[Marxism] Ruling class nepotism
lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Jul 20 08:12:21 MDT 2010
NY Times July 19, 2010
To Get an Internship at City Hall, It’s Not Always What You Know
By DAVID W. CHEN and MICHAEL BARBARO
They are the children and relatives of boldface names, like Lloyd
C. Blankfein, the chief executive of Goldman Sachs; Peter G.
Peterson, co-founder of the Blackstone Group; and Laurence A.
Tisch, who was a hotel mogul and chief executive of CBS.
They enjoyed a comfortable childhood and, as it turns out, a
coveted summer job: They all landed internships at New York’s City
Hall under Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, according to a list
obtained by The New York Times through the Freedom of Information Act.
Of course, it is not unusual for young people with connections to
win choice internships in all kinds of workplaces. But the records
offer a glimpse inside the social and power circles of the
Bloomberg administration, which has accommodated dozens of young
people with connections to the mayor’s friends, business
associates and government appointees for the prestigious, if
Take Jacob Doctoroff, whose father, Daniel L. Doctoroff, was
deputy mayor and is now the president of Bloomberg L.P. He had an
internship in 2002. He was in the eighth grade.
“It was either that or going to summer camp,” Jacob Doctoroff said
in an interview. Now at Yale, he recalled enjoying his stint at
the mayor’s office of management information systems. “I
truthfully couldn’t tell you how I got the internship,” he said.
“But you’d be working with a bunch of 35- to 45-year-olds, and you
didn’t have a sense that you were in an internship program.”
The mayor’s office is not eager to share information about who
gets the internships and took three months to furnish the list,
after the Freedom of Information Act request and repeated
follow-up messages. Stu Loeser, a mayoral spokesman, emphasized
that the internships awarded to relatives of insiders was a tiny
fraction of the almost 1,500 that have been awarded since Mr.
Bloomberg took office.
He said a vast majority of the students were recruited through job
fairs, online applications or school programs. The children of at
least two employees of The Times have also had internships during
the Bloomberg years.
Still, one in five of those selected are recommended from someone
employed by the administration, Mr. Loeser said.
And Deputy Mayor Patricia E. Harris appears to carry some clout
Consider the Freedman family.
Nina P. Freedman graduated from the Fieldston School the same year
as Ms. Harris, in 1973, and the two served as bridesmaids in a
friend’s 1988 wedding. Her sister, Susan K. Freedman, worked with
Ms. Harris at the New York City Arts Commission, and is now
president of the Public Art Fund, where she has helped Ms. Harris
promote projects like Olafur Eliasson’s “Waterfalls.” Her husband,
Richard, officiated at Ms. Harris’s wedding.
Susan Freedman’s son Aaron landed City Hall internships in 2007
and 2009; another son, David, had one in 2009. Nina Freedman’s
daughter, Leah, won a slot in 2008.
Lydia Leinsdorf, a granddaughter of Erich Leinsdorf, the
conductor, was living with her family in the same Fifth Avenue
building as Ms. Harris when she landed her internship in the
summer of 2002, before she entered Princeton.
Asked whether she played any role in internships being awarded to
the Freedmans or Ms. Leinsdorf or anyone else, Ms. Harris declined
to respond. Asked about Ms. Harris’s involvement, Mr. Loeser said,
“Lots of people at City Hall are approached about internships and
recommend promising young people they’ve met.”
In a 2002 opinion that allowed Ms. Bloomberg’s daughter, Emma, to
work as an unpaid adviser, the city’s Conflicts of Interest Board.
declared that “although Ms. Bloomberg will not be compensated by
the city for her work, the opportunity to work in City Hall
confers prestige as well as experience that is not widely
available and that many would regard as valuable.”
Luke Russert, son of Tim Russert, the “Meet the Press” host who
died in 2008, was an intern at City Hall during summer 2007. In an
interview, Mr. Russert said that he juggled two internships that
summer — one at the mayor’s office, the other at NBC, working for
Mr. Russert, then a senior at Boston College, worked for Deputy
Mayor Kevin Sheekey, who befriended his father after both worked
for Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. Mr. Russert researched
gun-control positions of Republican lawmakers who wanted to meet
with Mr. Bloomberg. “It was really worthwhile,” he said. “It was
not just opening letters and getting coffee.”
Asked what role his connections played in landing the job, he
said: “I don’t really know about that. I went through the
application process like anyone else.”
Louisa Aviles, the daughter of Alan D. Aviles, president of the
city’s Health and Hospitals Corporation, was an intern in 2007 in
the Community Affairs Unit, which fields complaints from community
She said she found out about the internship through her school,
the University of Pennsylvania. “It had nothing to do with my
dad,” she said, adding that her family ties only came up once,
when her boss asked if she was Mr. Aviles’s daughter.
Career counselors view the internships, which are primarily summer
stints, as plum résumé enhancers. The application process is
somewhat informal. Some offices recruit their own interns; others
take from a general pool of applicants.
The individuals who screen applicants, Mr. Loeser said, “weigh
academic majors, areas of interest, G.P.A.’s sometimes, skills and
relevant job experience.”
“Recommendations from people who know the applicant’s abilities
and work ethic are a factor,” he added, “but only one factor.”
This year, more than 450 students vied for 152 positions.
To be sure, elected officials, including Mr. Bloomberg’s
predecessor, Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, have long hired the
children of their friends, campaign donors and political allies as
interns or full-paid staff.
But the mayor has made his distaste for nepotism clear. In 2004,
he criticized the state system for appointing judges, saying it
“allows party leaders to dictate hiring decisions based on party
connections — or family connections — and not on merit.”
And the Conflicts of Interest Board has routinely circulated a
memorandum about summer internships, urging employees to “resist
natural parental instincts” and refrain from forwarding the names
or résumés of their children to any city agency.
Most of those awarded internships are college or graduate
students. But there are exceptions: Amy Secunda is the daughter of
Thomas F. Secunda, one of the co-founders of Bloomberg L.P. She
was an intern in 2008, as a high school student from
Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y. Her family did not return calls for comment.
Another high school intern was Alexander Blankfein, Mr.
Blankfein’s son. He worked for six weeks in 2003, records show,
when he was still a student at Fieldston, and before he enrolled
at Harvard. He declined to comment.
The roster has also included grandchildren and stepchildren of
people with ties to Mr. Bloomberg and his friends, including the
grandson of Robert A. Caro, chronicler of Robert Moses, and the
stepson of Neil Simon, the playwright, who endorsed Mr. Bloomberg
At the annual Gracie Mansion barbecues held for the interns, some
students noticed a clubby atmosphere, where the mayor would joke
about how the interns were making only $1 less than he was.
“You’d get a lot of interns who said that their aunt was on the
board of something, or that their relatives worked for city
government,” said Hayley Kucich, a Bryn Mawr graduate from Long
Island who had internships in 2005 and 2006.
Fernanda Santos contributed reporting, and Toby Lyles contributed
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