Mayor de Blasio is ordering city agencies to save money on travel — but there seems to be no limit to his own wanderlust.
De Blasio has skipped town at least 63 times since taking office to vacation or push progressive causes from Italy to Iowa, not counting trips to Albany or Washington DC.
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Just four of his trips cost taxpayers at least $57,650 altogether, according to reports and records, including a nearly $19,000 visit to Miami last June for the annual meeting of the US Conference of Mayors.
The total cost of de Blasio’s travel is likely much higher.
The Mayor’s Office doesn’t always disclose trip costs. The NYPD has also previously refused to say how much overtime, airfare or hotel rooms cost when de Blasio’s multi-cop security detail follows him outside city limits.
Even when outside entities foot the bill for de Blasio and his aides — like the $27,000 jaunt to Germany for the G20 summit last summer — taxpayers still pay for police to provide security.
And yet the jet-setting mayor still wants his underlings to cut back.
De Blasio’s preliminary budget released last month calls for city agencies to standardize travel policies and review trip requests “to promote cost effectiveness.” This is expected to save $1 million a year.
“This mayor has really turned into Mayor ‘Do As I Say, Not As I Do,’ ” said Pat Lynch, president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, which followed de Blasio to protest two trips. “He talks about income inequality while offering city employees lower raises than any mayor in a generation. Now he says, ‘Don’t travel,’ while he jets around promoting himself with an eye towards the national stage. The entire city workforce should be calling him out on his hypocrisy.”
The citywide savings team plans to sit down with deputy mayors in the coming weeks to come up with strategies to reduce travel costs.
De Blasio spokeswoman Freddi Goldstein said the increased “scrutiny” is meant “to make sure proposed travel benefits the city” and that budget bigs will help agencies “select economic travel options.”
“There’s nothing contrary here,” Goldstein said. “The mayor travels when there’s a direct benefit to New Yorkers and he does so in the most economic way possible.”
For the trip to Miami last year, most of de Blasio’s entourage stayed in $343-a-night rooms at the five-star Fontainebleau hotel.
And when the mayor’s wife, First Lady Chirlane McCray, accompanied him to Indianapolis for a different meeting of the US Conference of Mayors in June 2016, taxpayers spent $2,500 so she could ride first-class, records show.
City Hall maintained that McCray took first class because those were the only seats left. Typically first class is prohibited and everyone is required to fly coach.
In January, de Blasio pledged to “go all around the country” to promote the Democratic “progressive message of economic change and fairness.”