Democrat New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s wife has 14 staffers paid on a $2 million budget as New York City deals with a budgetary crisis of not being able to maintain city parks or make regular trash pickups.
Some of the Chirlane McCray staffers are part of the $1.25 billion mental health initiative called ThriveNYC, which has received criticism for its lack of metrics, the New York Post reported.
“Whatever happened to the money from ThriveNYC?” asked City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Queens).
“How much taxpayer money will the mayor’s wife pilfer before leaving office? How can she sleep at night hiring these hacks knowing so many other city workers are facing layoffs this fall? This is a disgrace!” Ulrich said.
The first lady of New York City has a core team of eight staffers, including a videographer who gets paid $70,000 per year, according to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by the Post in October 2019.
This videographer, who is listed as an employee under the Department of Health, filmed the first lady baking ginger snaps in April during the coronavirus lockdown.
— Chirlane McCray (@NYCFirstLady) April 2, 2020
This is all despite the fact that city employees could face 22,000 layoffs in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.
There’s also a $117,000 per year speechwriter, even though McCray held the same job when she worked for former Mayor David Dinkins (D). She also has a $150,000 per year senior adviser who reports to her even though her husband announced a hiring freeze to try and close a $7 billion spending gap caused by the coronavirus.
And she has six other city employees assigned to her office from other agencies.
City Hall spokesperson Chanel Caraway defended the McCray team salaries even though de Blasio said there is not enough money to maintain city parks or pick up trash.
“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.
McCray is considering a run for Brooklyn borough president during the last year of her husband’s term in office. But despite the generous salaries and titles, McCray’s team has not posted a public update to her schedule since last year.