De Blasio to Bloomberg on Goldsmithgate: New York City deserve your apology and a thorough accounting
Friday, September 02, 2011
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio has sent an open letter to Mayor Bloomberg regarding his handling of former Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith's resignation, the public advocate's office announced earlier.
The full letter is after the jump. De Blasio is the latest in a series of public officials--and assumed 2013 mayoral contenders--to call on the mayor to
apologize and explain his actions surrounding Goldsmith's departure. He is the first to ask for a public apology.
Thursday, September 01, 2011
The fallout has started surrounding today's revelation that a former deputy mayor under Bloomberg resigned after being arrested for domestic violence. And at the front of his media surf board is Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer.
Stringer sent out a statement late this morning saying he was "deeply troubled by the news" that former Deputy Mayor for Operations Stephen Goldsmith had spent two nights in a Washington, DC jail after being arrested after a domestic dispute with his wife. Goldsmith resigned abruptly on August 4. The New York Post reported today that on July 30, Goldsmith had been arrested in Washington, DC, after his wife called the police. The incident, the Post said, was what led to Goldsmith's resignation--not his poor handling of the monster snow storm back in January, as had been the suspicion.
Speaking to the press earlier, Borough President Stringer called on the mayor to give an account of what happened, what the decision making process behind Goldsmith's resignation was, and why the incident wasn't disclosed to the public.
"We have a right to know the circumstances relating to his resignation," Stringer said. "If the resignation was a result of this arrest, then New Yorkers have the right to know that a high-ranking deputy mayor, in charge of oversight of the NYPD, was arrested under some very difficult circumstances."
Stringer was careful not to directly criticize the mayor's handling of the incident, saying that that his office wasn't "picking a fight with the mayor."
"I dont want to characterize the circumstances surrounding the mayor's thinking until i know what it was," Stringer said. "And then we'll go from there."
Marc LaVorgna, a spokesperson with the mayor's office, released the following statement: "We have nothing to add to Mrs. Goldsmith's account of the incident, but it was clear to the Mayor and Mr. Goldsmith that he could no longer serve at City Hall, regardless of his guilt or innocence."
Friday, August 05, 2011
By Bob Hennelly
The quick departure of Stephen Goldsmith, Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Deputy Mayor for Operations, after his a rocky, 14-month tenure marks a major turning point in the mayor's third term.
Thursday, August 04, 2011
UPDATED with analysis: Stephen Goldsmith, the Deputy Mayor who oversees the NYC DOT, 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, was always 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.
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, whoalways seemed to have his fingers on the trigger of his blackberry when it came to operating the city.
Under Goldsmith's watch there was a scaling-back of some Bloomberg transportation initiatives, like protected bike lanes that were to run all the way up First and Second Avenue to Harlem (which Goldsmith addressed in a interview with us here) and a true, physically-segregated Bus Rapid Transit on 34th street. The bikes now stop in midtown, and the BRT won't be built.
To be sure, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has received strong push-back on his transportation initiatives during the period when Goldsmith was Deputy Mayor, and its possible those projects would have been curtailed no matter which Deputy Mayor was overseeing them.
Any criticism the Mayor received about bike lanes (which remain extremely popular) paled compared to what the Mayor heard after mishandling of a December blizzard left buses stranded and streets unplowed for days, responsibilities that had been part of Goldsmith's portfolio. Both men were out of town as the blizzard began.
Goldsmith is being succeeded by Caswell Holloway, the Commissioner of the City Department of Environmental Protection
Here's the press release from NYC City Hall.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today appointed Caswell F. Holloway, who has served as the City’s Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection since 2010, Deputy Mayor for Operations. Holloway replaces Stephen Goldsmith, who is leaving to pursue private-sector opportunities in infrastructure finance.
“As New Yorkers, we were extraordinarily lucky to have Steve Goldsmith make our City government more innovative and efficient,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Just as he did at DEP, Cas Holloway is going to jump right in, and build on everything that Steve has been able to accomplish and continue the progress he has made in reforming our government and making it work better.”
“This week, I informed the Mayor of my decision to resign my job as Deputy Mayor of Operations,” said Deputy Mayor Goldsmith. “This job has been a special opportunity to contribute to the City of New York and further the substantial accomplishments of Mayor Bloomberg. I am proud of the work we have done over the last year to pass an aggressive budget, and put in place the foundation and plans for dozens of initiatives and best practices that will dramatically further customer service and cost savings in the City. Over the last month, I received important overtures in an area with which I have long been associated – infrastructure finance.
