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A top de Blasio administration official recently upbraided the city’s former Veterans Services chief for daring to diss ThriveNYC, sources told The Post.
Ret. Brigadier Gen. Loree Sutton, who resigned as commissioner of the department in October to launch her 2021 mayoral campaign, had sent out a policy e-mail to potential supporters about a week ago titled “A Mental Health Crisis.”
Sutton — the Army’s former top psychiatrist — wrote, “Too many of our residents with mental health challenges are not getting the services they need despite the City’s efforts to reach them.”
The statement was an implicit rebuke of the mayor and wife Chirlane McCray’s flailing $1 billion mental-health initiative, sources said.
The e-mail prompted de Blasio’s chief of staff, Emma Wolfe, to call Sutton almost immediately after it was sent Dec. 11, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the contentious phone call.
“She said, ‘You’re lucky I called you and not the mayor,’ ” the sources said of Wolfe’s snippy chiding of Sutton.
“The mayor and Chirlane are furious’’ and “felt betrayed” by Sutton’s criticism, Wolfe allegedly added to the ex-commish.
De Blasio had appointed Sutton the first commissioner of the Department of Veterans’ Services in 2016.
The confrontation came after de Blasio ignored Sutton’s requests for a sit-down to inform him about her plans to run for mayor, sources said. The mayor allegedly claimed that he was too busy to meet with her because of his presidential campaign, which ended disastrously.
A spokeswoman for the mayor defended ThriveNYC to The Post — while confirming Wolfe’s phone call to Sutton.
“With over 30 initiatives, the Office of Thrive NYC does critical work filling gaps in mental-health services and ensuring every New Yorker has access to the care they need,” said de Blasio’s press secretary, Freddi Goldstein.
“Despite having previously been a spirited defender of Thrive’s work, a recent campaign e-mail blast made clear that Gen. Sutton had forgotten some basic facts about the programs, so we called to remind her,” Goldstein said.
Goldstein noted that half of ThriveNYC’s annual budget supports people with serious mental illness and added that city officials have closely reviewed the plan and adjusted its approaches over the past year.
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