Two familiar faces from the City Council had their own inauguration ceremonies as former Queens City Councilmember John Liu took the oath as City Comptroller and former Brooklyn City Councilmember Bill de Blasio was sworn in as Public Advocate.
Liu, who served for eight years in the City Council and was the head of the Transportation Committee, became the first Asian-American elected to citywide office after he won a four-way Democratic primary in September and then trounced Republican nominee Joe Mendola and a slew of other candidates in November.
“The elections, however, were only a beginning. Now the real work begins, and today I am ready to hit the ground running,” Liu said on Friday, January 1. “From the tools of audit and oversight, to its shareholder responsibilities, as Comptroller, I intend for the powers vested in my office to be exercised in the most robust manner for the future of our city, its residents and retirees.”
During his inauguration speech, Liu promised to work every day for New Yorkers in what is bound to be a very difficult economic climate.
“Now more than ever, in this time of such fiscal austerity, government must be more resilient – and creative – to rise to the challenge of doing so much more with so much less,” Liu said.
Many people believe that both Liu and de Blasio will be more proactive and sometimes more confrontational with Mayor Michael Bloomberg than their predecessors Bill Thompson and Betsy Gotbaum were.
Already, de Blasio launched the Public Advocate’s Community Organizing and Constituent Services Department, which will help organize communities to play a more meaningful role in city government. The department will provide New Yorkers with specific organizing tools and strategies in addition to helping them navigate city bureaucracy and connecting them to the services they need.
“Our communities deserve a greater say in the policies that affect their lives,” de Blasio said. “Giving New Yorkers the tools they need to organize will help make our government more democratic and responsive to the needs of the people. My office will help neighborhood activists build grassroots coalitions so they can have a greater impact on all levels of government.”