As a case-study in crisis management, however, Bloomberg tends to be the best. He handled the Ground Zero mosque situation in a way that calmed the city. And he rebounded from the winter blizzard fiasco to have the city ready for Hurricane Irene. Some, however, criticize his handling of the firing of Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith. The critics are wrong. This was proper crisis management.
It has been mentioned a few times in this column that Goldsmith was a good choice for City Hall, given his track record in Indiana. For administrative purposes, he was a good choice. Now, after an arrest for domestic violence, he has been rightfully let go.
He resigned, but would have been terminated had he not issued a letter of resignation. There has been some noise about Bloomberg not giving the true reason as to why Goldsmith left office when he resigned. The mayor said that he did not want to “make a bad situation worse.” Bloomberg explained that he did not want to embarrass the Goldsmith family.
What is more telling is that these domestic issues are often ongoing problems. Bloomberg most likely did not have all of the personal facts related to Goldsmiths’ domestic affairs. Understand that the mayor of New York City is a national position – highly visible and very influential. If Bloomberg jumped to put a spotlight on Goldsmith, he might have gotten things wrong.
Domestic violence is a big deal. City agencies that deal with health issues or housing concerns are very sensitive to domestic violence. Bloomberg was right to wait for Goldsmith’s arrest to become public on its own. It is not the mayor’s position to report the news.
Mrs. Goldsmith has now explained that she was tired when she made the call to the police in Washington, D.C,. and she is not pressing charges. None of that matters, however. The police came to his house, and he left with them – that is not good for our city.
The police do not arrest you for domestic violence because your spouse is tired, or you made a mistake when you called 911. Mrs. Goldsmith knows that you can call the police on a regular line, and you call 911 when you are in distress. She called 911. Goldsmith had to be terminated.
If people think Bloomberg was too easy on Goldsmith, they need to realize there was nothing else the mayor could do. There was no reason to humiliate the man and his wife. Nobody has ever accused Bloomberg of being too warm and fuzzy, and for that reason alone, we should give the mayor the benefit of the doubt. Should the people know exactly why a public employee is fired? Yes, but Goldsmith resigned. In cases that are as sensitive as domestic violence, it is proper to use caution.
Bloomberg chose to keep this low-key and allowed the government to operate with limited distractions.