#Past, present City Hall staffers take to streets to protest de Blasio

#Past, present City Hall staffers take to streets to protest de Blasio

June 8, 2020 | 3:14pm | Updated June 8, 2020 | 3:35pm

Current and former members of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration took to the streets on Monday in a protest attended by hundreds that called out Hizzoner’s handling of recent unrest in the city.

“I feel like I am doing my job as a public servant out here today,” Cat Almonte, 28, told The Post of the decision to protest her boss.

What started as a few dozen workers — representing agencies from the Department of Health to the Department of City Planning — gathered outside City Hall early Monday to bring their grievances to de Blasio’s doorstep.

“Some of us are risking our livelihood being here, our careers,” Almonte — who formerly worked as de Blasio’s personal aide and now works for a city agency, which she declined to identify — told the crowd.

“I’m not here to just criticize the mayor. That’s easy,” continued Almonte. “I am coming from a place of deep respect to say we expect better. We are demanding radical change now.”

Among Almonte’s demands was a $1 billion reduction in NYPD funding for the coming fiscal year — representing one sixth of the department’s budget — and the shift of that cash to services including rent relief, housing support and food assistance.

De Blasio who on Sunday flip-flopped to vow the reallocation of an unspecified amount of funding from the NYPD to youth and social services — has felt the heat amid nationwide protests demanding justice for George Floyd, a black man who died May 25 after a white Minneapolis cop knelt on his neck.

Looting, vandalism and clashes with cops spun off by opportunists and agitators in or around protests have only fueled the fire.

As the group left City Hall and took to the Brooklyn Bridge, their number swelled into the hundreds, many bearing signs that read “Black Lives Matter.”

“We aren’t just a group of New Yorkers who are disgruntled who have a right to be disgruntled and angry and hold the mayor accountable,” said Christopher Collins McNeil, a former staffer in the Mayor’s Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. “We are a group of people who have worked for this man, currently work for the mayor.”

City Hall Workers protest

A group of past and present city hall workers march from City Hall to 1 Police Plaza to Cadman Plaza war memorial to protest the Blasio administration’s handling of the George Floyd protests

Stephen Yang

City Hall Workers protest

City Hall Workers protest

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Added Michael Cox, who said he formerly worked in the mayor’s office, “He [de Blasio] said he was going to stand against police injustice. … It’s not clear to us what happened.”

The group made its way over the bridge into Brooklyn before going their separate ways in Cadman Plaza, where de Blasio was jeered heavily last week at a memorial event for Floyd.

The protest coincided with several groups of current and former city staffers penning open letters of criticism to de Blasio, including the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice.

“At the June 4 memorial service for George Floyd in Brooklyn’s Cadman Plaza, Mayor de Blasio said that Mr. Floyd, ‘cannot have been allowed to die in vain,’ ” that letter read in part.

“We fully agree with this sentiment. As advisors to the Mayor, we call for action and adoption of the following strategies to use this moment of protest and anger as a catalyst to create the city that New Yorkers deserve, a city where all people are recognized for their humanity.”

Among the list of demands in the letter signed by dozens of current and former staffers — is the reallocation of funds from the NYPD to community groups and greater accountability for the department.

While his current and former employees took to the streets, de Blasio held a press briefing miles away at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

“I don’t know who is or who is not,” he said, referring to protesters who are or have been part of his administration. “I say to anyone who has I concern, I want to hear it, senior staff wants to hear it. … I reach out a hand to anyone who wants to do that work together.”

Additional reporting by Craig McCarthy


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