NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A new controversy has engulfed Mayor Bill de Blasio’s long-shot presidential run — questions about who should pay for the security detail that follows him around the country, taxpayers or Team de Blasio.
As CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported Wednesday, it comes as the mayor has imposed budget-tightening measures at the NYPD.
Is it a case of “Do as I say, not as I do” for New York City’s homegrown presidential wannabe?
On the one hand, Mayor de Blasio has imposed a a strict overtime cap at the NYPD as a budget belt-tightening measure. On the other hand, candidate de Blasio’s police security detail is racking up the overtime as it follows him on the campaign trail. Taxpayers are also footing the bill for airfare, food and other security costs.
Some find that hard to swallow.
“It’s just not fair that we’re cutting overtime for people who are actually out there protecting us from murderers and rapists and gun dealers when we’re not capping the overtime for people who are accompanying him to the Iowa State Fair,” City Councilman Joseph Borelli of Staten Island said.
Borelli said de Blasio 2020 should pay for security, not the taxpayers, and he’s not the only one.
“It strikes me as wrong. Taxpayers should not be subsidizing a security detail in a presidential campaign miles away,” Bronx Councilman Ritchie Torres said.
Betsy Gottbaum, of the good government group Citizens Union, agreed, saying with all the campaign finance issues plaguing de Blasio over the years, “It would be a good show if he had the campaign pay for his security.”
Kramer put the question to the NYPD.
“These are security decisions. The mayor of New York, whoever he or she may be, is a national figure,” Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counterterrorism John Miller said. “This mayor has had a lot of threats. I would be very reticent about getting into a situation where either campaign people or people who were factoring in costs would be making security decisions.”
“This should be privately funded. We have enough taxes to pay for,” added Brooklyn resident Ykina Chapman.
“As a taxpayer myself, I believe that we don’t need to be paying his security,” Jose Suazo of the Bronx said.
“I don’t have to pay for his presidential run,” another person said.
“I don’t know why he’s running in the first place,” another said. “It seems like a waste of money.”
“The security detail is for his functions as mayor of New York City, not for his functions as a candidate for the presidency,” Midtown’s Fred Tallarico said.
Team de Blasio did not return CBS2’s calls seeking comment. Several other campaigns told Kramer they either have no security of pay for it with campaign donations.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, taxpayers did pay for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s security.