Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith abruptly resigned yesterday (after a mere 14 months), but it doesn't seem like there will be too many tears shed for him in the city's halls of government. Unnamed officials went and talked to all three major papers with their knives sharpened to give reasons why Goldsmith left so abruptly. "Encouraged I think is the word somebody used to me," one joked to the Post. "From the snowstorm to Cathie Black to CityTime to now this," he continued. "This is something every Council member has been saying for years...that this is an administration totally adrift." And the catty comments don't stop there.
"He was brought here a year ago to reinvent government and the only thing he's put his stamp on is two snowstorms," another City Hall source told the News. Or as City Council member Letitia James said to the Post, "I'm going to miss him at the next snowstorm." Want more? "New York City is not Indiana," Greg Floyd, head of Teamsters Local 237, told the tabloid, referring to the city where Goldsmith was once mayor. "He tried to bring those policies here and it didn't work. He did not know how to take advice ... listen to people who had been around for a long time."
To be fair (if we must) to Goldsmith, the former Harvard professor never said he knew New York. "I know a lot about how to run a government. I don't know nearly enough about New York City," he said, after accepting the job last year.
And to the Times, sources spewed buckets of bile (though tastefully said) as to just how inept Goldsmith apparently was. He "never seemed to master the day-to-day mechanics of New York’s sprawling government or relish the political intricacies of the job, and dissatisfaction with his performance became widespread in City Hall, according to two aides to Mr. Bloomberg who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of angering the mayor." The paper then goes on to discuss Goldsmith's mismanagement of the Department of Sanitation in the lead up to December's blizzard, the fact that he spent half of his time in Washington, his inability to grasp how New York City politics work, and his penchant for going on long academic discussions during meetings. For example:
When City Hall staff members met to discuss the growing public outcry over the reconstruction of a major roadway in the Bronx, which was hurting beloved local trees, Mr. Goldsmith engaged in a discourse about eliminating risk in government. Those in the room were befuddled, according to people with knowledge of the meeting.
Besides the fact that Goldsmith, like Bloomberg's other big attempt to shake up City Hall with fresh blood (Cathie Black), was apparently really unpopular with his coworkers, the other thing that becomes very clear very quickly is that his departure (whether he was pushed out or not) was a surprise for many (then again, so was Black's). He had been scheduling meetings and discussing policy proposals as recently as last week. Not to mention the fact that he quit before actually lining up one of those lucrative gigs working in "infrastructure finance."