12:57 pm Sep. 1, 2011
The arrest of former deputy mayor Stephen Goldsmith may simply have been the final reason to dump a member of the Bloomberg administration the mayor and his people wanted to get rid of anyway.
But nobody said so at the time. The stories that came out after his resignation, citing administration sources, asserted (correctly) that Goldsmith's performance in New York had been generally unimpressive, starting with his role in the city's bungled response to a blizzard at the end of last year.
From the Times:
Mr. Goldsmith, a former mayor of Indianapolis, was brought in by Mr. Bloomberg last year with much fanfare: a Harvard professor and expert in innovation poached from the ivory tower to reinvent city government.
But Mr. Goldsmith never seemed to master the day-to-day mechanics of New York’s sprawling government or relish the political intricacies of the job, and dissatisfaction with his performance became widespread in City Hall, according to two aides to Mr. Bloomberg who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of angering the mayor.
There was no mention, in that story or anywhere else, of the fact that Goldsmith had been arrested several days earlier by D.C. police after a heated fight with his wife, a fact that clearly suggests it was the incident that finally prompted his resignation. As noted by one of the reporters on the original Times piece, the official explanation from the mayor's office for Goldsmith's departure at the time was that he was leaving “to pursue private-sector opportunities in infrastructure finance.”
The administration hasn't commented anywhere on today's Post report. The mayor doesn't have any public events, and I haven't gotten any response yet to an email I sent to the mayor's press office.
Looking back, there was at least one hint (in the New York Post) from an "administration source" who said, of Goldsmith's departure, "It's not just the snowstorm. It's more complicated than that."
It looks like the administration's calculation, right or wrong, was pretty straightforward. Goldsmith's domestic incident was personal—it had nothing to do with his job performance and in fact didn't even occur in New York—and they needed to be rid of him anyway. So they'd leave it at "pursue private-sector opportunities," so that a one-day story didn't become a many-day story, and they'd deal with the less-intense burst of media attention the story would get if and when the facts came out later.
The mayor is now facing calls to explain what he knew and when he knew it, but so far those calls are coming from some pretty highly motivated parties.
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, who is looking to set himself up to run for mayor in 2013, said in a public statement, "New Yorkers deserve a full airing of the facts known to the Administration."
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, who is also interested in running, said he wants "a full accounting" of what Bloomberg and his aides "knew and when they knew it. 'No comment' is not an acceptable response."
Bloomberg's closest ally among the prospective mayoral candidates, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, has yet to comment on the incident. It's not clear, nearly a month after the resignation, that she, or the mayor, will have to say much.
UPDATE: Quinn's office released the following statement: "It is absolutely the right thing that Deputy Mayor Goldsmith is no longer in the administration. Facts relevant to his termination should be made public."
UPDATE: City Comptroller John Liu's office released the following statement:"It appears the Mayor was not upfront with New Yorkers. He should take the next opportunity to level with the City about the events surrounding the Deputy Mayor’s resignation."