In a pre-holiday weekend present to reporters, City Hall yesterday released a mountain of emails in response to a lawsuit brought by NY1 and the New York Post.

The document dump stemmed from a Freedom of Information request by NY1 Political Reporter Grace Rauh to see all correspondence between the de Blasio administration and a private consultant, Jonathan Rosen, who has served as a sounding board to the mayor for years.

But the emails show that Rosen was more like a high-member of de Blasio’s board and he was looped in on dozens of policy initiatives, large and small. His firm’s offices were treated as an annex of City Hall, where the mayor would sometimes work because there were too many “interruptions” at his government office.

De Blasio’s occasional move from his West Wing offices to a conference room at Berlin Rosen carries with it some great symbolism. And what consultant wouldn’t want to boast to clients that the mayor is including him in on so many decision that he has to plead to be taken off an emails chain?

Bill de Blasio isn’t the first mayor to be farming out work that should never have left the confines of City Hall. Ed Koch gave far too much rope to political cronies in The Bronx and Queens. Rudy Giuliani allowed his administration  to be a patronage mill for the Liberal Party and the law firm of Fischbein Badillo. And Michael Bloomberg didn’t manufacture consent as much as purchase it by giving millions of dollars to non-profit groups that then, not surprisingly, praised his policy decisions.

But it’s de Blasio’s self-righteousness that makes his decision all the more confusing. If we’re fighting the good fight do the ends justify the means?

The mayor this morning called his relationship with BerlinRosen as “a mistake” but it’s still unclear if he’s talking about the emails or the fundamental relationship he had with the firm’s co-founder.

The takeaway of the emails shouldn’t be to “take me off this chain” – as one of the mayor’s top aides begs – but to break it.  The only “Agents of the City” who should be getting emails are the ones who actually work for city agencies in City Hall.


Bob Hardt