Mayor DeBlasio’s Unethical Tardiness

White RabbitSince he was elected to succeed Michael Bloomberg as New York City’s mayor, Mayor Bill DeBlasio has earned a reputation for chronic tardiness. He is routinely 15, 30, 45 minutes or more late for appointments and public events, and has shown little resolve to deal with the problem. The most recent instance of  the mayor operating on “DeBlasio time” came yesterday, when he arrived late for a memorial event  to honor  the 260 people who died on American Airlines Flight 587 thirteen years ago. This time he was only 20 minutes late-–not bad, for him–but it meant that he was late for the scheduled moment of silence, which occurred at 9:16 AM, the exact moment the plane crashed in Queens, on November 12, 2001. According to the family member who solemnly rang a bell to signify the moment, DeBlasio’s aides asked her to stall until the mayor graced the gathered mourners with his presence. He is being roundly slammed for the episode, in the public and in the local media.

DeBlasio had excuses, as the habitually tardy always do. Sometimes the excuses are legitimate, and may be in DeBlasio’s case: it doesn’t matter. If you are always late, you forfeit  the benefit of excuses, even legitimate ones. DeBlasio said his boat to the event was delayed by fog, and that he just didn’t get rolling fast enough.  “I was just not feeling well this morning. I had a very rough night, ” he explained. “I woke up sluggish, and I should have gotten myself moving quicker … just woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t get back to sleep and I felt really sluggish and off-kilter this morning.”

Literally nobody seems to be sympathetic. Wrote Ann Althouse: “He’s an idiot…He thinks people will have sympathy over his struggles with a “rough night.” 260 people died in a plane crash!”

Habitual tardiness has many causes. A prominent association executive who I worked for told me that tardiness was a useful power move, making everyone wait to show that you are the one calling the shots. Of course, it is implicitly disrespectful of everyone waiting, whether the late arrival is intentional or not. It communicates to others that the late arrival doesn’t value their time as much as he or she values his own priorities. It is rude and disrespectful, and when the conduct is repeated, apologies and excuses don’t and shouldn’t work. Everyone knows why you are late. Either you just don’t care, or you are a disorganized boob or, as is often the case, both.

Whichever underlying cause is at play, this conduct implicates and undermines trust. In March, a psychologist was asked to comment on DeBlasio’s habitual lateness. “There’s no question that if you are late that it affects your reputation and that people lose their ability to trust you, especially in politics, especially when you’re in public office,” Dr. Harris Stratyner said then. “I feel badly for the mayor that he’s doing that to himself.”

I don’t. I feel badly for New Yorkers that they elected an arrogant, disrespectful mayor. Here was DeBlasio’s answer when he was asked in March about criticism of his habitual tardiness:

“I think the important this is when you get elected to do a job like this, responsible for 8.4 million people with every conceivable subject matter, my job is to do the best for the people. That’s what matters. The rest is noise.”

“Just noise.” In other words, “Screw ’em. I’m the Mayor. I’ll get there when I feel like it.”

Althouse is right. DeBlasio’s an idiot.

And he isn’t trustworthy.


Facts: CBS 1, 2, 3

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12 thoughts on “Mayor DeBlasio’s Unethical Tardiness

  1. New Yorkers should have already known the character of the guy they were voting for. Well… they got what they voted for. Nor have they seen the last of his arrogance. When their city turns into another Detroit, they will only have themselves to blame.

    • They knew. They voted for him specifically because he was a lefty after 20 years of Republican rule. I find it telling that in the parades I’ve seen so far he has marched behind a garbage truck decorated with his name, instead of marching with the police like Bloomberg did. Hey, this coming March the St. Patrick’s Day parade will have its first gay contingent. Anyone care to venture a guess as to who he will march with that day?

  2. I seem to recall Clinton was also known for being tardy to press conferences and the like. I don’t know about ceremonies. Unfortunately, when you are a popular elected official, you get to do that. When you are the one with the power, everyone else can be told to go cry in their beer later. My cousin, who’s active in politics, also said you make sure no one sees you leave, so no one can buttonhole you on your way out the door or say for certain when you left and say you didn’t stay long enough. You also get to tell others to sit down and put a sock in it already (Go Christie!)

  3. I wish someone would tell almost all doctors in my area. It’s not an emergency when they are late and their first appointment beats them in…

  4. Funny, all of the above, especially the docs, think they’re God. Things is, people think God’s late but he’s actually always right on time…

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