3:52 pm Jun. 27, 2012
Not so long ago, Michael Mulgrew, the head of the United Federation of Teachers, was warning Council Speaker and 2013 mayoral candidate Christine Quinn that her consultant's ties to a Bloomberg-affiliated charter-school advocacy group might jeopardize his union's endorsement of her come 2013.
"If I’m Chris, I’d be asking myself: Maybe I don’t want to be working with these people who are also working with the mayor to control something that he should have no business controlling anymore,” Mulgrew said.
"Translation: Nice campaign you got there, Quinn," wrote the New York Post's editorial page. "Be a pity if something happened to it."
But today, at a press conference at the teachers union headquarters to announce a new, $600,000 initiative designed to help connect students and their families with health and social services, Mulgrew called Quinn "a great leader in this city" and "a person who always has been there for this union in so many different ways."
Asked if his warm words for the speaker mean he's no longer concerned about her consultant's ties to the charter-school advocacy, NYStudentsFirst, he said, "I was not concerned about them ... I believe that the next mayor needs to make a lot of decisions about education. And, you know, we have a good school system. I want a great school system. And we've had our differences with the current administration on some of their policies. And that's our major concern is, we feel that some of those policies have not worked, and we're looking to have them changed. And today is part of what we're trying to get done."
Quinn has a close relationship with the mayor with whose policies Mulgrew finds fault, and whose chief Albany lobbyist now leads NYStudentsFirst.
A reporter asked whether Mulgrew thought Quinn should end her relationship with the consultant that represents both her and the NYStudentsFirst, SKD Knickerbocker.
Mulgrew's response: "I think that Christine Quinn is a phenomenal leader of the City Council. And I can't thank her enough for her leadership."
The mayor's education chancellor, Dennis Walcott, was also at the press conference, and though he and Mulgrew have been battling over teacher evaluations and the city's discretion in disciplining teachers accused of sexual misconduct, today the two posed for a chummy photo in front of the cameras.
"Listen, sometimes relationships are rocky," Walcott said. "But, as leaders, your job is to … always look for opportunities where you know you can do things that will make things better for those we serve."
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