Monday, January 10, 2011

Bloomberg: Nine Years and Now OJT?

As YNN is reporting, the Bloombergistas have issued their initial blizzard report-and to us it is a side splitter: "As the NYC Council’s public flogging of the Bloomberg administration for its poor response to the Christmas weekend blizzard continues, the mayor’s office has released the results of its preliminary review of its performance that found problems in six key areas:

1) The decision not to declare a snow emergency;
(2) insufficient accountability tools that led to a lack of real-time information on street conditions;
(3) insufficient and delayed deployment of City assets that could have assisted with snow removal operations;
(4) failure to procure and preposition private resources;
(5) insufficient communication within City government and to the public; and
(6) problems with emergency communications and response."

As a commenter to the YNN web site remarked: "Is he new at this, or something?" Seriously, this isn't a report, it's an indictment-and looking at all of the categorical failures, it's clear that this administration, in power for over nine years, was absolutely clueless when a crisis hit the city. It got nothing right!

The NY Times hones in on this systematic failure-and points its editorial finger right at the mayor: "As Mayor Michael Bloomberg went to red alert for the small snowstorm that swept into New York City on Friday, it was fairly evident that the fuss over snow removal wasn’t only, or even mostly, about snow. It was about the mayor...The unease is about how he is doing back home, a concern that has been boiling for some time and spilled over after the post-Christmas blizzard, which overwhelmed the city and city government alike."

And the unease has been festering for some time: "But Mr. Bloomberg’s problems with New Yorkers predated the storm. His choice of a non-educator, Cathleen Black, as schools chancellor felt idiosyncratic to many people. His Police Department, troubled about whether its famous statistics are valid, has finally found the need for a review by three former prosecutors. Then there is the scandal involving CityTime, a system that was supposed to streamline employee timekeeping in the city. Federal prosecutors recently charged consultants in the project with an $80 million fraud scheme. And, as Comptroller John Liu has been saying for over a year, the project is years behind schedule and 10 times over its original budget of about $68 million."

Well, NY Times, nice of you to join us on CityTime-but better late than never, we guess: "Here we have a technology mix-up overseen by the mayor who made several sizable fortunes in technology, a management glitch for the mayor known as a management guru. Even his fuming about misplaced trust and “no tolerance for this whatsoever” doesn’t explain enough about how so much of this slipshod work slipped past his desk unnoticed. Last week Mr. Liu canceled a $286 million contract for emergency communications “to prevent CityTime 2.”

The Times, for its part, remains sanguine about the mayor's prospects-and sees blemishes where we see leprosy: "It is far too soon to write off the mayor’s third term. We assume these are blemishes not full-fledged failures and that they give him an opportunity to do things better, just like in the weekend’s baby snowstorm."

Perhaps so, but the failures on all these fronts-as the Times avers-go to the heart of the Bloomberg narrative. The exit question: Will Mike Bloomberg become Lazarus or Humpty Dumpty?