De Blasio shades ex-health boss Dr. Oxiris Barbot, touts relationship with Dermot Shea
Mayor de Blasio said he enjoys a “very collegial” relationship with Police Commissioner Dermot Shea, as opposed to his recently-ousted Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot.
In explaining his decision to replace Barbot with former Health + Hospitals official Dr. Dave Chokshi, de Blasio said during a remote City Hall press briefing Wednesday that he demands “teamwork” and “communication” from his commissioners.
Both Shea and Barbot have clashed with the mayor over his decisions around policing and the coronavirus.
But de Blasio said Shea was open about his concerns including opposition to controversial police reform laws. The mayor and Barbot’s toxic relationship often played out in behind-the-scenes sniping from surrogates.
“There’s nothing he said that I took personal offense to. We have talked constantly,” de Blasio said about Shea.
“When he has a concern he raises it forthrightly. When it’s something that I understand he thinks is important to talk about publicly he and I talk about it first and we come to an agreement on the right way to address things.
“It’s been a very collegial dynamic,” de Blasio said.
“He has also to his credit really put a focus on working with other agencies, other leaders of the administration, in a collegial manner, that’s what I value,” de Blasio said.
Barbot infamously blew off a pressing NYPD request for surgical masks during the height of the COVID-19 crisis in March — telling a high-ranking police boss that “I don’t give two rats’ asses about your cops.”
She later apologized.
“If someone, anyone, says something that wasn’t the right thing to say it’s important to clear the air and just move forward and that’s what happened,” de Blasio recounted Wednesday.
De Blasio suggested he made the decision to fire Barbot last weekend, before she submitted a resignation letter Tuesday criticizing the mayor for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I always prefer if we’ve gotten to a situation where we got to make a change that there be a real conversation with someone. Everyone’s mature adults. Some things just don’t work out sometimes. It’s just time for a change in leadership especially as were getting ready for a whole host of new challenges and that’s the point we got to this weekend,” he said.
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