Mind Your Manners

The incoming city comptroller, John Liu, clearly is a busy man. He’s so busy, in fact, that he couldn’t make time to meet with Mayor Bloomberg for a post-election sit-down last week.

The mayor was surprisingly gracious about Mr. Liu’s scheduling priorities, saying that Mr. Liu had a lot on his plate and perhaps was simply overextended. That might well be, but the spin from Mr. Liu’s camp suggests that the comptroller-elect is having second thoughts about turning down the mayor’s offer to meet. It was all a misunderstanding, we are now told.

That’s possible, although it’s a little hard to imagine how a simple invitation for a cup of coffee could be misunderstood. Councilman Bill de Blasio, who won election as the city’s new public advocate, found time in his own busy schedule to meet with the mayor on Thursday, two days after the election. Mr. Liu should have found a way to make it happen.

Unless, of course, he was trying to make a political point of some sort. When word leaked that he had seemingly declined the mayor’s offer, Mr. Liu said, “A long time ago, the people of New York decided there would be no king or a monarch in New York City.” Actually, Mr. Liu, a long time ago New York was a hotbed of pro-Crown sentiment—the British military found the city quite congenial even as George Washington and his band of rebels were fighting for independence elsewhere. As a citywide elected official, Mr. Liu will want to brush up on New York’s past before making any more historical allusions.

It appears now that a meeting between the mayor and the future keeper of the city’s treasury will take place soon. With any luck, Mr. Liu will do more listening than talking.

Mind Your Manners