ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – The latest battle in the war between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio played out Tuesday in Albany.
The governor met with City Council members about the city’s public housing crisis, but the mayor was missing from the meeting.
As CBS2’s Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported, Council Speaker Cory Johnson prowled the halls in search of support for a New York City Housing Authority bailout. But de Blasio wasn’t with the council speaker – or anywhere near Albany, as he pursued a national agenda in Texas and Washington.
That didn’t sit well with Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, who has to sign off on any NYCHA deal.
“You’re the city of New York. My feeling is — you better be here,” he told Kramer.
Johnson came to Albany to negotiate with Cuomo the fine points of a deal to let NYCHA fix heat and hot water issues quickly – something called Design Build – and an emergency declaration that could allow an outside monitor to make sure that state aid is spent wisely.
Kramer asked Johnson if there should be an outside monitor or a change in the mayor’s handpicked management team. He was coy.
“I want to do what’s best for the residents of NYCHA. So whatever is going to deliver results on their behalf… I’m on their side,” he replied.
“Anyone who is in top management at NYCHA should be out, summarily dismissed,” said Flanagan. Because I don’t know how you can come and ask for more money when it’s such an existing debacle,” he said.
When Johnson met with Cuomo, he brought a huge delegation of council members with him — something almost unheard of in Albany — the governor negotiating with the head of the City Council and council members, not the mayor.
“For me, it’s not about a political squabble, it’s not about picking sides,” said Johnson. “It’s about getting results on behalf of the tenants who live in these buildings.”
One of the meeting participants told Kramer that at the end of the day, he expected a new entity — a monitor — to be set up to police how capital funds are spent.
A spokesperson for the mayor said NYCHA needs “real investment and the authority to speed up critical repairs. We welcome the support of our city, state and federal partners.”