Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Dumb and/or Incompetent: DOI

Over the weekend, the NY Post had an observant editorial about the mayor's role in covering for the speaker in the current slush fund scandal before any of the facts are in. Now our position on this has been pretty clear-we feel that all of the fire and brimstone has been misplaced, and more attention needs to be placed on the administration's role and responsibility in all of these earmarks; after all, no money can be allocated without the approval of a mayoral agency.

Which brings us to the mayor eagerly becoming a character witness for Chris Quinn. As the Post points out, the entire investigation's being run by the DOI, a mayoral agency whose commissioner, Rose Gill Hearn, is appointed by Mike Bloomberg: " Just what kind of a probe, exactly, can an investigator produce - when his or her own boss has all but exonerated the potential targets?"

What kind indeed? The same kind that found that Hedge Fund Dan Doctoroff and Steve Ross of Related didn't have any conflicts in their dealings because their friendship "predated" the entry of Dan into city government. This is beginning to look like a cover up, and remember that Bloomberg has any number of selfish reasons to minimize what the council may or may not have done.

Here's how the Post harshly views the mayor's actions: "Just a day before Hearn gave her testimony, Mayor Bloomberg all but declared Quinn free and clear. Hizzoner said she'd been "unfairly beaten up a little bit by the press" - adding: "We should give her the due for taking us in the right direction." Not only that, but a few weeks ago, as the scandal was starting to unfold, Mayor Mike called Quinn "the most honest person I know." What's Hearn to do?
Does she follow the evidence wherever it may lead - at the risk of proving her own boss wrong?
Or does she "take the hint" - and (banish the thought) tilt the probe? After all, she is a city commissioner - appointed by the mayor. Her job may depend on what kind of finding she comes up with. And, by the way, what's up with Mayor Mike? Is he intentionally sending signals to the DOI about the direction he thinks the probe should take?"

The proper attention needs to be given to the mayor, his agencies and his own private motives for minimizing all of this. The Post is to be congratulated for its incisive examination of his role.