Vlasto Leaving Gotbaum

Another top aide is leaving Betsy Gotbaum’s office.

Gotbaum’s communication director, James Vlasto is leaving effective March 20, according to an email he sent to friends today.

“Now is the time to move on. I intend to stay active as a consultant to help those involved in public policy and to assist them in making their views known through the press,” he wrote.

Vlasto, father of Chuck Schumer’s press secretary Josh Vlasto, has worked in government for more than 40 years. (Some of his accomplishments pre-date Google News, but here’s a relatively recent piece from his days at spokesman for Schools Chancellor Joseph Fernandez.)

Vlasto’s departure comes after Gotbaum effectively took herself off the list of potential 2009 comptroller or mayoral candidates and after the abrupt departure of her press secretary, John Collins.

UPDATE: I just got off the phone with Vlasto, who said he is retiring. Sort of. “You’ll see me pop up to assist those with something to say,” he told me, “to help get their viewpoint on the blogs and newspapers.”

Looking back over his 51-year-career, and the change in the business, Vlasto said, “I used to represent four or five Congress members at one time. Space was allotted to them. Not everyday, but every couple of days there would be an item: ‘Congressman so-and-so said this. Congressman so-and-so said that.’ Those days are gone. So, it’s harder for them and much harder for the Council members, or Assembly members or State Senate members, except for the Speaker, to gain attention.” Vlasto Leaving Gotbaum