Bill de Blasio tried to defend his unelected wife’s $1.1million staff on Wednesday after angry New Yorkers labeled it a ‘disgrace’ when the city is so short on cash and 22,000 jobs are expected to be cut.
Chirlane McCray, who is mulling a run for Brooklyn borough president, enjoys a core team of eight full-time staff who cost the city a combined $1.1 million in annual salaries, according to her office.
She also worked with a $70,000 videographer who filmed her baking cookies at home, and has a $150,000-a-year senior adviser.
Sources at the Mayor’s Office told The City the mayor’s wife also has at least another six staff who do not feature on the official roster, taking her total workforce to 14 with a hefty price tag of $2 million.
While the mayor’s wife has a considerable team – despite not being officially employed by the city government – her husband has sounded repeated warnings that a staggering 22,000 workers could lose their jobs in the fall due to the toll the pandemic has taken on the city’s budget.
On Wednesday however, de Blasio defended their work, saying it was crucial to mental health and diversity.
‘That article didn’t take into account the work that’s being done. This work is about the needs of the people of this city.
Bill de Blasio’s unelected wife Chirlane McCray has been branded a ‘disgrace’ for having a staff of 14 costing New York City $2 million, including a $70,000 videographer who filmed her baking cookies (above) – while crime soars amid NYPD cuts, trash is left to pile up on the streets and 22,000 city workers face job losses
‘The mental health crisis is much deeper because of the coronavirus, across the whole city, that’s one of the things she’s been working on intensely, but also as the co-chair of the internal task force this extraordinary task force on racial inclusion that has been moving big policy changes,’ he said.
He also said that neither his staff nor his wife’s would be safe from job cuts later in the year.
‘Unquestionably, there will be lay-offs at City Hall for my staff, her staff. Our job is to work together to try to avert it,’ he said.
Fears are mounting that the Big Apple is headed back to the dark days of the 70s and 80s when crime and poverty was rife.
New York City‘s wealthiest neighborhoods have been rocked by a spate of violent crimes in recent months, which – sparked by an exodus when the city became the global virus epicenter in March – has sent its richest residents fleeing for good.
Stark NYPD citywide data revealed murders are up 58 percent in the last month compared to the same time last year, shootings are up a staggering 176 percent and burglaries are up 25 percent.
Her team also includes $150,000-a-year senior adviser Dabash Negash, 33, (pictured) who was recruited in April – at the height of the pandemic and just one week after de Blasio announced a hiring freeze to help close a $7.4 billion deficit caused by the pandemic
Meanwhile, widespread business closures, a lack of employment opportunities and support services shuttered for months during the city’s coronavirus lockdown has forced more New Yorkers onto the streets and homeless encampments have now been set up on all corners of Manhattan.
But as the city is deteriorating and the crime rate soars, de Blasio, who himself has a personal net worth of $2.5 million, has cut police budgets, threatened 22,000 city workers with the chop and called for a spike in taxes for the wealthiest residents which could wave goodbye to this much-needed tax base for good.
Drastic budget cuts have been made to essential services leaving the city’s streets and parks – not long ago a hive of urban activity – dirty and overflowing with rubbish.
But while cuts are adding further nails to the city’s coffin, there is no sign of cuts to the mayor’s wife’s 14-strong team of staffers.
McCray’s $2 million team includes a videographer with a salary of $70,000 who was hired in February and was tasked with filming her enjoying some baking during lockdown, The City reported.
The unnamed individual worked with McCray shooting a social media video called ‘Baking with the First Lady’ in early April where she made some ginger snaps.
Her team also includes a $117,000-a-year speechwriter and a $150,000-a-year senior adviser.
Chirlane completely ignored the controversy on Wednesday, tweeting this instead
Senior adviser Dabash Negash was recruited in April – at the height of the pandemic and just one week after de Blasio announced a hiring freeze to help close a $7.4 billion deficit caused by the pandemic.
Officials for McCray’s office told The City her hiring was already in the pipeline before the pandemic.
Some of the other staff members work for McCray on the city’s mental health program ThriveNYC which she heads up.
The program has been slammed for failing to deliver results despite an investment of $1.25 billion.
Other shadow staff – those who are not included in the eight confirmed by the city and whose roles are hidden within the wider office of the mayor, according to The City – include a $143,000-a-year public relations director and a special assistant from the mayor’s office who makes $115,000.
As shootings spiral, there is also a growing homeless problem with encampments popping up all over Manhattan. 13,000 homeless people have also been moved into hotels around the city
Fears are mounting that the Big Apple is headed back to the dark days of the 70s and 80s when crime and poverty was rife. Homeless people setup encampments on Clarkson and Washington Street in lower Manhattan
Widespread business closures, a lack of employment opportunities and support services shuttered for months during the city’s coronavirus lockdown has forced more New Yorkers onto the streets and homeless encampments have now been set up on all corners of Manhattan
Drastic budget cuts have been made to essential services leaving the city’s streets and parks – not long ago a hive of urban activity – dirty and overflowing with rubbish
New Yorkers took to social media to voice their outrage that while the city teeters on the brink of ruin, the mayor’s spouse has a large team helping her filming her pastime of baking
New Yorkers took to social media to voice their outrage that while the city teeters on the brink of ruin with no money to clean up the streets and keep essential services up and running, the mayor’s spouse has a large team helping her with non-essential tasks such as filming her enjoying her pastime of baking.
NYC VIOLENCE IN THE LAST MONTH COMPARED TO THE SAME TIME IN 2019:
- Shooting victims +153%
- Shooting incidents +176%
- Murders +59%
- Burglary +25%
- Grand larceny auto +50%
- Robbery +3%
- Rape -18%
- Felony assault -4.6%
‘Maddening. Hypocritical. NYC Mayor’s wife, Chirlane McCray’s, $2M staff of 14 amid NYC budget crisis,’ one angry resident tweeted.
Another tweeted: ‘Lock her up! What a disgrace.’
City Councilman Eric Ulrich also blasted McCray a ‘disgrace’ over the workforce.
‘How much taxpayer money will the mayor’s wife pilfer before leaving office?’ he said to the New York Post.
‘How can she sleep at night hiring these hacks knowing so many other city workers are facing layoffs this fall? This is a disgrace!’
The Mayor’s Office did not immediately return DailyMail.com’s request for comment
However, City Hall spokeswoman Chanel Caraway on Tuesday told the Post New Yorkers should be thankful to McCray’s team.
‘The First Lady manages a robust portfolio and her team works tirelessly to carry out goals and priorities on issues like mental health and domestic violence that will improve the lives of New Yorkers,’ she said.
‘As the City navigates unprecedented challenges triggered by the COVID-19 crisis, these public servants continue to show up everyday to deliver solutions that reach into every neighborhood and family, and we owe them a debt of gratitude.’