The humiliated Steiner, as expected (by me, at least) rendered unto Caesar that which is Caesar's. He knew, without being told, that if he ever wanted to go anywhere in politics in the state of New York, he would have to comply with the powerful autocrat's demand.
Bloomberg the slick billionaire media mogul, was careful to have the pre-arranged deal announced late on Friday afternoon of a holiday weekend with the press fast asleep and the bloggers and Tweeters still burping from Thanksgiving dinner. Is anyone even left in town to read the Saturday papers?
Bloomberg let Steiner save a little face by acceding to his request and changing the job title of his chief accountability officer Shael Polakow-Suransky, to that of chief academic officer in order to make it look like there's an experienced educator somewhere in sight when the corporate Ms. Black moves into Joel Klein's old office.
But Bloomberg and Black's problems have only just begun. The mayor's naked display of personal power will surely cause more resentment and anger, even within his own ranks. He also renders Black damaged goods and mucks up the reputation of the former head of the Hearst magazine empire. She will her take office under a cloud with zero credibility, serving only as a matter of political expediency and as a lackey of the mayor, and some tough battles ahead with the teachers union, parents and community groups.
My favorite line in all this comes from Bloomberg's letter to Steiner informing him of the appointment of Polakow-Suransky and making it seem as if Black had done it herself, rather than the mayor.
Ms. Black's decision to appoint Mr. Polakow-Suransky as her senior deputy, reflects her commitment to a leadership principle that I view as absolutely essential to running any large organization, whether a private business, a public agency, or an entire city government: empowering those around you.
Stop it please, Mr. Mayor. You're killing me. Oh, my side...