“After thirty years of long hours in public service, the change will provide me, at age 64, with more flexibility for me and my family and a secure foundation for our future. In addition, I intend to continue my academic work and the school year is about to start. Now that we have the ball rolling on our initiatives, I am comfortable that the person taking over for me will do an exceptional job moving things forward. Cas is not just a colleague, but a friend and a person who I trust to take over for me, and whose talents are among the most exceptional I have seen in my public career. He has developed a career in New York, and will accelerate the agenda and build on the progress we have made. It has been a unique honor to be part of the high performing Bloomberg team. City Hall and the agencies are truly alive with the spirit of service and innovation.”
“I am proud of everything we have done at DEP to advance Mayor Bloomberg’s efforts to strengthen our infrastructure, protect our world-renowned drinking water, and make New York City a model for new sustainability approaches, like green infrastructure,” said Deputy Mayor Holloway. “I’m thrilled and honored at the opportunity to come back to City Hall and work even more closely with Mayor Bloomberg on the issues that are so important to the daily lives of New Yorkers. Building on the foundation Steve Goldsmith has built, we will continue to transform City services to ensure that government is doing all it can to work efficiently and effectively for the millions of people who live and work in New York City.”
As Deputy Mayor for Operations, Stephen Goldsmith spearheaded the creation of Mayor Bloomberg’s “NYC Simplicity” agenda, which seeks to transform New York City government to make it more customer-focused, innovative and efficient. As part of NYC Simplicity, Goldsmith launched the City’s shared services initiative, which will save the City $500 million by 2013 through the consolidation of back-office operations such as fleet, real estate and information technology. He developed new programs to improve customer service, such as “Get It Done. Together,” in which the Department of Buildings consolidated approvals and extended hours of operation to speed the approval process, as well as the NYC Business Acceleration team, which will create true one-stop shopping and coordinated inspections for small business owners.
Under Deputy Mayor Goldsmith, the City created new methods to interact with the public and its employees, including “Change By Us” – the City’s new online platform that will enable New Yorkers to team up to transform their own communities. Goldsmith oversaw the development of the update to PlaNYC, including the creation of the City’s Clean Heat program, which will eliminate the use of the most polluting grade of heating oil – No. 6 fuel oil – in the city and accelerate the deployment of new natural gas infrastructure. Goldsmith also was tasked with piloting some of the City’s most complex technology projects.
He also took the reins of CityTime, the City’s automated payroll system, which has now been successfully deployed to nearly the entire targeted workforce. Similarly, Goldsmith created the City’s Office of Emergency Communications, which has made significant strides in implementing the City’s Emergency Communications Transformation Project and reduced the cost of the construction of the City’s Public Safety Answering Center in Bronx by more than $100 million.
As Commissioner, Cas Holloway has significantly cut costs at DEP while improving customer service, reduced planned water rate increases to their lowest levels in years, developed a ground-breaking green infrastructure plan to capture rain water, reduce sewer overflows and save the City $2 billion over 20 years and he ended 15 year-old labor disputes that were hampering the city’s ability to conduct operations effectively.
Prior to serving as DEP Commissioner, Holloway served as Chief of Staff to Deputy Mayor for Operations Edward Skyler and as Special Advisor to Mayor Bloomberg. Holloway took a leading role in the writing and implementation of the Administration’s report on the health impacts of September 11th and led negotiations on 9/11 health legislation that was signed by President Obama. Following the tragic fire at 130 Liberty Street, he led a comprehensive review of abatement and demolition operations that resulted in an overhaul of the asbestos abatement process. He also played a lead role in developing the City’s comprehensive cleanup plan for the Gowanus Canal, and in the passage and implementation of the City’s Solid Waste Management Plan.
Deputy Mayor Holloway graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts from Harvard College and graduated with honors from University of Chicago Law School. Prior to joining the Mayor’s Office, Deputy Mayor Holloway was an associate at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP and Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP and served as law clerk to Judge Dennis G. Jacobs, now Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Prior to Law School, Deputy Mayor Holloway also served as Chief of Staff at the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. He lives in Brooklyn Heights with his wife, Jessica.
Monday, May 16, 2011
By Bob Hennelly
New York City Fire Commissioner Sal Cassano told a City Council panel Monday that Mayor Michael Bloomberg's plan to cut 20 fire companies will negatively impact every single council district. He blamed both federal and state cut backs.
