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Facing criticism, de Blasio hopes New Yorkers know job is '7 days a week'

De Blasio is defending his leisure time after coming under fire for being MIA.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday any questions about his administration's job so almReuters

Mayor Bill de Blasio shot back at criticism that his private schedule might be interfering with his day job.

"This job is a seven-day-a-week job," he said. "There is no such thing in this job as being off-duty. I hope people know that."

The mayor's activities once again came under speculation after NY1 reported that de Blasio was working out at the Park Slope YMCA mid-morning Friday for almost two hours while police and fire authorities responded to an armed standoff in Staten Island.

De Blasio earlier caught heat for working out at his old neighborhood gym during the funeral of former Congressman Herman Badillo in December.

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The mayor said Tuesday any questions about his administration's job so almost two years into his time in office are belied by its progress on broader issues including crime, employment and education.

"I think people paying attention recognize a lot of work is being done and done effectively," he said.

Kenneth Sherrill, who spent decades teaching political science at CUNY's Hunter College, cautioned it was unrealistic for any elected official to assume the public ignores bad press.

"You can't say to the average voter, 'Why aren't you paying attention?" Sherrill said.

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Sherrill added that de Blasio has in many ways been "the least imperial mayor" in a generation, but that the former public advocate's campaign for mayor sold a candidate who was in touch with the lives of everyday New Yorkers.

For months, the de Blasio administration has waged battle on headlines about rising crime and homelessness, as well as sinking approval numbers across demographics.

"People would be unaffected by the headlines," Sherrill said, "if they were given good reason to reject them."

 
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