Amid a sprawling federal investigation into the mayor’s administration, Bill de Blasio’s top lawyer, Maya Wiley, is leaving her position to head up the Civilian Complaint Review Board. She is the third high-level staffer to leave City Hall this month.
“It will raise eyebrows, and I regret that,” Wiley told the Wall Street Journal. “I feel very strongly this administration adhered to the law...and I’m confident there will be a resolution of these investigations on a rolling basis.”
A civil-rights attorney from Brooklyn, Wiley takes over the CCRB—an independent agency that investigates complaints against police officers with the NYPD—from Richard Emery, who stepped down in April after being sued by his own executive director over sexist comments he allegedly made. (The suit was later dropped.)
Wiley attained some notoriety herself earlier this year when she introduced the made-up term “agents of the city” into the pantheon of meaningless bureaucratic language in a bid to provide legal justification for the city’s withholding of correspondence between the mayor and five members of what has been referred to as Bill de Blasio’s “shadow government.”
(Normally, any correspondence between city officials and individuals outside of the administration who are not contractors with the city is subject to disclosure. These five “agents of the city,” however, have been afforded special dispensation. “In retrospect, the term came across in ways I didn’t intend for it to,” Wiley told the Journal, saying also that she regrets using “technical term,” apparently in reference to the term she made up.)
And the mayor’s counsel isn’t the only one to have jumped ship recently: Earlier this month, press secretary Karen Hinton left the administration after less than a year on the job, and just this week the mayor’s social media director, Scott Kleinberg, announced his own resignation in a very dramatic Facebook post.
“I tried to stick it out, but it was impossible,” Kleinberg wrote. “I don’t even know the word quit, but for the sake of my health and my sanity, I decided I needed to do just that. Now, for the first time in my life, I’m unemployed... I’ve learned a lot in the past several weeks, including something I’ve ignored in many a fortune cookie: If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.”
“I ended up with political hacks plus a boss who just couldn’t get it,” he continued in a comment. “It was a bad combination for sure.”
In a statement on Kleinberg’s departure, mayoral spokesperson Andrea Hagelgans said, “New York City government is a tough, fast-paced job that is not for everyone.” She added: “We wish him well.”