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Bloomberg Praises Clean-Up Chief Despite Blizzard Disaster

By Della Hasselle | January 1, 2011 11:44am | Updated on January 2, 2011 9:56am
A snow plow stands parked outside of City Hall Wednesday.
A snow plow stands parked outside of City Hall Wednesday.
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DNAinfo/Jill Colvin

By Della Hasselle

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

MANHATTAN —Call it Mayor Bloomberg's Katrina moment.

Despite still being battered by a storm of criticism for his administration's response to Sunday's blizzard, Bloomberg had nothing but praise for the Department of Sanitation commissoner, according to the New York Post.

On his WOR-AM radio show Friday, Bloomberg even promised John Doherty another three years on the job, the paper reported.

It was a back-slapping reminiscent of President Bush's "heck of a job" congratulations for FEMA chief Michael Brown after Hurricane Katrina.

Dohertey had expressed wishes to serve another three years in a reference to Bloomberg's controversial third term election.

"You will do another three. That you don't have to worry about," Bloomberg said, according to the Post.

A snowplow makes its way up Sixth Avenue as the snowstorm got started Sunday.
A snowplow makes its way up Sixth Avenue as the snowstorm got started Sunday.
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DNAinfo/Jordan Heller

Doherty also took a moment to praise his crew.

"They did a great job. I'm very proud of them," he said on the show.

The accolade comes only a day after Bloomberg himself admitted that the storm cleanup efforts, a highly criticized disaster that left boroughs buried under snow for days, was less than satisfactory.

"The response to the snowstorm was inadequate and unacceptable," Bloomberg said at a late-morning press conference in Queens Thursday.

City Council is set to hold hearings on Jan. 10 in response to the blizzard aftermath after allegations that sanitation cleanup crews intentionally slowed their efforts after the storm as payback for recent budget cuts.

Bloomberg repeatedly denied the rumors.

"I don't think it took place," Bloomberg said at Thursday's press conference, adding that his office would look into the claims. "It would be an outrage if it took place."

Queens City Councilman Dan Halloran, however, told the Post that a group of "guilt-ridden" sanitation workers confessed to a widespread plot to leave the city streets a slushy mess.

Some of the stalling tactics included keeping their plows raised higher than usual so that streets would have to be plowed additional times, and refusing to plow streets that weren’t their responsibility, even if they were en route to the streets that are.

"They were told [by supervisors] to take off routes [and] not do the plowing of some of the major arteries in a timely manner," Halloran told the Post. "They were told to make the mayor pay for the layoffs, the reductions in rank for the supervisors, shrinking the rolls of the rank-and-file."

Gov. David Paterson agreed to hold an investigation.

"Right now it would be better for there to be an investigation about the allegations that I heard the Councilman making,” Paterson said on his radio show. "This would be a very, very serious breach."