The ride to chancellorship has not gotten any easier for Cathie Black. Accused of lacking any relevant experience, Bloomberg's pick is getting a real push back this week, as 15,000 petitions were delivered to New York Education Commissioner David Steiner before he rules whether or not to grant Black a waiver to lead the department.
Undaunted by the outcry, Bloomberg repeatedly comes to the defense of his schools pick: "Cathie Black is just absolutely qualified to run a large, complex organization," he said. "She's been doing it her whole life." Mayor Bloomberg also warned that if Black doesn't get the waiver, no one else will want the job. "How would you get somebody else?" the mayor asked. "I don't know what you'd do if you didn't [get the waiver] . . . I don't know why anybody would come if you didn't do this."
Some are questioning Black's lucrative corporate ties as a conflict of interest. The Daily News reports:
Black pulls down $195,000 annually for a part-time post on the Coke board, as well as an additional $300,000 a year for a part-time gig on the IBM board. Her big-bucks salary from Hearst Magazines isn't made public.
But not everyone is criticizing the would-be chancellor. Gloria Steinem came to Black's defense recently, worrying that the high level of hostility and mockery have to do with her being a woman. She's a lot braver than I am," said Steinem. "I would not be able to function inside a hostile environment as Cathie can."