One Police Plaza

Did Image Polish Wipe Out His Job?

February 10, 1995

The man hired by Police Commissioner William Bratton to polish his image may have done his job too well, a top police official said yesterday.

Mayor Rudolph Giuliani pointedly refused yesterday to voice support for John Miller, the department's deputy commissioner for public information, and a key Bratton adviser said he suspected the reason was that Giuliani may "be somewhat perturbed" over the favorable publicity Bratton has received since taking over as commissioner a year ago.

A top City Hall official put it succinctly: "It's just that the city has two police commissioners with big egos."

Most recently, Bratton was the subject of a flattering profile in the New Yorker magazine that lauded his successes in reducing crime but made scarce mention of the mayor.

At a news conference yesterday, in which Giuliani repeated his desire to fire press officers in several different city agencies, the mayor said he hadn't even read the New Yorker article and that the issue he wanted to address was making cuts various city agencies, including the Police Department.

"It has nothing to do with ego. It has nothing to do with publicity. It has to do with proper management," Giuliani said.

Asked by reporters whether he planned to fire Miller, a star television reporter before taking the job as department spokesman, Giuliani said, "I am revewing everyone in the department. The only one I will talk about today is the commissioner."

Mayoral spokeswoman Christyne Lategano said that DCPI, as the department of public information is known, has 38 employees, 28 of whom are cops. "He has targeted bloat in [Miller's] department," Lategano said. Miller's status, she said, would depend "on how he adapts" to the cuts.

Miller said late yesterday that he and Giuliani were "in philosophical agreement" on the budget cuts. Bratton, who was summoned to City Hall late in the afternoon, and who Giuliani said was also in agreement with his philosophy, said Miller would stay as long as he did.

©1995 Newsday, Inc.Reprinted with permission.