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.
Despite not being officially employed by the city government Chirlane McCray, who heads up the city’s mental health program ThriveNYC, 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.
Sources at the Mayor’s Office told The City the mayor’s wife, who is mulling a run for Brooklyn borough president, 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.
She has worked with a $70,000 videographer who filmed her baking cookies at home, and has a $150,000-a-year senior adviser.
While the mayor’s wife has a considerable team, 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 (referring to the initial The City story) didn’t take into account the work that’s being done. This work is about the needs of the people of this city.
‘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.
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.
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SOURCE: Daily Mail, Jennifer Smith and Rachel Sharp