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New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg
Good riddance to Michael Bloomberg
Elections have consequences, and when Bill de Blasio is elected to replace Michael Bloomberg as New York City mayor, those consequences can be like whoa. Bloomberg devoted his time in office to creating barriers and scaling back the assistance available to poor people struggling in the most expensive city in the nation. De Blasio is now removing some of those barriers:
In the most significant change announced by the commissioner, Steven Banks, adults without children will no longer have to work full-time to receive food stamps. In addition, the city will start a pilot program to allow people receiving welfare up to five excused absences from their employment programs for illness or family emergency.

The agency will also create a system to make calls or send text messages reminding welfare recipients of appointments with agency staff. And, after a change in state law that the new administration supported, welfare recipients will be able to count attendance at four-year colleges toward their employment and training requirements.

This makes so much sense. With fast food and retail employers keeping their workers not only on low wages but at part-time hours, full-time work isn't available for many; getting five sick days puts welfare recipients on similar footing to workers in the city after the passage of a paid sick leave law. Banks, now the commissioner of the city's Human Resources Administration, was previously attorney in chief at the Legal Aid Society. He's bringing a new mindset to programs previously governed by Bloomberg's punitive fakery:
Mr. Banks also accused the Bloomberg administration of having inflated its job-placement numbers by counting people who were rejected for benefits and were later found through data matches to be employed, as well as people who were employed at the time that they applied for and received a one-time cash assistance grant.
Remember that if these statistics appear to get worse under de Blasio. Honesty can have its costs when you're following in the footsteps of someone like Bloomberg.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Tue May 20, 2014 at 10:13 AM PDT.

Also republished by New York City and Daily Kos.

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