NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Mayor Bill de Blasio faced a dramatic rebuke on Tuesday, after City Council Speaker Corey Johnson demanded the firing of NYCHA employees responsible for covering up massive problems in the city’s public housing system.
As CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported, the pair embarked on a magical mystery tour of self-congratulation for reaching an early budget deal that offered half-price MetroCards for the poor and funds to build senior housing.
After an exchange of niceties, Johnson lowered the boom in response to the federal government’s scathing findings about how NYCHA was run. From alleged lying, to cover-ups, to training staff to lie to inspectors, Johnson called for a major house cleaning.
“If anyone is found breaking the law they must be terminated immediately,” Johnson said. “No one can hold a job if they’re endangering the life and safety of children and public housing residents. No one can be in that job.”
Johnson grew up in public housing, so the issue is a personal one for him. He was especially upset over the fact that NYCHA officials lied about doing lead paint inspections, and that NYCHA had internal guidelines that trained staff to use “subterfuge” to cover up problems.
Federal prosecutors say the cover-ups include using painted cardboard to hide damaged ceiling tiles, building false walls to hide dilapidated rooms,
Johnson called the laundry list of alleged grievances “unacceptable.”
Asked for a response from the mayor’s office, Press Secretary Eric Phillips said “Those who are found to have failed to do their jobs will be held accountable.” He said the process was “ongoing.” In terms of specifics, Phillips said only that several people had left NYCHA and more were expected to follow.
Johnson pointed out that while de Blasio has presided over NYCHA for four and a half years, the cover-ups had been going on for a decade.