Former De Blasio Press Secretary: ‘We Had Information Flow Problems'

Karen Hinton remains a fierce defender of Mayor Bill de Blasio as she walks away after barely a year

Barely a year after a signing on to help Mayor Bill de Blasio get better press, Karen Hinton is walking away. 

Hinton resigned from her post as press secretary in April, saying she planned to spend more time with her daughter. Her last day was Friday. 

As she reflected on her time at City Hall in an interview with NBC 4 New York, Hinton is on the one hand the mayor's fierce defender, saying "he's gotten more done in two years than most mayors get done in four, six or eight years." 

But she admits the reason she originally gave for leaving was only part of the story.

"It is true that I am missing my daughter," she said. But too often, she said, she was kept out of the loop.

"To be honest, we did have some information flow problems. I'll put it that way," said Hinton. "And as press secretary, you need to have information at your fingertips, and really understand the thinking and what's going on with the administration. And I didn't have that, unfortunately." 

Hinton felt she could not speak for the mayor if kept in the dark.

"They saw the position in a different way, and that's OK," she said.

The mayor thanked Hinton for her service when she resigned, saying in a statement, "I know she will remain a source of trusted advice for me and our team."

Polls show the mayor's ratings are low, with about a third of New Yorkers approving of his performance, which began before Hinton arrived. De Blasio has consistently blamed his low ratings on communications failures by his team. She urged him to be more accessible and do more interviews.

"When he does those interviews, he's very effective," she said.

At times, he resisted. He once testily told reporters, "I have a job to do more important than answering your questions, it's actually doing the work." 

Hinton also arrived amid a street homelessness crisis and a bitter feud between the mayor and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, for whom she had also worked closely.

"Honestly, it was not a comfortable position to be in," she said. 

She advised de Blasio to speak up, and he did, saying at one point of the governor, "If someone disagrees with him openly, some kind of vendetta or revenge follows." 

"I think it was important for the mayor to say, 'I'm gonna defend my city,'" Hinton said. 

Now Hinton leaves City Hall under a dark cloud, with several fundraising investigations underway. She believes the mayor did not violate any laws. 

Hinton hopes investigators finish their work quickly so the mayor can communicate his accomplishments before re-election. 

"Oddly, my job has gotten a little easier because all the media is just focusing on the investigations and not anything else," she said. 

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