Bloomberg’s Secret Travels Challenged

Bill may force Bloomberg to say when he leaves town

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Vito Di Stefano

President Obama does it.

Past mayors have done it.

So why won't Mayor Bloomberg say when he's out of town like other public officials do?

That's what City Councilman Peter Vallone, Jr. (D) Queens, wants to know.  He is considering a bill to force City Hall to say when the mayor leaves town and also state who is then left in charge.

Bloomberg's whereabouts became an issue when he was apparently out of town as the Chrismas weekend blizzard hit the city. Confusion reigned over who was supposed to be running the city, creating a leadership vacuum that City Council members say fueled the city's bungled response to the massive snowstorm.  Streets in the outerboroughs were left unplowed and buried in snow for days.

Vallone told the New York Times that his bill wouldn't ask for the mayor's exact whereabouts, just be a headsup when he's away and also let the public know who's in charge.

“I almost always believe that a more open and transparent process works better,” Vallone said.

Bloomberg has maintained that he has a right to a personal life and deflected calls to release a daily public scheule, especially for the weekends when he often travels.  The billionaire mayor has five vacation homes in places like Vail, London and Bermuda.

For his first two terms, Bloomberg has basically had his way and traveled in secret. Now the blizzard appears to have changed the political landscape.

“He is now being treated as mayors in New York City have historically been treated,” Public Advocate Bill de Blasio told the Times.

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