The Goldsmith Fiasco

Mayor Bloomberg should have played it straight when he learned that Stephen Goldsmith, a trusted deputy, had been arrested on domestic violence charges in late July. Instead, the mayor issued a bland statement announcing Mr. Goldsmith’s resignation on Aug. 4, saying only that the onetime mayor of Indianapolis was leaving City Hall to pursue an opportunity in the private sector.

Mr. Bloomberg said he acted as he did to spare the Goldsmith family further embarrassment. But, frankly, the embarrassment was City Hall’s when the true reason for Mr. Goldsmith’s departure became known. Mr. Goldsmith’s family already was in crisis from the moment he was arrested, after his wife said he shoved her and she said, “I should have put a bullet through you years ago.” Nothing Mr. Bloomberg could have said or done could possibly have made the family’s situation worse.

The mayor’s loyalty to those who serve him is legendary and admirable. But on this occasion, Mr. Bloomberg did himself and the public a disservice. He did not have to call a news conference to denounce Mr. Goldsmith—who, it should be noted, has not been formally charged with a crime. He certainly could have asked the public to refrain from rushing to judgment, and to keep the Goldsmith family in its thoughts and prayers.

And, having said that, he should have revealed why Mr. Goldsmith had to leave the administration.

The mayor has been around long enough to know that the truth about his deputy’s departure would come out eventually. And yet he chose to dissemble—he doesn’t quite see it that way, but the fact is that Mr. Goldsmith did not resign for the reasons City Hall claimed. There was no private sector opportunity to pursue. Instead, there was a police report with Mr. Goldsmith’s name on it.

Mr. Bloomberg owed the public the truth.  Whatever his intentions, he did not, in fact, tell the truth. The public deserved better.