Reporting Stan Brooks
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There’s a new tug of war between Michael Bloomberg and a New York City councilman over whether the mayor should notify the city clerk whenever he leaves the city.
Maybe it was being in Brooklyn, which welcomes you with a sign that says “fugetabout it,” but that was Mayor Bloomberg’s response when asked if he would notify the city clerk whenever he hits the road.
“Which letter of the word no did you not understand?” Bloomberg told CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.
1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks reports from City Hall where Mayor Michael Bloomberg was reassuring New Yorkers that he’s always in control
The question of the gallivanting billionaire’s penchant for weekend getaways was raised anew Monday after The Wall Street Journal reports obtained Federal Aviation Administration records for LaGuardia Airport that showed a Bloomberg corporate jet taking off for Bermuda on Christmas morning and returning the next day, just before the December Blizzard shut the airport down.
In total, the planes have flown to Bermuda 54 times from 2007 through 2010, the Journal reports.
When asked by Kramer if he was on that post-Christmas plane, Bloomberg said, “If you want to know where we were, Stu Loeser puts out a public schedule, which I suggest you consult.”
But that was just the beginning of the exchange.
Kramer: “Why not just say that you were there or weren’t there?”
Bloomberg: “I didn’t say that I was or I wasn’t.”
Kramer: “Why not?”
Bloomberg: “Because the mayor has to be able to have a private life and not disclose where he is. We set a policy day one, we’re going to tell you whenever there’s a public event and I can guarantee that the mayor is always in control.”
“I can’t think of any time in the last nine years when I wasn’t a phone call or e-mail away,” he added.
City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. said he begs to differ with the mayor. He said the mayor may not have to say where he is, but the councilman is working on a bill to force him to require notification of when he leaves — to avoid disasters like the city’s botched blizzard response when both Bloomberg and his top deputy were AWOL.
“I’m looking at a situation more like 9/11 when communications go down. Even if it’s for a short time, if he can’t be reached, who would have the power here on the ground?” Vallone said.
Kramer then told Vallone that Bloomberg said no way to that idea.
“It wouldn’t be the first time we reached a compromise after there was no compromise possible,” Vallone said.
Although he claims he’s never out of touch this may be a case where the mayor is out of step with what the City Council wants.
Vallone said the bill is important because it will affect all future mayors — mayors who may not have their own airplanes and will not be able to come and go as they please.
What do you think? Has the mayor been skipping town? Should he be required to notify the public when does? Sound off in our comments section.