Councilman Peter Vallone Wants Answers on Who’s in Charge in Mayor Bloomberg’s Absence


peter-valloneA city councilman invoked the threat of a terrorist attack Thursday to demand answers from Mayor Bloomberg about who’s in charge when Hizzoner leaves town.“While I am aware that you and your team are always in constant communication, that may not be possible during a potential terrorist attack,” Peter Vallone wrote in a letter to Bloomberg.

Vallone (D-Astoria) asserts in the letter that a Council oversight hearing on the crippling Dec. 26 blizzard revealed that the mayor and his two top deputies were out of town as the storm bore down on the city. City officials, however, never went as far as Vallone asserted in revealing who was where during the hearing.

The mayor’s office has refused to say where Bloomberg was.

When Vallone asked Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith during the hearing whether First Deputy Mayor Patti Harris was in town, Goldsmith deflected the question. He acknowledged being in Washington.

The mayor’s office says Bloomberg and his aides are entitled to privacy and don’t have to reveal their whereabouts.

Bloomberg says he’s in constant touch with his staff by phone, email and even police radio through his NYPD bodyguards when he travels.

But Vallone, who chairs the Council’s public safety committee, says that’s not good enough.

“As we learned on 9/11, our communications systems are not foolproof and it’s important that we always know who is in charge, on the ground in New York City at all times,” he said.

He’s working on legislation that would force the mayor to file a public notice when he leaves town and designate a chain of command in his absence.

In his letter to Bloomberg yesterday, Vallone asked for details on how the mayor complies with a current city charter requirement to appoint a boss when he leaves the five boroughs.

A Bloomberg spokesman declined to comment on Vallone’s request but said the administration plans to respond to the letter.

{NY Daily News/}