“What a waste of taxpayer money. What an insult to police officers.” !
The career politicians in the administrative class like to call themselves “public servants” when they’re feeling humble, or “leaders” when a moment of vanity strikes.
They’re really more like imperial overlords. Sometimes they’re elected, sometimes they’re not, but either way what they love most is to spend our money on their own glorification.
Often they’re completely oblivious to how they look as their gilded chariots cruise past us, their vassals tossing rose petals in the air.
Apparently [Comptroller] Stringer mainly uses his Praetorian guard as chauffeurs, both for himself and his wife.
Manhattan’s newest little Caesar is Scott Stringer. If you read the papers over recent decades you’ve been vaguely aware of this dough-faced homunculus, who in a life light on accomplishments has nevertheless been happily drawing a taxpayer salary for more than 20 years.
He began his single-minded march through the bureaucracy when he got himself appointed to a local community planning board at age 16. (His mother, Arlene Stringer-Cuevas, was a city councilwoman and Democratic Party district leader, and longtime Congresswoman Bella Abzug is a cousin.)
For eight years Stringer was Manhattan borough president, a grandly titled but irrelevant, ceremonial office where the chief occupational hazards are the many potential wrist injuries that come with ribbon cuttings and writing checks, drawn on the city treasury, to useful political allies.
Good-government types wonder why we even need such offices at all. Six years ago a reporter from The Post asked the Bronx borough president what his 79 employees, many of them highly compensated assistants making up to $140,000 a year, actually did.
His spokeswoman replied that these public servants were doing work of “a confidential nature.”
With his young son in tow, Scott Stringer hops into his NYPD-staffed ride outside his Manhattan apartment.Photo: Seth Gottfried
As borough president, Stringer enjoyed three official cars and two publicly funded chauffeurs earning a total of $114,000 as of 2008. Reporters once observed his driver waiting outside Stringer’s apartment for an hour and a half.
Apparently Stringer mainly uses his Praetorian guard as chauffeurs, both for himself and his wife.
Twenty-odd years inside the palace walls have damaged Stringer’s memories of what life was like for the average plebeian, or even the average millionaire.
Stringer maintains a taxpayer-funded security detail of six, which you probably wouldn’t even know about if he hadn’t gotten peevish, leading four to ask to be reassigned.
Two of them were guilty of not paying enough attention to His Majesty’s whims, two others were dropped for talking about the way he treated the other two.
And these weren’t ordinary beat cops: They were highly valued detectives from the city’s intelligence unit. The anti-terror squad.
You know, because the lads in a terrorist cell in a Pashtun province in Afghanistan are sitting around the table saying, “We must strike down the American colossus once and for all! Get Scott Stringer!”
Stringer is far from alone in his imperial obliviousness, though.
Letitia James is the New York City public advocate, another ceremonial position that exists mainly to provide ambitious politicos a platform from which to conduct press conferences that build name recognition before running for mayor. (The previous public advocate was a guy named Bill de Blasio).
Somehow we managed to do without a public advocate before the office was created in 1993, yet James is such an important figure she also has a six-member security detail, as does the speaker of the City Council.
Among her dozens of staffers are two “first assistants” making $240,000 total and two directors of communications who earn a combined $200,000.
Throwing rose petals pays well.
You’d think our rulers — our imperial servants — would realize that the best thing about having all these perks and lackeys is that the public is unaware of them. All they really have to do to keep things that way is to avoid scandal.
Scandals tend to raise questions. Questions like “The first lady of the city of New York has her own chief of staff? Who earns $170,000?”
Rachel Noerdlinger with (felon) boyfriend, Hassaun McFarlan.Photo: Facebook
That’s what most people didn’t know until a few weeks ago, when news broke that said chief of staff, Rachel Noerdlinger, was the live-in girlfriend of a convicted killer and drug trafficker who referred to cops as “pigs.”
The lucre only flows one way, you see, from us to them. (Noerdlinger promised to set up a “payment plan” to start whittling away at her parking debts, even though for her they amount to less than a week’s pay.)
New York City’s first lady, unlike even the public advocate or the borough presidents, has no official duties whatsoever.
Who voted to pay for her staff, much less her chief of staff? Who decided such a functionary was worth $170,000?
Not you. Not me. But then we’re only the public.
Our only role in this is to make choices like whether the comptroller should be Eliot Spitzer or Scott Stringer.
Additional reporting By Andrea Peyser: City Comptroller Scott Stringer, Public Advocate Letitia James and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito each have six-detective police security details assigned to them — made up of cops culled from the city Police Department’s elite Intelligence Division.
As The Post reported last week, four guys from Stringer’s security team requested last month to be transferred from his side, and a fed-up female detective retired from the NYPD last summer. Stringer has ordered cops to drive around his wife, Elyse Buxbaum. And he chewed out two cops last month because they arrived late to transport her to work!
Sources said Stringer follows rules that require him to be present when police are Driving Mrs. Stringer — by accompanying his wife on jaunts, even when he has no official business to conduct.