A deputy mayor arrested on a domestic violence charge in July would have been fired if he hadn't offered to resign days later, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Sunday, but he said he didn't divulge the reason for the official's departure in order to spare his family.
"It became obvious that he couldn't work for the city and I immediately made sure that he no longer did," Bloomberg said in his first comments about Stephen Goldsmith. It was revealed Thursday that Goldsmith had left his position a few days after he was arrested July 30 in Washington, D.C.
A police report said he had shoved and grabbed his wife. Both later disputed the account; prosecutors are not pursuing charges.
Bloomberg, who has come under criticism from other city officials because the arrest wasn't mentioned when it was announced that Goldsmith was leaving, offered no apology for his failure to fully explain the top aide's departure to the public.
After Bloomberg reporters' questions outside a Brooklyn church where he had spoken to the congregation, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer fired back quickly.
"The mayor has this backwards: His first obligation is to protect the public, not to protect a staff member," Stringer said in a statement Sunday.
The City Council should hold hearings to "get a full accounting of the facts," Stringer said.
Last month, Bloomberg had said only that the deputy mayor for operations was "leaving to pursue private-sector opportunities."
On Sunday, the mayor said that was "accurate," but added that he didn't divulge the real reason because he didn't want to "bring more suffering" to the Goldsmith family.
The two men had met the day after the arrest, and Goldsmith offered his resignation, Bloomberg told reporters.
Had he not, "I would have terminated him," Bloomberg said.
The mayor said he "always assumed" the details would come out eventually, "but it's not my responsibility," he added, noting that that the 64-year-old Goldsmith was arrested in Washington and, though New York authorities were informed, the case was not in their jurisdiction.
Also turning up the heat on the mayor was the city's public advocate, Bill de Blasio, who demanded Friday that Bloomberg apologize for "lying" about Goldsmith and misleading the public.