Mayor Bill de Blasio made clear today he plans to give the boot to Fire Commissioner Sal Cassano, a holdover from the Bloomberg administration.
“He’s been in an interim role and I think he’s performed admirably,” said Mr. de Blasio, speaking today at a press conference in the Bronx encouraging parents to apply to pre-K programs, when asked to assess Ms. Cassano’s performance
“I give him a lot of respect, particularly for what he did in the middle of the East Harlem tragedy, which was an extremely difficult moment. And I thought he and all the men and women who serve under him did a fantastic job,” the mayor added. “But it’s been clear from the beginning that it’s an interim role.”
Mr. Cassano was asked by Mr. de Blasio to stay on during the first months of his administration, along with former Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty, who has since departed, and Office of Emergency Management Commissioner Joe Bruno.
Pressed on his decision, Mr. de Blasio said it has always been his plan.
“I think I’ve said all there is to say. He’s interim,” he reporters, adding that “of course” his team is actively searching for replacements.
As for a timeline, he was equally short, saying, “I think we’ve been down this road many a time. We’ll have an announcement when we’re ready.”
The FDNY is under new scrutiny following reports that ambulances were delayed in responding to the Easter fire that killed two 4-year-olds in the Rockaways. EMS workers reportedly showed up 21 minutes after the original 911 call was placed at 11:51 p.m. An FDNY spokesman said the case is “under review.”
“Obviously I want to know all the facts. My heart goes out to the family,” said the mayor. “We need to know what happened there.”
As for reports that Ms. Cassano’s son is trying to get his old FDNY job back after being fired for a series of anti-Semitic and racist tweets, Mr. de Blasio chose to stay out of the fray.
“Look, I don’t know the details of what he’s seeking to do. Obviously the remarks he made at the time were totally inappropriate. I don’t know enough about what he’s done to redeem himself, so I can’t comment further because I just don’t have that knowledge,” he said.