Rachel Noerdlinger, chief of staff to First Lady Chirlane McCray, said she was stepping down from her position on Monday.
Noerdlinger has been under scrutiny over the past two months regarding her relationship with Hassaun McFarlan, who has been convicted of manslaughter and drug trafficking. On Friday, Noerdlinger’s 17-year-old son, Khari, was arrested on charges of trespassing, a misdemeanor.
“Today I am announcing that I have decided to take a leave of absence to spend more time with my son. These past two months have been extremely difficult for both of us, and his arrest on Friday heightens the need for me to devote my full attention to Khari, my number one priority,” Noerdlinger said in a prepared statement.
“I can handle criticism and scrutiny of me, even when it’s mean-spirited — that comes with the territory when you take on the status quo. But increasingly, my son has been subjected to attacks that have nothing to do with the public interest, and everything to do with derailing this administration,” Noerdlinger said.
Noerdlinger thanked both de Blasio and McCray for their “unwavering support.”
Rebecca Katz, special advisor to de Blasio, said Noerdlinger has been a “great asset” to City Hall.
The top aide, who makes $170,000 a year, will not be paid during her leave, which is indefinite, Mayor Bill de Blasio said later Monday at a press conference at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
De Blasio calledNoerdlinger is a “hard-working public servant who’s tried to do good throughout her life,” and said there’s “something wrong” with making one’s boyfriend and child “fair game in the public discourse.”
“It’s going to be very hard to get good people into public service if we continue on this path,” de Blasio said. “I, for one, think that everyone deserves some measure of privacy in their private life, even if they are a public servant.”
Information from Reuters was used in this report.