Sacked or still at work? Confusion surrounds OEM chief’s status
Does he have a job or not?
A city government mystery remained without clear answers Monday evening after multiple news outlets reported that the commissioner of the Office of Emergency Management had been fired.
But an OEM spokesperson told reporters this afternoon that Commissioner Joseph Esposito was still in his office working.
The reports, which cited unnamed sources, indicated Esposito was being sacked for his handling of last month's sudden snowstorm that crippled the city. They said Esposito was asked to resign last week by a deputy mayor, and that when he refused, he was told he’d be fired.
But an OEM spokesperson who took reporters' calls responded to questions by saying that as far as he knew, Esposito was still in charge.
Before serving as the commissioner of OEM, Esposito served as chief of the NYPD.
Several lawmakers have rushed to Esposito's defense amid the confusion. A letter by elected officials sent to the mayor says in part, "Commissioner Esposito has dedicated decades of his life to serving this city effectively and with great personal sacrifice. His character and commitment to his job – first with the NYPD and now with OEM, is unimpeachable. We emphatically oppose City Hall's apparent decision to dismiss Commissioner Esposito, and we hope that this unfortunate move will be reversed. For the good of the entire city, Commissioner Esposito should remain in his post."
City Council Speaker Corey Johnson weighed in on Twitter, writing, "My experience with Commissioner Esposito and his team has been a great one and I hear this from other Council members as well."
Esposito was reportedly seen exiting Gracie Mansion in the afternoon. But Mayor Bill de Blasio hasn't commented, and he canceled his only scheduled appearance today.
When asked for comment, the Office of Emergency Management referred News 12 to City Hall's press office. News 12 is still waiting to hear back from City Hall.