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Top de Blasio aide's departure leaves behind a puzzle

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio with

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio with Lilliam Barrios-Paoli as he appointed her deputy mayor for health and human services on Dec. 12, 2013. In September 2015, she is leaving the post. Credit: Charles Eckert

What looked to outsiders like an abrupt departure for Lilliam Barrios-Paoli as deputy mayor to NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio took weeks to play out behind the scenes, City Hall insiders said, with some contention involving Homeless Services Commissioner Gilbert Taylor.

Barrios-Paoli has declined to comment on the rumored clashes. She was the top City Hall aide for homelessness, social services and health. De Blasio's message has shifted on homelessness in recent weeks. It has been widely noticed that while Barrios-Paoli's move to the nonpaid chairmanship of the Health and Hospitals Corporation was taking shape, no successor to her post has been announced.

Barrios-Paoli said in a statement last week she was  "excited for this new phase, and looking forward to joining and chairing the HHC Board."

Taylor has been on a public hot seat over conditions in homeless shelters and widespread perceptions that the problem has gotten worse. De Blasio has argued that the problem has been exacerbated by the economics of affordable housing in the city, beyond the element of mental illness and addiction as factors.

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