in Slo-Mo

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"Time keeps on slipping – into the future." – The Steve Miller Band

It's been two weeks since Bill de Blasio became mayor and there are still plenty of empty seats in his cabinet. As NY1's Grace Rauh points out: "De Blasio still needs to appoint a health commissioner, a fire commissioner, a sanitation commissioner, a parks commissioner, an office of emergency management commissioner, and a correction commissioner, among others." Grace made that point a week ago -- and all of those posts are still vacant.

It's not exactly like the city is going to run aground if those jobs remain unfilled. And it does make you wonder if New York could simply operate like the hapless jet in "Airplane" with an inflatable autopilot at the helm.

But it is puzzling that the jobs remain vacant especially because de Blasio and his aides have essentially known since the September primary that City Hall was theirs. Given that he's the first Democratic mayor in 20 years, you'd think left-leaning policy wonks would be beating down the door to apply for a job.

The sluggish hiring pace is being replicated on a daily basis when it comes to the starting time of events on the mayor's public schedule. (A since-discontinued Twitter account was created that tracked de Blasio's tardiness and asked "HowlatewasBdB"?) Again, the world is hardly stopping if the mayor shows up 40 minutes late to his own press conference but it does raise questions about whether the city will meet more important deadlines like applying for federal or state grants for pre-K funding or Sandy relief.

De Blasio's contemplative pace is also being practiced on a personal level. It took him more than a month after the election to announce that he and his family would leave Brooklyn for Gracie Mansion but there have been no signs of moving trucks in Park Slope since.

A slow and deliberative style can be a welcome relief from the shoot-first-and-ask-questions-late attitudes of the Giuliani and Bloomberg administrations. But the clock is ticking. Four years may seem like a lifetime but they'll be over before Bill de Blasio knows it. Especially at this pace.

Bob Hardt

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