New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio harshly criticized Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo Tuesday, accusing him of exacting "revenge" and carrying on a "vendetta" that thwarted the city's interests.
Though tensions between mayors and governors are common, de Blasio's broadside at a fellow Democrat he has long described as a "friend" stood apart as blunt and personal. It raised questions over how the two can manage their relationship -- and that between the city and state -- going forward.
"I started . . . with the hope of a very strong partnership. I've been disappointed at every turn," said de Blasio, speaking to reporters he invited into his City Hall office. The mayor made similar remarks in a TV interview with NY1.
He blamed Cuomo for rejection of much of the de Blasio agenda in the Albany legislative session that ended last week, including a permanent extension of mayoral control of schools -- de Blasio got just one year. Cuomo's motives, de Blasio charged, were rooted in vengefulness.
"What we've often seen is if someone disagrees with him openly, some kind of revenge or vendetta follows," he told NY1. "And I think too many people in this state have gotten used to that pattern and thrown a bit by it. But I think more and more of us are saying: We're just not going to be party to that any more."
De Blasio, who spoke just before heading out of town on a family vacation, suggested his comments could spark a new round of retribution.
"I think there will be some impulse from him and his team to again take a critique and turn it into a cause for revenge, and we won't stand for that," the mayor said.
Melissa DeRosa, Cuomo's top spokeswoman, responded in a statement.
"For those new to the process, it takes coalition and compromise to get things done in government," she said. "We wish the mayor well on his vacation."
Until Tuesday, de Blasio had responded with restraint, if at all, when Cuomo outmaneuvered or bigfooted him. He also held back last week after Cuomo didn't deny he and his team were the unnamed officials in news reports who belittled the mayor as "incompetent" and clueless on influencing the legislative process.
But Tuesday, he told City Hall reporters there were instances when Cuomo targeted his administration for little reason except "revenge for some perceived slight."
On mayoral control of schools, de Blasio said the Republican-run State Senate "did not have a philosophical problem" and had voted for it before. The resistance to a longer extension, he charged, was based on "the governor's guidance." A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (R-East Northport) did not return messages for comment.
Last month, de Blasio and Cuomo bickered openly over developer incentives and concessions from labor in a program to build new affordable housing. De Blasio said Tuesday that he ended up with "substantially the plan we put forward," but that Cuomo had "manufactured" issues to undermine his plan along the way.
Assessing de Blasio's stinging attack, Kenneth Sherrill, an emeritus politics professor at Hunter College, questioned its wisdom.
"In a spitefest between the mayor and the governor, there is a good chance that the people are going to be the losers," he said. "Is the governor going to look for payback by being nicer to New York City?"
But Alan Chartock, a professor emeritus at the University at Albany said: "It's about time. You can only turn the cheek so many times."
Asked what de Blasio can expect of a Cuomo response, Chartock said, "Frankly, he can't do any worse than he's been getting. "
With Emily Ngo