September 26, 2014

Mayor Bill de Blasio says criminal record of aide's boyfriend not a concern


Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday he has "absolute faith" in a top administration aide whose longtime boyfriend has a criminal record.

Rachel Noerdlinger, 43, chief of staff to first lady Chirlane McCray, is "very dedicated to the work of bringing police and community together, and that's what we care about," de Blasio said outside City Hall.

News website reported Thursday that Noerdlinger's boyfriend, Hassaun McFarlan, 36, has a criminal history that includes a conviction as a teenager and prison time for fatally shooting a man in 1993. McFarlan more recently described police as "pigs" in a Facebook post.

De Blasio said Noerdlinger, former spokeswoman for the Rev. Al Sharpton, will remain part of his team because her values reflect his.

"You don't fire people because of something their boyfriend said," he said.

"That's ludicrous."

As an aide to McCray, Noerdlinger has attended top-level NYPD meetings, access that a police union criticized. Patrolmen's Benevolent Association president Patrick Lynch, in a statement, said Noerdlinger's "position gives her access to critical information about police plans and strategies."

Police Commissioner William Bratton said at an unrelated event that no sensitive information was shared at the CompStat police data meetings that Noerdlinger attended.

McCray is responsible for Noerdlinger, Bratton said.

"She has -- I believe -- expressed confidence in that assistant, as has the mayor," he said. "So it is really within their realm of responsibility and comfort level."

With Anthony M. DeStefano