Bill de Blasio proceeds with ‘progressive vision’ and launches transition efforts
Fresh off Tuesday’s victory, Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio began defining his next steps on the road to City Hall on Wednesday, naming a transition leadership he said shares a “progressive vision” for New York.
“Today is now the first day of an eight-week sprint preparing our new administration. That is officially 55 days and we are hitting the ground running,” de Blasio said at a news conference.
The two co-chairs of the transition team, Jennifer Jones Austin and Carl Weisbrod, are former appointees of Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Austin was most recently the head of the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, a social services network in the city. She worked with de Blasio when he was a Brooklyn councilman on the General Welfare Committee and she was the deputy commissioner of the Administration for Children’s Services.
Weisbrod was the founding president of the New York City Economic Development Corporation and the Alliance for Downtown New York.
De Blasio also announced Laura Santucci, who most recently served as the acting head of the Democratic National Committee, would be the transition team’s executive director. Santucci’s deputy will be Ursulina Ramirez, an aide in the public advocate’s office.
“The combination of perspectives and talents they bring aligns very closely to the agenda we put forward in the campaign,” de Blasio said.
They are also seasoned players in city government, indicating a possible preference de Blasio will show in staffing his administration.
“Having worked in New York City as long as I have, I’m gonna take a very hands-on approach,” the mayor-elect said of making appointments.
The transition team appointees are “committed” to his vision for the city and represent its diversity.
“One of our greatest strengths is our diversity and it’s crucial that our government represent that,” de Blasio said.
He said that he has yet to determine a schedule in selecting the next police commissioner and schools chancellor. A full transition office will be operational by Nov. 12.
De Blasio said voters had spoken and that it will be his office’s obligation to create a safe city where “prosperity is shared and there’s opportunity for all.”
Of course, de Blasio acknowledged the first days of his administration could be a bit bumpy.
“None of us is going to promise perfection any day soon,” he said.
As for the next few days, de Blasio is headed to Puerto Rico on Thursday to attend a conference of Hispanic legislators. He will then take a brief vacation with his wife Chirlane McCray for “down time.”
“We’ve heard about this thing; we don’t know what it looks like,” he joked.
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