Thursday, April 28, 2011
(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation) Once, NYC Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan spoke with elation of a planned protected bikeway all the way from New York's Battery at the southern tip of Manhattan up to Harlem. "With this one project alone which will go from lower Manhattan all the way to 125street on First and Second Avenues, we will be putting in 160 blocks of protected bike lanes which will nearly double the citywide total in just one year," she told WNYC's Brian Lehrer.
But first Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith -- maybe -- put the kibosh on the plan (listen to the audio and judge for yourself) above 34th street. The official word was there wasn't time to build the lanes in 2010 because of construction schedules. Then, later in the year, the commissioner cast doubt on whether the protected lanes would be extended in 2011.
Now comes a plan from NYC with protected bike lanes for another 15 blocks on First Avenue, and then so-called "shared bike lanes" -- not segregated from traffic, up to the East 50s. The diminished plan comes amidst protest by a loud but significant and influential minority of New Yorkers (polls show about a third don't like the miles of lanes installed by the city) including editorializing against the lanes in the city's boisterous tabloids, The New York Post and The New York Daily News, and a lawsuit backed by the the former city transportation director, now a private citizen living along one of the lanes (and her husband, the U.S. Senator, Charles Schumer.)
Commissioner Sadik-Khan once said the protected bike lanes were a necessary precondition for bike share in New York City, but the city is moving ahead with a bike share plan for some 10,000 bikes for 2012.
The new plan is being circulated for comment among community groups, and was first unveiled last night. (Hat tip: Streetsblog.)
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Monday, January 10, 2011
By Azi Paybarah
Some information is already coming out about the city's response to the 2010 blizzard.
Among the questions City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said she wants answered was why the city did not call a snow emergency.
In his opening remarks to the City Coucnil, Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith provided an answer. He said he and others feared that calling a snow emergency would put more cars on the street.
Also, in his opening remarks, Goldsmith said half of the city's sanitation trucks do not have radios, slowing down the information flow between drivers in the field and management back at headquarters.
As one political operative noted, it's a striking digital divide, considering some people in government are walking around with iPads.
Monday, January 03, 2011
Next Monday, the New York City Council will hold hearings into how the mayor's administration took nearly a week to clear city streets after a Christmas weekend snow storm.
"Did we just completely underestimate the storm and after that, when we realized how bad it is, what was the change up from the original plan" asked Jumaane Williams, chairman of the Oversight and Investigations Committee. His committee, and three others, are holding hearings into the matter.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
By Kate Hinds
NJ Governor Christie says extending the #7 subway across the Hudson is “a much better idea” than the ARC tunnel, but he hasn't yet spoken to Mayor Bloomberg about it. (AP via New York Times)
Traffic fatalities in NYC are at an all-time low, but pedestrians make up the majority of those killed. (NY1)
NYC transportation commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan is one of Esquire Magazine's "15 Genuises Who Give Us Hope."
Talk about paving roads with good intentions: as BART extends to San Jose, "construction crews plan to use at least 250,000 old tires, ground up into 3-inch chunks and laid under large sections of the tracks, to act as shock absorbers, reducing vibration and noise along the route." (San Jose Mercury News)
London's iconic bus--the Routemaster--is getting updated. "The new bus has three doors: joining the single rear entrance are a front and a side door. There are also two staircases, solving a major congestion problem, and a source of missed stops on full buses." (Wired - Autopia)
Do electric cars spell cash or calamity for utility companies? "Plugged into a socket, the Nissan Leafs and Chevrolet Volts can draw as much energy from the grid as a small house." (The Takeaway)
NYC deputy mayor Steven Goldsmith is on today's Brian Lehrer Show.
With all the news about new TSA screening procedures, the Washington Post has assembled a good, sober guide of what to actually expect at the airport. This Saturday Night Live video takes a more...whimsical approach:
Monday, October 04, 2010
(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation) Matt D. wrote on Friday about Indianopolis's flirtation with privatizing its on-street parking. Turns out former Indy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith, now the Deputy Mayor of NYC, is eying it too, as first reported in the New York Post. But his boss, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, sounded a little iffy about the idea at a press conference on Governor's Island, in the NY Harbor.
"We're trying to think outside the box and look at everything," the Mayor said, preparing for the big BUT. "What we're not going to do is sell our birthright, take some money to balance the budget toady and leave our kids with a greater liability. If the private sector can do something better than the public sector then we certainly would talk to them. What's generally done with these privitization things is to take all the money for budget balancing, leaving those cities or states without assets and with an obligation going forward. That's just terrible fiscal planning."
