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Coffey also aced out on the pay scale. The vacancy notice called for a salary range of $49,492 to $114,000. Job requirements were listed as a master's degree or some lesser combination of college credit and experience. Coffey—minus a diploma—somehow nailed the top rate. He clearly did well. Coffey's job entails handing community and governmental affairs for the 66-employee unit. DOITT's own Director of External Affairs is Nicholas Sbordone, who handles the entire 1,300-member agency and makes just $65,000 a year. NYC Media officials insisted that Coffey's job carries significant additional duties.
Reached at his desk, Coffey quickly jumped off the phone. "I'm going to let someone else handle this," he said.
But it's not just a case of one mayoral pal getting a cushy job. Coffey is just the latest recruit at an agency where hiring cronies has long been standard operating procedure. The mayor's first director of NYC TV was Arick Wierson, whose wife was a longtime employee of Bloomberg TV.
Wierson was forced out last spring after investigators discovered that he was such an absentee boss that his top aide was able to steal more than $40,000 without anyone noticing. Wierson didn't notice because he was traveling the world shooting a large-budget private documentary, financed with the help of an NYC TV client. City probers never investigated the film's financing. But last month, Wierson paid a $5,000 fine, admitting that city workers had done personal chores for him and that he had recruited other NYC TV aides to work on his lavish movie.
After the Wierson scandal, the mayor had Katherine Oliver, another Bloomberg LP alumnus who now runs the Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre & Broadcasting, take charge. Oliver hired another Bloomberg LP veteran, Todd Asher, as the station's $155,000-a-year chief officer. Asher brought on an old college friend of Oliver's, Diane Petzke, as the $130,000-a-year head of production and programming.
The Bloomberg TV people saw nothing wrong with this old-boys-and-old-girls network. But others noted that all of the new hires were white, while several minorities were either laid off or bumped aside. "There's just been a 'white-out,' " said one employee.
As required, NYC Media posts its Equal Opportunity report right on its website. Not that it does much good. Officials didn't even bother to list three of the jobs it filled—including Coffey's—on the report. Like other city employment documents, it declares in bold that "The City of New York Is an Equal Opportunity Employer." In the Bloomberg Era, some are just more equal than others.