Mystery Figure Set to Take Over City Tonight!


Line of succession is not usually a big deal on the municipal level, but with a mayor who acts increasingly, shall we say, presidential, the question does arise: Who's in charge when Bloomie's out of town? Today's Times notes a weirdly undemocratic wrinkle in the protocol. Normally, first deputy Patricia Harris picks up the reins. How about when she's also out of town, though, as she will be tonight? Well, in those cases, the job of running the world's capital goes to … some dude. Or lady. Bloomberg won't say who among his staffers is next in line to the throne. Moreover, he pretty much asks us not to worry our pretty little heads about it: He's always in control. After all, his private jet probably has Bloomberg Terminals installed.

The mayor is weirdly adamant, however, in pointing out that, whoever the second successor may be, it's not public advocate Betsy Gotbaum (whose job description indeed includes "succeeding the mayor if he is unable to serve"). Geez, what'd Betsy do? Is it just because she's a liberal, Dinkins-endorsed critic of many Bloomberg initiatives, from public-sector budget cuts to the school-bus plan? Would a Gotbaum-led New York plunge into an abyss of trans fats and smoking? Whatever it is, the mayor and the deputy are off to Paris tonight — and we, for one, welcome our temporary, faceless Illuminati rulers.

Who Speaks for Mayor? Better You Shouldn't Ask [NYT]