Thursday, August 19, 2010
(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation) When I interviewed New York City Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith last week about public versus private transit, he had pretty clearly-thought out views on the matter:
"I think what you want to do right is more transportation and if there’s more transportation there’s more of a role for both TWU [Transport Workers Union] workers to be fully employed, not laid off as we’re facing, and more private transportation as well, and I think one way to think about this is that there are a lot of people living in this area needing to go to a lot of places and we ought to take the most substantial, densest routes and they ought to be run by the government-run transit systems and then the smaller areas need to be serviced by vans or cabs or whatever. So I don’t view it as this or that, I view it as how to increase the whole of transit in the community.
But as WNYC's Matthew Schuerman reports, the economics can get tricky. When entrepreneur Steve Lowry - know as "Mr. S "-- who runs buses to the Poconos, took over an old MTA route, passengers were grateful. But it turns out Mr. S's buses are a bit shabbier, and have drawn a bit more regulatory scrutiny, than customers would have expected with their old X29 bus from Coney Island to Manhattan. WNYC's Matthew Schuerman has the full story.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation) There have been some interesting political alliances in the transportation world -- former Charlotte Mayor Pat McGrory, a conservative Republican, has been one of the nation's biggest backers of transit. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, also a Republican, who has also run on the Republican line, has found himself lauded by scrappy environmentalists who would probably otherwise hang with the far left. But when Bloomberg last spring appointed a former Republican Mayor of Indianapolis -- and adviser to George W. Bush -- to oversee Parks, Environmental Protection, and Transportation, a bit of a frisson shuddered through the transit world. Turns out Goldsmith is a huge supporter of congestion pricing, which he's called "terrific" and "imperative." He loves BRT and has seen it in operation in Curitiba, Brazil. He's studied bike share and thinks it's compatible with the short distances New Yorkers travel. But does he love bike lanes as much as Janette Sadik-Khan? Here's a bit of his exchange with me --
BERNSTEIN: There was some thought -- the commissioner wanted to have bike lanes all the way up First and Second Avenues. And then that plan was pulled back and that was around the time that you were coming and there was some speculation that was because you were concerned about that. Is there any truth to that?
GOLDSMITH: No. Not exactly. The mayor and I are concerned about getting the balance right. How to make the city more livable in a way that doesn’t create ancillary byproduct problems. And how extensive the bike lanes should be and where they should be is a legitimate question. I had a conversation about this with the mayor this morning. You know, he is interested in getting the balance right. He asked me a lot of questions and asked Janette a lot of questions about it, as he should, and I’ll continue to work on it.
BERNSTEIN: That was a very evocative ‘not exactly’. Can you expand on that?
Audio, and full transcript, after the jump.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Steven Goldsmith has been New York City's Deputy Mayor for Operations for six weeks. A former Republican Mayor of Indianapolis, Goldsmith was known for both cost-cutting and rebuilding that city's downtown. In New York, he's become associated with several new initiatives, including wireless water metering, a possible fee for garbage collection, and expansion of the private commuter van industry.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation) It's become de rigeur for major cities to have a sustainability plan -- but one of the largest and most comprehensive has been New York's PlaNYC. The plan has been a driving impetus for New York's bike lane expansion, its conversion of schoolyards to playgrounds, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg's support for converting the Great White Way to a pedestrian plaza.
Now, after importing the former Republican Mayor of Indiana, Stephen Goldsmith, to be Deputy Mayor of Operations (in charge of Transportation, Parks, Environmental Protection, and other departments) , New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is tapping David Bragdon, former President of the Portland, Oregon Metro Council, that greenest of green cities, to run the New Ycrk City Office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability.
Comments, Portland residents?
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation) When, in 2007, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg first signed on to the idea of congestion pricing -- charging private motorists to drive in parts of Manhattan during peak periods -- he took on one of the biggest battles of his administration. Congestion pricing was widely derided by drivers, never gained traction in the legislature and was killed in Albany.
But every idea has its time. In New York and San Francisco, the idea of congestion pricing is getting bandied about again. San Francisco County Transportation Authority holds hearings about that city's plan starting next week. And in New York, Stephen Goldsmith, Bloomberg's new Deputy Mayor for Operations and the former Mayor of Indianapolis, gave one of the administration's biggest pushes for the idea in years, in an interview with NY1 television. (The discussion starts about 9 minutes in).
"It's not just the revenue from congestion pricing that makes it so exciting," Goldsmith told Inside City Hall host Elizabeth Kaledin. "You've got a limited number of transportation mechanisms and different ways to get around ... And congestion pricing causes people to think differently about how they consume those roads and consume those bridges and so it's a very important signal to the populace."
Full transcript here: