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De Blasio vows answers to snowstorm debacle

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, left,

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, left, greets emergency personnel before a news conference about snow removal in the Brooklyn borough of New York. (Jan. 22, 2014) Credit: AP

Mayor Bill de Blasio promised Friday to release the findings of City Hall's internal inquiry into botched snowstorm-clearing efforts earlier this week, saying the job wasn't done right in parts of Staten Island as well as on Manhattan's Upper East Side.

"We're getting a managerial review of what happened, and we're getting a clear report on how to do better," he told reporters at City Hall.

The mayor, conceding that "some of the work wasn't good enough," said the inquiry would be done "in the next few days." He also said he welcomed a separate City Council inquiry into the debacle by Councilman Vincent M. Ignizio of Staten Island, who has called for oversight hearings.

During the storm Tuesday and Wednesday, main thoroughfares of the Upper East Side were gridlocked as plowing efforts failed to keep up with the snowfall. Traveling a single block in buses, cars and taxis took more than an hour. And days after the storm dumped more than a foot on some sections of the city, parts of Staten Island were still a mess.

De Blasio said that there were apparently glitches in the distribution of trucks and a malfunction in a GPS map that tracks snow clearing.

"The orders were given, the execution was not what it should have been," he said. "And when I saw it with my own eyes I was thoroughly dissatisfied, and I gave new orders."

Asked about the status of the sanitation commissioner, Bloomberg-era holdover John J. Doherty, de Blasio reiterated that he was staying on an interim basis through the snow season. Doherty was summoned to City Hall on Thursday for what de Blasio called "a very productive conversation" with First Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris.

De Blasio also promised to be more transparent with his itinerary, after he omitted from the schedule provided to the press a speech Thursday evening to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a pro-Israel lobbying group.

Event staff booted a reporter from the event, but the news site Capital New York got a recording of the speech, in which the mayor said "there is no greater ally on earth" for the United States than the Jewish state.

De Blasio said the group had insisted on the dinner being closed to the press. But from now on, de Blasio said, his staff would be sure to disclose on his schedules even events that are closed. He also said he would consider releasing the text of his prepared remarks and would be "as transparent as possible."

"We do owe you a clearer understanding of where I am and what I'm doing," de Blasio said.

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