Wednesday, August 03, 2016

1677 The Bill Bratton Traveling Snake Oil Show.

Bill Bratton has packed up his painted wagon and pointed it toward the exit.  Again.  Bratton is commissioner of police in -- wait, what day is it again? --  yes, New York.  Pretty sure it’s New York.  Although with Bouncing Bill, you’re never quite certain.


The other day he mounted the little balcony at the back of the wagon, noticed there was no audience waiting for him and started the traveling snake oil pitch anyway.


Passersby began to gather as Billy Pinball announced that he would not serve in mayor de Blasio’s next term.  That story had a short shelf life.  It wasn’t much later that he said, ya know what? I’m going to leave the job September first.


No problems at City Hall or One Police Plaza, he said. No, of course not. He just got an offer he couldn’t refuse from “the private sector.”  “The Private Sector” along with “Pursuing Other Interests” and “Pursuing New Challenges” is kind of like seriously accepting the advice “don’t let the door hit you … on the way out” or “Here’s your hat, what’s your hurry.”
Big secrets like job offers to big shots don’t stay secret too long.  So it was only a few moments until Teneo Holdings announced that Pinball was going to join it.


Teneo calls itself “the global CEO Advisory Firm.” Now you might think what that means is when the head of some conglomerate can’t decide where to have lunch or take a vacation or in which country to park his secret bank account, Teneo would advise him.


But its website goes on to describe it as the place where its “...12 divisions solve the most pressing reputational, transformational and capital markets issues.”


So if you’re a private equity vulture trying to loot a business, these may be the guys to help you with those pesky little “issues.”  And make you smell like a rose in the process. Plus they probably do know the best lunch spots.


Bratton was police commissioner in Boston. He drifted down to New York when Giuliani offered him the job of police commissioner without letting on that the work was mostly as errand boy.  Eventually, Bratton bristled and bounced to Los Angeles.  Then it was back to New York at de Blasio’s request.


It’s like he’s the only employee of a temp agency that specializes in police commissioners.


But then there’s that snake oil wagon. It’s where Bill trumpets his personal triumphs like reducing the crime rate and throws in a bonus of “broken window” policing to every buyer of the large size bottle.


Minorities don’t like him.  Majorities don’t care about him.  The largest police force in the country doesn’t think he’s hot stuff. And de Blasio?  Who knows what he thinks, if anything.


Of course, the NYPD and City Hall conducted a nationwide search for a replacement. Well, not exactly nationwide.  Come to think of it they just kind of ambled down the hall to chief deputy Jimmy O’Neill’s desk and said “Tag. You’re it.”  


An Irish cop heading the force?  Ah, the good old days.

As Bratton’s show wagon prepares for the trip uptown to Lexington Avenue and his new digs, the biggest question now for the commissioner-designate is “do we have to start calling you “James?”  Or even worse, “Commissioner” or can we still call you Jimmy?


I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to wesrichards@gmail.com
© WJR 2016

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