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The city budget may prevent Mayor Bloomberg from paying his employees what he'd really like to give them for their service and dedication. But he has other ways to make up the difference. According to today's Times, the mayor recently made a $1 million donation to Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania—to stamp the name of his deputy mayor, Patti Harris, on the front of a new academic center.

Mr. Bloomberg is famous for doling out eye-popping bonuses to staff members on his campaigns, referring sick workers to top doctors, even paying for the large funeral of a City Hall aide. In return, he expects absolute fealty.

But he has never before used his fortune to pay tribute to a current city employee—a gesture that historians said had no precedent in the city government.

Of course, re-writing New York City's term limit laws to allow Bloomberg to serve a third term didn't have a precedent either, and he managed to do that. And Harris has been willing to do just about anything for the mayor, including handle such "mundane" issues as "which paintings to hang at Gracie Mansion." So maybe we shouldn't be surprised by any of this.

A Mayor Prizing Loyalty Pays Costly Tribute to His Top Aide [NYT]