The Republicans’ presumptive mayoral candidate, Nicole Malliotakis, said on Tuesday that she would freeze most municipal hiring, with the goal of cutting New York City’s public workforce except emergency personnel.
Malliotakis said she’s troubled by how many people work for the city — nearly 330,000 in the current fiscal year, the biggest number in municipal history — which has grown from about 297,000 in 2014, the year incumbent Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, took office.
“We wouldn’t hire new people unless they’re emergency personnel,” such as police, firefighters and medics, Malliotakis said at a news conference announcing the plan outside City Hall.
“Other than emergency personnel, we shouldn’t be growing bureaucracy,” she said.
For instance, she’d scrutinize the 1,900 administrative employees at the city Department of Education, which runs the public schools that teach 1.1 million children, and avoid replacing retirees in nearly every agency.
At one point during the news conference, de Blasio walked by on his way to the subway. Malliotakis tried to hand him a Red Bull energy drink — a dig at his penchant for tardiness and a report that he naps during the workday.
She said the money saved by the workforce ought to be used to fund the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s subway “rescue” plan — proposed to make short-term fixes to a transit system reeling from record delays and breakdowns. De Blasio opposes the plan, noting the state has raided the MTA budget for years for other priorities.
On Monday, de Blasio proposed increasing the highest income tax rate about a half a percentage point, to about 4.4 percent from about 3.9 percent, for single filers paid more than $500,000 a year, or married people who make more than $1 million. Malliotakis opposes his plan, saying, “We don’t need to keep asking people for more money.”
De Blasio spokeswoman Freddi Goldstein wrote, “The mayor believes the wealthiest 1 percent of New Yorkers should pay for these critical system improvements. Some critics apparently believe the bill should be paid with the tax dollars of hardworking middle-class and low-income New Yorkers. That’s wrong.”
Goldstein said the head count growth under de Blasio criticized by Malliotakis can be attributed to the hiring of more cops, new prekindergarten classes and more jail guards.