When it comes to the controversy surrounding Rachel Noerdlinger, chief of staff to Mayor de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray, the vast majority of city lawmakers from Queens have nothing to say.
Asked on Monday whether they support Noerdlinger’s continued employment as McCray’s top aide, only three of the 14 City Council members from Queens would answer the question.
Three more said they had no comment and the other eight did not even acknowledge being asked. Councilman Antonio Reynoso (D-Brooklyn), whose Brooklyn district also includes much of Ridgewood, was not queried.
All 14 from Queens were asked the same question in the same manner, via emails to their main spokespersons: “Do you support the continued employment of Rachel Noerdlinger as chief of staff to First Lady Chirlane McCray, and why or why not?”
The first to respond, and the only one to do so on Monday, was Councilman Rory Lancman (D-Fresh Meadows).
“I don’t care who Rachel Noerdlinger dates, lives with or marries, and as long as she pays those parking tickets asap I don’t oppose her continued employment as the first lady’s chief of staff,” Lancman said in an email.
“Only our First Lady could evaluate Rachel Noerdlinger’s capability to serve as her chief of staff,” Councilman Daneek Miller (D-St. Albans) said. “In my experience with Rachel, however, I have found her to be both personable and intelligent. Her track record before arriving at City Hall was admirable, and her work continues to be so.”
Councilman Mark Weprin (D-Oakland Gardens) said, “I do not think that employees should be blamed for the behavior of their significant others. As long as she is doing a good job as the First Lady’s Chief of Staff, she should stay.”
The spokespersons for Councilmembers Julissa Ferreras (D-East Elmhurst), Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria) and Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) said the lawmakers would have no comment.
The other eight did not respond at all to either the first email asking the question or two follow-up emails labeled “friendly reminders.”
Brian Browne, the assistant vice president for government relations at St. John’s University and an adjunct professor of government and politics there, said the silence is likely due to the lawmakers’ desire to stay on de Blasio’s good side.