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Queens Chronicle

The sound of silence: Qns. on McCray aide

Of 14 Council members, only three would speak on Noerdlinger issue

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Posted: Thursday, October 23, 2014 10:30 am

When it comes to the controversy surrounding Rachel Noerdlinger, chief of staff to Mayor de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray, the vast majority of city lawmakers from Queens have nothing to say.

Asked on Monday whether they support Noerdlinger’s continued employment as McCray’s top aide, only three of the 14 City Council members from Queens would answer the question.

Three more said they had no comment and the other eight did not even acknowledge being asked. Councilman Antonio Reynoso (D-Brooklyn), whose Brooklyn district also includes much of Ridgewood, was not queried.

All 14 from Queens were asked the same question in the same manner, via emails to their main spokespersons: “Do you support the continued employment of Rachel Noerdlinger as chief of staff to First Lady Chirlane McCray, and why or why not?”

The emails went out just before 2:15 p.m. Monday and the spokespersons were given a deadline of 9 p.m. Tuesday to answer.

The first to respond, and the only one to do so on Monday, was Councilman Rory Lancman (D-Fresh Meadows).

“I don’t care who Rachel Noerdlinger dates, lives with or marries, and as long as she pays those parking tickets asap I don’t oppose her continued employment as the first lady’s chief of staff,” Lancman said in an email.

One of the latest revelations about Noerdlinger is that she owes a reported $900 in parking tickets racked up since she was named as McCray’s chief of staff — though some or all were issued when her boyfriend was using her car. She also faces a lien from the Internal Revenue Service of about $28,000 and a credit-card judgment of $7,200, according to published reports. She did not reveal the debts on disclosure forms she had to fill out to get the $170,000-a-year job with McCray.

Nor did she reveal that she lives with an ex-convict, Hassaun McFarlan, who has been convicted of manslaughter and drug trafficking and pleaded guilty in March to disorderly conduct after allegedly endangering a police officer and road worker with his car.

Noerdlinger also was granted an exemption to a city residency requirement by claiming it would be a hardship to move from her New Jersey home because of injuries her son sustained in two car accidents, though it was later revealed that he plays high school football.

Noerdlinger’s lack of candor on her disclosure forms and her relationship with McFarlan — and Mayor de Blasio’s decision to stand by her even though the paperwork omissions are grounds for termination or even potential criminal charges — led to a slew of criticism in the media. The Daily News called de Blasio’s stance “the worst decision of his mayoralty” and the New York Post said the Rev. Al Sharpton, Noerdlinger’s previous longtime employer, is the one really calling the shots at City Hall.

The Queens Chronicle, in an Oct. 16 editorial headlined “Dishonor and dishonesty in City Hall” said her continued employment tells New Yorkers that connections and favoritism matter more than integrity and following the rules.

But Noerdlinger is not facing any criticism from the Queens members of the City Council.

“Only our First Lady could evaluate Rachel Noerdlinger’s capability to serve as her chief of staff,” Councilman Daneek Miller (D-St. Albans) said. “In my experience with Rachel, however, I have found her to be both personable and intelligent. Her track record before arriving at City Hall was admirable, and her work continues to be so.”

Councilman Mark Weprin (D-Oakland Gardens) said, “I do not think that employees should be blamed for the behavior of their significant others. As long as she is doing a good job as the First Lady’s Chief of Staff, she should stay.”

The spokespersons for Councilmembers Julissa Ferreras (D-East Elmhurst), Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria) and Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) said the lawmakers would have no comment.

The other eight did not respond at all to either the first email asking the question or two follow-up emails labeled “friendly reminders.”

Brian Browne, the assistant vice president for government relations at St. John’s University and an adjunct professor of government and politics there, said the silence is likely due to the lawmakers’ desire to stay on de Blasio’s good side.

“The mayor has said he has moved on and the case is closed, and the Council members are just following his lead on that,” Browne said in a phone interview. “It’s year one of a new mayor, and it makes sense to keep good relations with the mayor.”

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  • JakeQueen posted at 11:57 am on Mon, Oct 27, 2014.

    JakeQueen Posts: 1

    Councilman Mark Weprin (D-Oakland Gardens) said, “I do not think that employees should be blamed for the behavior of their significant others. As long as she is doing a good job as the First Lady’s Chief of Staff, she should stay.”

    Maybe Councilman Weprin can ask the Citywide Administrative Services to stop all background investigations in which family members are checked. After all who cares what a future Police Officer's family is doing. If a Police Officers spouse is a mass murderer that is okay as long as the Officer is doing their job.

    Money talks and since every Queens Council member was given a Chairmanship spot they are afraid to talk. As long as the Speaker of the NYC Council controls the Chairmanships our Council Members will be afraid to go against her or the Mayor.

  • reg131 posted at 2:39 pm on Thu, Oct 23, 2014.

    reg131 Posts: 34

    What a wonderful role model the DeBlasio's have put forward for the public to see, but then again, with the state of affairs today, maybe Ms. Noerdlinger's "poor judgment calls" are a resume enhancer. This is the classic "do as I say, not as I do" mentality utilized by the kings and queens of Europe throughout past centuries. Somehow, somewhere along the way, the public has lost sight of the fact that they pay for DeBlasio's home, salary, staff, wife, her staff, secret service, etc. The Mayor owes his political life to the people of NYC, not the other way around. I would think that there would be an outcry extraordinaire from the people of NYC to have this miscreant ousted from public office. But it speaks volumes of where the DeBlasio' s are coming from. This is why they think is a good choice for this position? Someone who is delinquent in their taxes, their tickets, has lived with a felon.....what a utter disgrace! And the fact that not one member of the city council, bar one, answered the e-mails tells you all you need to know. They are complicitous within their silence.