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Larry Hirsch Headshot

Message to Bloomberg: Public Service=Public Accountability

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When he was president of his own privately held company, Michael Bloomberg was not accountable to anyone. If he wanted something done, it got done. He did not have to explain his actions to anyone because he was the boss. There were not even any public stockholders in the company he owed any explanations to. As the Steven Goldsmith case to continues to show, he believes these same rules apply to him as mayor of New York City. However, in this case he is wrong; he is accountable to the people who elected him, the people of New York.

Elected public officials are justifiably held to higher standards of accountability than people in the private sector. They have been entrusted to serve the people by their votes. In essence the people are their bosses. Michael Bloomberg continues to think that the people of New York are his employees and he can decide what information he gives them. Does he owe them an explanation for his weekend trips to Bermuda? No. Does he owe them an explanation for the impact of many of his policies? No. Does he owe them the right to vote on extending term limits? No. Does he have to answer questions that irritate him? No. Does he owe them the truth when as to why a deputy mayor is being let go? In his mind, No.

The answer to all of these questions should be yes. Although he almost lost his third term, up until the Goldsmith mess, he appears to have gotten away with denying accountability to the public. It is good now that he is finally being taken to task for not feeling he has to answer to his bosses. While it is admirable to be loyal to friends in private matters, it is imperative that it not get in the way of public duty. The mayor has never been shy about attacking public employees who fall short of his standards who are not his friends or part of his "team." It is almost hypocritical that he hides the truth about one who is.

This may be the ways things are done in business, but not in public life. If the inconveniences of public service so irritate the mayor, maybe he should return to the private sector.