Mayor Bill de Blasio’s drawn-out will-he, won’t-he dismissal this week of Emergency Management Commissioner Joseph Esposito reminded some observers of an awkward breakup.
That notion was only solidified when Hizzoner gave his rationale late Tuesday for showing Esposito, who maintains the support of dozens of City Council members, the door.
“Sometimes you can think someone is a good person who did good work and has a lot of strengths, but you’re looking for something else,” de Blasio said following an unrelated press conference on crime statistics.
City Council Speaker Corey Johnson — who is vocal about his status as a single man — quickly chimed in on Twitter.
“How many times have I heard this in my life?!” Johnson tweeted. “I’ve had my heart broken too many times by men who said similar things.”
Public affairs consultant Alexis Grenell heard something similar in de Blasio’s bid to soften Esposito’s separation.
“The Mayor gives excellent dating advice,” she wrote on Twitter.
According to de Blasio, he farmed out the job of giving Esposito the pink slip to Deputy Mayor Laura Anglin — a move he says he now regrets.
Anglin and Esposito had a tete-a-tete on Friday, and when things turned heated, she told him the administration wanted him to resign — a move that had been discussed but that wasn’t fully ripe, according to City Hall officials.
Esposito continued working over the weekend and showed up at the OEM offices Monday because he hadn’t heard directly from the mayor.
That didn’t happen until late Monday because de Blasio was at a progressive conference with Sen. Bernie Sanders in Vermont over the weekend, and was admittedly oblivious to the fact that Esposito’s status was in limbo.
The mayor met with him twice on Monday before publicly clarifying through a spokesman late Monday that Esposito would be staying on until a replacement is found, and that he might get a new role in the administration.
Hizzoner tried to lessen the blow Tuesday by heaping praise on Esposito, who had a decades-long career at the NYPD before being appointed as OEM commissioner in 2014.
But the mayor repeatedly undercut that praise — at one point saying that “there was also things missing that we needed for where we wanted to go.”
The overall tenor struck some as a failed bid to dump Esposito diplomatically.
“That’s right up there with ‘It’s not you it’s me.’ Ouch!!” wrote Twitter user @bikeloveny.
Andrew Berman, of the political relations firm BerlinRosen, chimed in, “He’s just not that into him.”
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