Mayor Michael Bloomberg, burnishing his legacy in all five boroughs this week as he prepares to leave office, shed a sliver of light today on the new consulting firm he’s planning to found once he leaves office, aimed at helping cities across the world.
Mr. Bloomberg, who was in Brooklyn to herald the opening of a new ice skating center in Prospect Park, told reporters that many other cities want to replicate the “wonderful things” New York has accomplished in his tenure.
“We’ve got enormous demand and we’ve had for years now from other cities around the world, not just around the country of, ‘How do you do these wonderful things?'” Mr. Bloomberg said. “We are, no matter we may whip ourselves, but we are the poster child for most of the good things that have happened in big cities.”
The firm, which was first reported by the New York Times, will work to export many of the city’s current initiatives in areas like public health, economic development and environmental sustainability to any city that seeks Mr. Bloomberg’s advice. Many of his long-serving deputies, including Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and Cultural Affairs Commissioner Kate Levin will join him at the organization, which will be called Bloomberg Associates. Backed by Mr. Bloomberg’s vast wealth, the firm will not charge city governments any money for advice, the mayor said.
“Everybody wants to know and I thought it would be great, as long as we had some of the commissioners there–you can’t get everybody and maybe we’ll get some more over time–but pulling them together and making that service available to others,” he continued. “We’re all in this together and I think there’s going to be enormous demand, from what we can tell, for it.”
One reporter asked if Mr. Bloomberg’s most famous–and controversial–commissioner, police chief Ray Kelly, would be joining the firm. Mr. Kelly, set to be replaced by Bill Bratton, has not revealed his next move, but Mr. Bloomberg said Mr. Kelly would be a great asset anywhere he ends up.
“He’s as competent as you can be. Ray’s trying to figure what he wants to do,” Mr. Bloomberg said. “He’s got an awful lot to say and people will want him and it has been a pleasure and a great boon to the city that we’ve been able to work together for 12 years. And if I can work with Ray Kelly any time, any place, I will certainly do that.”