Mayor Michael Bloomberg told reporters today that he did not pay enough attention as about $600 million was allegedly stolen from CityTime, the city's automated payroll system.
So far, authorities have charged 11 people, including one corporation, in connection with the massive fraud involving CityTime, which was designed to cut down on payroll waste and abuse.
Speaking at the New York City Civic Corps graduation ceremony at Gracie Mansion today, the mayor said the system should have been monitored more carefully.
"Certainly nobody paid as much attention to it as they should have, from me on down, and we're going to find out who did what," said Bloomberg. "A lot of it is 'should have, would have and could have,' I think it's fair to say, and we should have watched it more carefully and hopefully we learn and don't make the same mistake again."
The CityTime scandal is one of the largest frauds against the city, rivaling the corruption under 19th century Mayor William "Boss" Tweed.
Bloomberg's taking "partial responsibility" for the CityTime scandal is like a woman being "partially pregnant."
The mayor either is responsible for the contracts his government has with private contractors and is in charge of oversight of said contracts or he's not.
My reading of city law is that the mayor is, indeed, in charge of those things (though the City Controller's office does play a role and former Controller Bill Thompson was woefully inadequate in that job.)
Nonetheless, the city was made aware of problems in the CityTime project as far back as 2005 and Bloomberg did nothing about it.
So for him to say that he is only partially responsible for this mess is just jive.
Given that the CityTime scandal, as NY1 duly notes, "is one of the largest frauds against the city, rivaling the corruption under 19th century William "Boss" Tweed," and given that $600 million has disappeared from the city coffers and into the pockets (and bank accounts) of crooks, Bloomberg's taking "partial responsibility" for the scandal is not good enough.
I should add that there are other scandals involving city contracts, outside consultants and a startling lack of city oversight that are being investigated as well.
CityTime is just the tip of the scandal is just the tip of the scandal iceberg for the Bloomberg administration.
When you look at the various DOE scandals involving the tech consultants and when the school construction contracts are investigated. you will see that Bloomberg's legacy as mayor of New York City will be analogous to Boss Tweed's legacy.
He bears full responsibility for these scandals.
The mayor loves to point the "accountability finger" at others, like teachers and principals in the NYC school system.
But when it comes to taking responsibility for his own government and it's lack of oversight of these outside consultant contracts, he is still refusing to say the buck stops with him.
Oh, Harry Truman, where are you now?
A victimized city turns its lonely eyes to you, whoo-whoo-whoo...