This is Lynne Patton's fourth workweek staying in New York City public housing. She led her final tour Tuesday at the Fenimore-Lefferts Houses, highlighting poor conditions there.
But it came the day after her boss proposed an austere new budget for the federal housing department, a proposal that would cut around $9.7 billion from the agency, including billions of dollars from public housing.
"I am tired of giving money to an agency that mismanages it, spends over $341 million in overtime," said Patton, the regional administrator of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. "I'm not going to keep going around in circles with you over a proposed budget. It's a waste of time. Everyone knows that's not the final version."
Gross: But don't you think this shows this is not a priority for the Trump Administration?
Patton: No, no. Does that mean that the military wasn't a priority of Obama? In the private sector, this is called negotiating. It's a pretty basic tactic.
Gross: Did you ask for more money? You said you would lobby for more money.
Patton: I ask for more money when it counts, and that's the process we are going to go through now. But I am not going to ask for more money to be wasted on overtime and overinflated salaries.
City officials have fired back, especially City Council Speaker Corey Johnson.
"You always seem to have an excuse. Always spinning. Always casting blame on others. Take responsibility," he tweeted.
"Please tell Corey Johnson to stop being so desperate. I am not going to run for mayor against him. There is no need to be so critical," Patton said. "To me, it's irresponsible, its nothing but partisan posturing and its fearmongering and it's scaring the residents."
To which, Johnson tweeted: "Please tell Lynne to stop showing up for photo ops and to instead publicly condemn this PRESIDENTIAL budget which would severely hurt NYCHA residents."
"I don't really care what Corey has to say," Patton said. "Corey is running for mayor. He has a reason to tweet every day. I don't. I am here to actually get s--t done, and that's fixing NYCHA."
As for Patton's final stay in public housing? She is slated to stay in Brooklyn until Friday.
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