A Brief History of the Police Unions’ Campaign to Take Down City Hall Aide Rachel Noerdlinger


It’s been a rough year for Rachel Noerdlinger. New York City first lady Chirlane McCray’s chief of staff has had her love life, her family, her family’s friends, her home, and even her parking tickets — pretty much everything except the actual work she did as a City Hall aide — dragged out as evidence that she was unfit for the job.

The coup de grâce came on Friday, when Noerdlinger’s 17-year-old son was arrested and booked on a trespassing charge after he and some friends were caught drinking in the lobby of a building in Washington Heights. It was her 44th birthday. On Monday morning, Noerdlinger announced she will be taking a leave of absence from the administration.

“Today I am announcing that I have decided to take a leave of absence to spend more time with my son. These past two months have been extremely difficult for both of us, and his arrest on Friday heightens the need for me to devote my full attention to Khari, my number one priority,” she said in the statement.

Noerdlinger’s resignation is a victory for the police unions, who have not stopped calling for her resignation since the first story broke in September detailing her boyfriend’s anti-police views. It was, in one sense, payback: In her previous role as spokeswoman for Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, Noerdlinger had called for a boycott of companies that contributed to the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association.

Here’s a brief history of the police unions’ recent publicity offensive against Noerdlinger:

September 26, 2014

“These revelations are of serious concern because her position gives her access to critical information about police plans and strategies. It raises serious questions about her judgment and character and the quality of the counsel she provides to City Hall. The safety and security of our police officers and the public is far too important to risk with someone who is so closely associated with a known convicted criminal with such hateful opinions. She should not be in that position.”

– Patrick J. Lynch, president of Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association

“[Noerdlinger] has an open relationship with a convicted felon who has complete animosity and disdain for all law enforcement…Miss Noerdlinger is in a position where she exercises incredible influence within the de Blasio administration…It is even more disturbing when Miss Noerdlinger is described by Mayor de Blasio’s spokesperson as being a ‘woman who possesses a core set of values and beliefs that align with this administration.’ Such a relationship can easily be interpreted as a cohesive group of people that are unashamedly anti-law enforcement. Is this really the message the de Blasio administration is trying to perpetuate?”

– Louis Turco, president of the Lieutenants Benevolent Association

October 2, 2014

“Ms. Noerdlinger is a skilled public relations person who doesn’t live up to her public statements. Given her companion’s criminal history and his record of hateful posts on social media, it is easy to see why she might intentionally fail to mention that relationship, which would disqualify from employment, during her pre-hiring investigation. The standards that apply to hiring police officers should apply equally to hiring high ranking, influential staff members. If it is found that she committed a lie of omission during the investigation, then she should be fired.”

– Patrick J. Lynch, president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association

October 3, 2014

“The double standard is alive and well in the deBlasio administration: one standard for the elite at City Hall and another for the rank and file workers.”

– Patrick J. Lynch, president of Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association

October 4, 2014

“People who are hired in sensitive positions in City Hall must be held to a higher standard…Obviously a mistake has been made hiring her and the de Blasios should cut their losses and move on to a replacement.”

– Michael Palladino, president of the Detectives’ Endowment Association

October 10, 2014

“She’s in a $170,000-a-year position…You can’t cover for her with all this stuff saying she didn’t know. If she didn’t know [about his drug use], she should have. And if she didn’t know a thing, then she’s incompetent.”

– Edward D. Mullins, president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association

October 10, 2014

“There is clear dysfunction occurring in City Hall, there’s been a pattern of abuse, a pattern of indecisiveness and a pattern of less than truthfulness…My question is if this is what’s occurring around one of the top positions at City Hall, who is really in control of City Hall?”

– Edward D. Mullins, president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association

October 14, 2014

“She’s not worthy of the job.”

– Michael Palladino, president of the Detectives’ Endowment Association

October 14, 2014

“If Mrs. Noerdlinger had any character she would resign the position herself and take a lot of pressure and embarrassment off City Hall.”

– Michael Palladino, president of the Detectives’ Endowment Association

October 21, 2014

“We’re at a point where the Mayor needs to fire her or she needs to resign…Why is she the choice for this position? …Is DOI incompetent or were they told to disregard all the negative stuff? What’s really going on in City Hall?”

– Edward D. Mullins, president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association

“[E]ach new disclosure is increasingly disappointing.”

– Roy Richter, president of the Captains Endowment Association

November 15, 2014

“They are a criminal family…It’s time for her to step down.”

– Edward D. Mullins, president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association

In the statement announcing her departure on Monday, Noerdlinger thanked the mayor and first lady for their “unwavering support” over the last several months. “Thank you to everyone who has helped me weather this difficult period — your kindness means more than you will ever know, and I look forward to fighting for social justice on behalf of New Yorkers once I feel my pressing obligations to my son have been met,” she said.

In her own statement on Monday, Special Adviser to the Mayor Rebecca Katz said the gratitude was mutual. “The mayor and first lady thank Rachel for her service. She has been a great asset to the administration and the people of New York City over the past year, and everyone wishes her all the best during her leave.”