I never drank the BDB Kool-Aid and fear that the people of New York, in their determination to kick Bloomberg's ass right out of town, bought themselves a blanker slate than Barack Obama, which I thought physically and politically impossible. .... Comment on MORE listserve on Capital NY article on under the covers DeB consultantsThe same consulting group that helped Rahm Emanuel screw the teachers in Chicago is in NYC advising de Blasio.
Civic Consulting USA was suggested to de Blasio's aides during a November meeting between de Blasio and Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel. Emanuel's staff suggested that de Blasio's transition team enlist the help of the group, whose mission is to pair government clients with partners in the private and nonprofit sector.Everyone assumes it will be better under de Blasio than under Bloomberg -- how can it be worse? And when it inevitably goes bad as the Capital NY article below points to, watch the UFT leadership turn tail and say, "We told you so, Thompson would have been better."
The consultant arrangement may come as a surprise to some supporters of de Blasio, who regularly, proudly champions the virtues of public-sector experience. ("I think people who understand government run government best," he told the Times recently.) But the apparent embrace of private-sector expertise is nothing new in New York City. Outgoing mayor Michael Bloomberg has routinely talked of the benefits that non-bureaucrats can bring to city governance, and in fact Civic Consulting USA lists Bloomberg Philanthropies as one of its funders.In the meantime we got some indications (vague, I admit) that the UFT and its fellow-travelers in the astro-turf community tried to drum up a last-ditch Kathy Cashin lobby campaign to forestall what a week ago was a sure-bet Farina appointment as chancellor. From what I can tell, the UFT has a long-term relationship with Cashin from her days as a District 22 (Midwood, Sheepshead Bay) principal, and her days as Dist. 23 (Brownsville) and Region 5 (Dist, 23, 19, 27 - Rockaway, Howard Beach, Woodhaven, etc). Not so much with Farina - Dist. 15 and Region 8.
I'm also betting that the charter school lobby would prefer Cashin over Farina for reasons I am not going to go into now. But given my reservations over both of them -- for very different reasons - which I hope to go into after a choice is made -- don't count on a lot of big changes on issues of big concern to teachers.
Bill de Blasio has two transition teams.
There's the public one, announced in late November. It's a diverse, 60-person assortment of nonprofit leaders, political types, educators, rabbis, Cynthia Nixon. More than half of its members are de Blasio donors.
Then there's another team, a nonprofit group whose participation in the process has never been announced, but which has been playing a substantial role in organizing the transition.
According to a source involved with the transition, this involved entity—Civic Consulting USA—has "embedded" into the process a team drawn from the "creme de la creme of the big New York consultants." This group has shaped the process by organizing the original transition team into a number of topic-specific committees and then bringing in an even greater number of other people onto those committees to participate in the search for future administration members.
The involvement of those new people, like the role of the consultants, was never announced.
In response to an inquiry by Capital, de Blasio spokeswoman Lis Smith confirmed the group's involvement, but described it in a strictly supporting role.
"Transition co-chairs Carl Weisbrod and Jennifer Jones Austin, along with Transition Executive Director Laura Santucci and Deputy Executive Director Ursulina Ramirez are running the transition," she said. "The core committee is providing the transition with important advice and counsel. Civic Consulting USA is also helping the transition on a pro-bono basis. They are one piece of the great team we’ve put together to build the next administration and recruit great talent to serve the people of New York City."
Smith declined to go into more specifics about the group's participation, and declined to comment on the existence of the newly formed subcommittees.
The head of the consulting group also confirmed its participation in the process, and also stressed its supporting role.
"We're very proud to be playing a supporting role to the transition chairs and staff for Mayor elect de Blasio," said Alexander Shermansong, Civic Consulting USA's C.E.O., in an email. "The leadership of the committee has been outstanding in their efforts and should be commended."
According to the transition source, Civic Consulting USA was suggested to de Blasio's aides during a November meeting between de Blasio and Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel. Emanuel's staff suggested that de Blasio's transition team enlist the help of the group, whose mission is to pair government clients with partners in the private and nonprofit sector.
Civic Consulting USA president Michael Hickey told Capital the group was "inspired by the pioneering work done by the Civic Consulting Alliance in Chicago."
For its part, the Civic Consulting Alliance in Chicago paired management consultants from companies like Deloitte, Bain & Company, Accenture and McKinsey & Company with Emanuel to help guide his own transition into office.
The transition cannot accept corporate contributions, so Civic Consulting is working for the transition team via an agreement with the city, according to Smith.
The consultant arrangement may come as a surprise to some supporters of de Blasio, who regularly, proudly champions the virtues of public-sector experience.
("I think people who understand government run government best," he told the Times recently.)
But the apparent embrace of private-sector expertise is nothing new in New York City.
Outgoing mayor Michael Bloomberg has routinely talked of the benefits that non-bureaucrats can bring to city governance, and in fact Civic Consulting USA lists Bloomberg Philanthropies as one of its funders.
And, in Bloombergian fashion, its website touts the benefits that non-governmental expertise can bring to "government clients": "We bring together teams who are better coordinated, longer term, and more talented than they could afford, attract, or manage otherwise—at no cost to the taxpayer."
What does the private partner get?
"Loaned professionals return energized with a renewed commitment to their companies" and they develop new skills. Also, "positive PR."
Its board includes Neil Kleiman, the director of Innovation Labs at NYU Wagner, Sean Monahan, a partner at management consultant firm A.T. Kearney, and Michael Schmidtberger, a partner at the law firm Sidley Austin.
Emanuel's relationship with the Civic Consulting Alliance generated significant attention in Chicago, not all of it positive.
"The alliance was a key player in Emanuel's 2011 transition to office," reported the Chicago Tribune last December. "As part of its role, the group brought in Accenture, one of the world's largest financial consulting firms, to provide free advice to the new administration. The company subsequently received a no-bid contract from the Emanuel administration that pays it a percentage of every dollar saved on other City Hall contracts."
A spokesman for Emanuel had no comment.