Mayor de Blasio will have no more to say about Rachel Noerdlinger, chief of staff to first lady, Chirlane McCray.
Or so he hopes.
The mayor said the other day that the issue has been covered “very clearly,” that a Department of Investigations review found no reason to discipline Ms. Noerdlinger, and that he has “absolute faith” in her ability. “Case closed,” the mayor told the Observer.
Call it wishful thinking. Because, as the Observer noted several days ago, the city’s police officers may not be so willing to dismiss Ms. Noerdlinger’s relationship with a convicted killer who referred to cops as “pigs” on his Facebook page. Police officers take exception to that sort of rhetoric, especially when the source has a significant rap sheet.
As the mayor noted, the D.O.I. concluded that Ms. Noerdlinger did not attempt to deceive anyone when she neglected to mention her relationship with Hassaun McFarlan on her background check. Mr. McFarlan was convicted of manslaughter when he was a teen and has been arrested on drug charges since his release from prison. But that is almost beside the point. The issue really boils down to the mayor’s indifference to verbal attacks on the police.
In an interview with the Observer, Sgt. Ed Mullins, president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, charged that Mr. de Blasio “got elected by bashing police.” Mr. de Blasio’s trust in Ms. Noerdlinger “says a lot about her character, the character of the mayor, and the character of the mayor’s wife,” Sgt. Mullins said.
Those are harsh words, although they seem downright subtle compared with Mr. McFarlan’s anti-police rants. And they may foreshadow some tense exchanges between the city’s police unions and City Hall officials during contract talks, which already are underway.
Simply put, this case is not closed, at least not until Mr. de Blasio can persuade the city’s police officers that he is not reflexively anti-cop. That will take some doing, and, frankly, as long as his wife’s chief of staff can be linked to a convicted killer who calls cops “pigs,” well, it may be an impossible task.
The mayor still has work to do before Ms. Noerdlinger disappears from the daily news cycle in City Hall.