Opinion: We need a ‘World Class Administrator’

Kathryn Garcia, Democratic candidate for New York City Mayor campaigns in Brooklyn New York
Democratic mayoral candidate Kathryn Garcia speaks during a campaign appearance in Williamsburg.
REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

In last week’s column, I discussed and did my best to explain ranked-choice voting.

I also explained that, on my ballot, the number one spot for comptroller would go to Brad Lander; for Brooklyn Borough President, it would go to Jo Anne Simon; and for City Council, it would go to Lincoln Restler. I also said I’d rank Kathryn Garcia very high. Since then, she received The New York Times’ endorsement and I sarcastically tweeted that the Times’ editorial board must be “Racioppo Readers.

I’ve continued to mull over where I’d rank her and what we need our next mayor to do. Getting out of this pandemic and defining the future will be determined by the choices we make, and, aside from the defeat of Donald Trump, deciding who becomes the 110th Mayor of New York City may be the most important one we make in NYC. However, as we’ve seen, especially with our previous president, neither knowing the intricacies of the job or competent management skills are a prerequisite for running or being elected to the job. 

To make the right choice, one first needs to understand the job for which the candidates are applying. Considering the limitations of policy options in areas like taxation and other state-determined aspects, being mayor is being a public administrator. It just happens to be the most difficult and important public administration job on the planet, and ideally, only world-class public administrators would apply (run) for it. Mayor is a super local job, but it also grants the occupant international name recognition. While those two things are true, the most important realization is that it’s a local position, just with a head swelling outsized international audience.

Well, in my opinion, after looking at her track record, it’s clear Garcia is a world-class administrator. After speaking with her, it’s clear she also understands the role of things like community boards, which I bring some knowledge of since my day job is as a Community Board District Manager. That isn’t to say she wouldn’t be deserving of international recognition — she’d be the first woman to be elected mayor of New York City. Also, anyone who can run the Department of Sanitation, deliver meals to over one million New Yorkers a day, and be the chair of NYCHA deserves a promotion.

I understand the appeal of other candidates, and other candidates understand the appeal of Garcia. Andrew Yang, for example, says he’d hire her and is reportedly telling her once a week that a Yang administration will “need her.”

Well, I think they are right; they would need her, but not so vice versa. After careful consideration, I’ll be ranking Garcia number one on my mayoral ballot this June.