As more than 22,000 New York City employees face layoffs amid a budget crisis imposed by the coronavirus pandemic, Mayor Bill de Blasio's wife has a 14-person staff that makes a combined $2 million a year, the New York Post reports.
Chirlane McCray's staffers work under her $1.25 billion mental health initiative "ThriveNYC."
One of the employees is a videographer who earns $70,000 a year. The staffer filmed her baking ginger snap cookies in the middle of the pandemic.
The program has been blasted for its lack of metrics, according to the newspaper.
"Whatever happened to the money from ThriveNYC?" asked Republican City Councilman Eric Ulrich. "How much taxpayer money will the mayor's wife pilfer before leaving office? How can she sleep at night hiring these hacks knowing so many other city workers are facing layoffs this fall? This is a disgrace!"
According to a list provided to the Post, McCray has a core team of eight staff members. One of them is a speechwriter who makes $117,000 a year. Another employee serves as a senior adviser who brings in $150,000 per year. The employee was onboarded in April after the mayor imposed a hiring freeze to help with the budget shortfall, the newspaper reports.
In addition to her core eight, she has at least six other city employees. She has about 14 staffers in total, which is double the amount she had in 2018, according to the newspaper. Other employees include a $143,000-a-year public relations director from the Department of Health and a special assistant from the mayor's office who makes $115,000.
More than 22,000 municipal workers face layoffs as the city faces a shortage of money. The mayor has said there's not enough money to pick up trash or maintain city parks.
A City Hall spokeswoman defended McCray's team on Tuesday.
"The First Lady manages a robust portfolio and her team works tirelessly to carry out goals and priorities on issues like mental health and domestic violence that will improve the lives of New Yorkers," City Hall spokeswoman Chanel Caraway said of McCray's staff. "As the City navigates unprecedented challenges triggered by the COVID-19 crisis, these public servants continue to show up everyday to deliver solutions that reach into every neighborhood and family, and we owe them a debt of gratitude."
McCray's public schedule hasn't been updated since last year, according to the Post.
If she does decide to run for Brooklyn borough president, her would-be opponent, City Councilman Antonio Reynoso, has something to say about her spending.
"With over 22,000 layoffs of city workers looming, the mayor can't seriously expect to keep funding full-time, highly paid speechwriters and professional videographers for his wife's political ambitions. It's wrong, and it needs to stop," Reynoso said.
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.