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De Blasio Says He Needs More Staff For Bigger Agenda Than Bloomberg Ever Had

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Mayor Bill de Blasio has touched off a battle royal with former Mayor Michael Bloomberg over who is the biggest workaholic.

As CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported, it began with de Blasio insisting that he needs way more top-dollar special assistants because his agenda is bigger.

"It's about getting the work done," de Blasio said.

De Blasio was just back from vacation Monday and apparently feeling pugilistic, as he metaphorically bopped former Mayor Bloomberg on the noggin.

De Blasio was defending is decision to hire nearly three times more high-priced special assistants than Bloomberg had. The current mayor laid down the gauntlet, challenging Bloomberg on his work ethic.

"We're trying to do a lot," de Blasio said. "I can't tell you all the intricacies of the Bloomberg administration. I can tell you in this administration, we've put together very ambitious goals."

Bloomberg had 109 special assistants, while de Blasio has 298.

Kramer asked de Blasio if he thought his agenda was more ambitious than Bloomberg's was.

"I can say on a number of items, we're trying to do things on a bigger scale," de Blasio said. "We're running this government very differently, and we're doing a number of things that weren't touched at all in those years, and we've got to have the personnel to make it work."

But former Bloomberg director of communications Bill Cunningham was quick to fire back.

"It' a joke, right?" Cunningham said. "He's trying to fill in for Jerry Lewis and Dick Gregory since they passed away."

Bloomberg himself has made it a point not to criticize his successor, no matter how sharp the stick de Blasio stick sin his eye. But this time, it was personal, and Cunningham felt the record had to be set straight.

"This is a joke. It has to be." Cunningham said. "What has he done? Did he do the High Line? Did he extend the No. 7 Train or any train? No."

Team Bloomberg offered a long list of first-term achievements, adding that Bloomberg took over right after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and had to rebuild Lower Manhattan, and oversee the building of the memorial and museum.

Bloomberg's team also pointed out that the got mayoral control of public schools, established the 311 service, passed a smoking ban, and tried to get the 2012 Olympics and build a West Side stadium.

De Blasio's accomplishment include pre-kindergarten, the Vision Zero road safety program, and reducing stop-and-frisk.

"What has he done with all of his assistants except give them raises?" Cunningham said.

De Blasio's political opponents – Democrat Sal Albanese and Republican Nicole Malliotakis, also criticized the mayor's hiring practices and said the money could be much better spent.

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