After Months of Conflict, de Blasio Fires City Watchdog

NEW YORK (AP/Hamodia) -

Mayor Bill de Blasio on Friday fired New York City’s chief watchdog, citing an independent report that accused him of “deliberately misleading statements” and abusive behavior.

Department of Investigation Commissioner Mark G. Peters said he’ll respond in writing before his firing takes effect in three business days.

The firing came days after the investigations agency confirmed it had opened a probe into how City Hall — and the mayor personally — handled the issue of yeshivah curriculum. De Blasio said Friday that the investigation had no impact on the firing.

The commissioner is appointed by the mayor but operates independently. Last month’s report by a former federal prosecutor says Peters made misleading statements to the City Council and engaged in “intimidating and abusive behavior.”

Peters’ firing comes after months of conflict with de Blasio, who had been a close friend and fellow school board member before he hired him in 2014. The mayor expressed a rare expression of regret on Friday when asked if he rued hiring Peters.

“Yes and yes, I do regret it,” de Blasio said. “I think this was a mistake.”

Letitia James, the city public advocate who will become state Attorney General in January, called the firing “reminiscent of Trump-like behavior.”

De Blasio nominated Margaret Garnett from the state attorney general’s office to replace Peters.