Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Sunday, December 15, 2013

How The NYPD And The NYCDOE Suffer From The Same Bloombergian Disease

It's called checklistitis - as in, the corporate managers of the NYPD and the NYCDOE, people with little to no actual experience in the jobs they're now managing other people for, demand accountability of underlings through endless checklists on which every category of data must get checked or else there is hell to pay.

In the end, the only thing that matters in such a system is the checklist and making sure that you can tell top-down management that no check box has gone unchecked.

Here's a retired sergeant from the NYPD writing about how checklistitis stripped cops of autonomy and created a CYA environment where nothing mattered more than the data:

Under Bratton, NYPD executives were subject to Compstat meetings, where they were challenged, often reprimanded regarding crime statistics in their commands and compelled to develop strategies to correct these conditions. But ultimately, the focus was on having well-trained and effective line-level enforcers.

A lot of that changed under Commissioner Raymond Kelly, when a harsher, more corporate management ethos took over.

Units previously run by lieutenants were now managed by an executive. These commanders were less concerned with allowing detectives to run their investigations than with trying to anticipate and generate answers to the questions they expected to be asked when called on the Compstat carpet or briefing the commissioner on high-profile cases.

And most of the new bosses had very little hands-on experience. Detectives who spent their careers investigating serious offenses were being told at every step to check in first with an executive who typically never worked as a detective.

The sharp decline in detectives’ case clearance rates is strong evidence that this management style has outlived its usefulness.

Under Kelly, the NYPD has become top-heavy, with more executives than ever micromanaging minutiae barely worthy of a sergeant’s attention.

Now, when a situation challenges a patrol officer, he calls a sergeant, who calls the lieutenant, who notifies the captain.

Many of my former colleagues are dubious that Bratton’s proactive, cop-friendly tactics will be met with approval by Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio. But the incoming commissioner’s adaptability should not be underestimated.

The challenge Bratton faces on his return, which may be more perplexing than the out-of-control crime he faced in 1994, is how to get detectives who have been trained to follow checklists rather than investigative leads — and supervisors with years of seniority who have never made a significant decision — onboard with his agenda, which depends on intelligence and autonomy, rather than automatons.

Sounds eerily familiar to those of us in the DOE who have seen the same micromanaging of minutiae barely worth anybody's attention but under Bloomberg, God forbid that minutiae remains unchecked on the checklist, or there is hell to pay.

This is Bloomberg's top-down management style, which stems from his arrogant conviction that everybody outside of himself and his crop of cronies is an idiot who cannot be allowed to handle any decisions on their own.

A commenter at the News story wrote:

The Mayor believes that the people of New York are incapable of making petty decisions as well. Great point and it would seem that their like-mindedness has made them (Mayor & PC) inseparable all these years.

Indeed, it really comes down to that.
Bloomberg believes nobody can make decisions on their own.
That's why he isn't going away, even though he's leaving office.
The Times describes this coteria of Bloomberg cronies thusly:
The organization, to be called Bloomberg Associates, will act as an urban SWAT team, deployed at the invitation of local governments to solve knotty, long-term challenges, like turning a blighted waterfront into a gleaming public space, or building subway-friendly residential neighborhoods.
In a twist on the traditional business model of consulting, clients will not be charged.

Much about the new group is still unknown. But as with most of Mr. Bloomberg’s undertakings over the past decade, it will involve spending eye-popping sums of money with no expectation of earning a profit. (The annual budget will run in the tens of millions.)

The group resembles a government in exile. Mr. Bloomberg has recruited at least half a dozen top aides from his administration, including Janette Sadik-Khan, the transportation commissioner; Katherine Oliver, the commissioner of media and entertainment; and Kate D. Levin, the cultural affairs commissioner.

Bloomberg Associates will be run by George A. Fertitta, who as chief executive of the city’s tourism agency oversaw a record increase in annual visitors to New York, to 54 million this year. Mr. Fertitta said in an interview that the group would eventually expand to about 20 to 25 employees, most of them drawn from the mayor’s office, who will work closely with Mr. Bloomberg’s sprawling charitable foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies. (Like the foundation, the consultancy will be housed inside a giant townhouse on the Upper East Side, around the corner from the mayor’s home.)
God help the rest of the world.


  1. TeachmyclassMrMayor(andyoutooMrMulgrew)December 15, 2013 at 1:39 PM

    Sounds a lot like how the German army ran.

    1. Just a bit, yes. Top down, just following orders...

  2. Let them eat snake...

  3. OMG
    What are we doing to stop this parasite that is worming it's way into the fiber of our collective being?
    And DBD says that Obama is coming back to his 2008 campaign theme of inequality. Yes, the neo-liberal talk out of 2 sides of the Obamagogue's mouth.
    Waking up?

    1. Alas, billioare malanthropists get to continue their work long after they leave office, long after they leave this mortal coil. Look at Rockefeller, Carnegie, et al.

  4. Look at what this propagandist Goodwin wrote about the search for Chancellor...

    1. Thanks - posted about it!