New York City – Mayor Bill de Blasio’s chief counsel Maya Wiley is resigning next month. Her resignation is the third high-ranking departure from the administration in recent months. Attorney Maya Wiley, who lives in Brooklyn, served as de Blasio’s top legal advisor, leaves as the mayor is facing multiple federal and state probes into his fundraising activities.
Wiley, whose resignation is effective July 15, is going back to her civil rights roots, taking a job heading the city’s Civilian Complaint Review Board. She will also become a Senior Vice President for Social Justice at the The New School in Manhattan, also serve as a professor.
“With the departure of Maya Wiley, Mayor de Blasio is losing a member of his administration who essentially wore four hats: Counsel to the Mayor, head of special projects, liaison to the Mayor’s Advisory Committee on the Judiciary, and, most importantly, the City’s Minority/Women Owned Business Enterprise (M/WBE) Director,” said Bertha Lewis, President and Founder of The Black Institute.
The vital NYC Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise program (M/WBE) is designed to promote City government contracting and subcontracting opportunities for businesses certified as minority and women-owned with a real and substantial presence in New York City and surrounding counties.
In a statement, The Black Institute wished Wiley better luck in her new position at the Civilian Complaint Review Board than in her previous one. Hopefully her departure will allow Mayor de Blasio to focus on appointing a full-time Chief Diversity Officer with Deputy Mayor status to actually deal with the crisis of M/WBE contracting.
“Unfortunately even though Ms. Wiley did her best, this administration made woeful progress in addressing the egregious disadvantage that M/WBEs face in this city. This administration cannot continue to talk about income inequality as a plight of low-income and minority workers without recognizing the circumstances surrounding M/WBEs.”
“In the past year, Mayor de Blasio has promised to convene the depository banks that have redlined M/WBEs and not given them fair loans, and address the City Council legislation that has been put forth by The Black Leadership Action Coalition – supported by The Black Institute – to fundamentally change M/WBE contracting. The Black Institute demands that the Mayor keep his promises to the voters of color in the City that elected him and appoint an experienced individual to become the point person for M/WBEs,” said Bertha Lewis, President and Founder of The Black Institute.
Before joining de Blasio’s staff in 2014, Wiley, 52, was the Founder and former President of the Center for Social Inclusion, a national policy strategy organization on racial inclusion.
“I’m grateful to the Mayor for the privilege of serving him and this city I love as his Counsel, and for all that we’ve accomplished to improve broadband access, expand contracts for women and minority-owned businesses, and increase women’s leadership roles,” Wiley said in a statement.
De Blasio called Wiley “a compassionate and brilliant attorney.”
“Maya has played a foundational role in many of this administration’s most significant accomplishments,” the mayor said in a statement. “She has been a strong asset to Chirlane and me since day one.”
Wiley’s career move comes amid a string of departures from City Hall. Earlier this month, the mayor’s press secretary, Karen Hinton stepped down. And this week, the administration’s social media director, Scott Kleinberg, resigned abruptly after only eight weeks on the job.