Bloomberg, Dept. Heads Prep For Blizzard Hearing

NEW YORK (CBS 2) — Members of the Bloomberg administration will finally be called on the carpet on Monday to publicly explain how they blew the blizzard response.

CBS 2 has learned exclusively that Mayor Michael Bloomberg and several department heads have already gotten an advance look at the questions.

Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith, OEM Commissioner Joseph Bruno, and Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty will face a city council firing squad Monday. They won’t be blindfolded, though, or blindsided, when they answer questions about the December snow storm, reports CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.

The officials already know many of the things council members want answers to because – in what the council insists has always and for decades been standard operating procedure – the mayor’s people were given 12 pages of potential questions several days ago.

Among the questions on the list are the following:

– Is it true that snow plows can’t operate in snowfalls greater than 20 inches?

– Once you got behind in the plowing, did you have a predetermined plan for catching up, or did you improvise?

With 170 ambulances stuck in the snow and EMS call backlogs rising to as high as 1,300 or 1,400, the council will also want to know if the ambulances had snow chains, and how many people were dead when city personnel finally arrived.

“It’s an open-book exam,” City Councilman Daniel Halloran said.

Halloran said it’s not right that the officials will have the information ahead of time. He said it’s okay to indicate general areas of questioning, but giving them specific questions means “they’re able to cull their answers and basically have stock answers ready to go.”

Mayor Bloomberg, as part of his own prep work for the hearing, met privately at Gracie Mansion Saturday with council leaders. He reportedly offered apologies for his administration’s performance and said it would never happen again.

Council officials say it’s part of their regular procedure to give out lists of questions, like the ones they gave to the commissioners, so those being questioned can’t weasel out and say, “I don’t know, I’ll have to get back to you.”

Council spokesman Jamie McShane explained that the council wanted to make sure the hearings are productive, and not a “cheap shot gotcha session.”

More from Marcia Kramer
  • joe

    When will Bloombergs head roll, he was in charge this falls all on him.

    When he heard about the storm he should have high tailed it back to NYC.

    NJ Gov was called out for being away from NJ why wasn’t/isn’t Bloomberg being called out.

    The press is afraid of Bloomberg.

  • DeltaForce

    Many secondary & side streets in Queens are yet clear of snows – they will all melt by the Spring of 2011 – less salting & sanding, good for being Green and for easing the budget deficit ?? So what a few New Yorkers died in the Blizzard – hello, that’s somebody’s loved one, husband/wife, father/mother, uncle/aunt, son/daughter – go attend their funeral services and explain what happened without an apology. One of the daughter of an elderly man that tragically died while waiting for EMS & FDNY to respond while stranded in the snow after frantically calling 911 said, “he didn’t have to die this way, he could’ve live ….”

  • Rodney D.

    In 1969 Queens residents died due to an unprepared (yet predicted) snow storm under the Lindsay administration. The mayor should have reviewed the mistakes of the former individuals in his position.

  • iluvvhhhhsnow

    there is going to bwe an upcoming blizzzard when

  • Captain Obvious

    A few mid-level scapegoats will get thrown to the wolves. Past that, nothing else will happen. Bloomers will continue on – as arrogant as ever.

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