Mayor Bill de Blasio has often fought the perception that he’s not giving 100 percent.
There were the times he showed up late to events. There is the long-running saga of his interborough trips to the gym. Critics snipe that he remains aloof from his commissioners. Defenders have said he’s always on call. Yet the criticism has continued.
Now there is a delicious New York Post story about the mayor spending just seven hours at City Hall in May, a severe dip from the same month a year earlier, before he launched a presidential campaign.
De Blasio’s team noted that the mayor also was present at the awe-inspiring landmark building for an additional four hours in May that hadn’t shown up on his scheduled calendar. Heroic.
It’s true that he does plenty of city work whether he’s at City Hall or not: His May schedules list more than 100 events, calls and meetings. There are regular morning calls with First Deputy Mayor Dean Fuleihan and top aide Emma Wolfe.
Clearly, the mayor is a busy man. Who among us wouldn’t like to set more of our own schedule and work from home?
But for a guy who has fought the perception that the top job in the Big Apple is not top enough for him, this apparent longshot presidential bid presents the most obvious snag. It’s not clear what a NYCHA resident is getting out of the mayor’s low-polling weekend sojourns to New Hampshire, other than a New York Post headline.
With the help of Fuleihan and other City Hall denizens, de Blasio has kept the city running. Like any New York worker, he is free to seek a promotion. But at some point, there will come a cost to his divided gaze. There are difficult city fights brewing about school programs for gifted students, about Rikers and future jails, to say nothing of persistent homelessness and public safety challenges. If those New Hampshire trips end up being for naught, those challenges will be 100 percent of what Blasio has left.