Under tough questioning from members of the City Council, members of the Bloomberg administration admitted that there was a failure of communication during last month’s storm, one exacerbated by the fact that a number of high-level officials were out of town for the Christmas holiday.
Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith deflected questions about who was in charge of the day-to-day operations of the city since Mayor Bloomberg and Goldsmith were away for the Christmas holiday. He did note, however, that neither he or nor the mayor were aware of the decision by the Sanitation and Transportation Departments to not call a snow emergency.
“The mayor did not have the information he deserved,” Goldsmith said.
The administration officials also received tough questioning from Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who tried to get Office of Emergency Management head Joseph Bruno to explain why it took so long for the city to open up its emergency command center. The coordinated response did not begin until an hour before the storm was scheduled to hit.
And Council member Letitia James, who is running today’s hearings, brought out two pairs of snow chains to point out that the city had swapped its usual equipment for a cheaper alternative.
Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty denied that the newer chains were selected because they were cheaper, but because they were better.
The administration officials were also asked how many people died as a result of an emergency response system that was snarled by the storm. They said that those figures were not available.