October 18, 2005

Bloomberg Lives by Statistics and Gives Aides a Free Hand

Any successful Dalal Street manager willing to take on the dharam singh govt of karnataka? We need a Bloomberg in Bangalore!

Yet if Mr. Bloomberg showed a rare sliver of self-doubt the morning after his surprise victory, it did not last very long. Hardly more than a year after taking office, the mayor took control of the schools from a politicized Board of Education, angered many New Yorkers by banning smoking in bars and restaurants, and imposed the largest property tax increase in city history after running on a "no new taxes" platform.

But perhaps more significant, he reshaped the way the mayor's office runs New York, applying a results-based approach to almost every area of city government, and largely appointing his commissioners based on expertise and giving them nearly free rein to determine policy regardless of political consequences. It was a 180-degree turn from the administration of his predecessor, Rudolph W. Giuliani, when even the hiring of secretaries was handled by a circle of mayoral confidants and commissioners were closely watched and controlled.

Four years after his election, even Mr. Bloomberg's critics give him credit for using a corporate executive's by-the-numbers approach to nurse the city back to health from the devastation of the Sept. 11 attack, while risking his own popularity in the process.

After an extremely challenging first two years as mayor, Mr. Bloomberg is heading into the fall with an enviable list of accomplishments for any incumbent seeking re-election: crime is down from already very low levels, school test scores are up, and unemployment is down from its post-9/11 heights. And he is often credited with helping to soothe race relations in the city.

As he campaigns for a second term, Mr. Bloomberg's personal style remains an uneasy fit in the city politic. He says that he has no political ambition beyond the mayoralty and that by paying for campaigns with his own money, he can operate without the usual pressures that afflict politicians.

But the political world is no less curious to Mr. Bloomberg, who says he has found it a far more confusing and self-serving place than the Wall Street he left behind, even as he has struggled to learn its ways. "I love governing," he said during an interview this month at City Hall. "I don't like politics."


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