Award–winning journalist Andrea Bernstein is Senior Editor for Politics & Policy for WNYC News. She has previously served as Metro Editor, Political Director, Director of Transportation Nation, and Senior Reporter.
Stephen Goldsmith, New York City's Deputy Mayor for Operations, is leaving after just over a year on the job. Goldsmith will be pursuing unnamed “private-sector opportunities in infrastructure finance.”
Goldsmith, the former Republican Mayor of Indianapolis and a policy advisor to George W. Bush's presidential campaign, was seen as an 'ideas man,' someone who could help the city think its way through problems like how to deliver services more cheaply.
Goldsmith tended to chew on — and address — problems like back-office duplication, how much the city spends on gasoline and whether the threat of increased fees could prompt people to recycle, save water, or leave their cars at home. He helped nurture ideas like giving New York City residents real-time information on the Internet about water consumption in order to encourage conservation and thinking about New York City park spaces as valuable assets.
But the Deputy Mayor for Operations is also responsible for things like garbage pick-up, and Goldsmith never seemed to easily slip into that role, unlike his predecessor, Ed Skylar, who always seemed to have his finger on the trigger of his blackberry when it came to operating the city.
Goldsmith was in Washington, DC when the blizzard of 2010 struck, and though he returned to New York, many traced the city's breakdown in handling snow removal in part to the Deputy Mayor for Operations. Streets remain unplowed for days, buses were stranded and Mayor Michael Bloomberg suffered some of the most stinging criticism of his career.
A city hall press release said Goldsmiith informed the Mayor this week of his decision. It was announced late in the day as the Mayor unveiled a major initiative to end poverty among black and Latino men.
Goldsmith will be succeeded by Caswell Holloway, the Commissioner of the City Department of Environmental Protection.