de Blasio Makes Host Of Appointments
Over the last 10 days, Mayor Bill de Blasio has filled several appointed positions in his administration.
De Blasio announced, Dec. 31, five key appointments just hours before his inauguration.
The picks will help the city negotiate with unions, direct transportation, stimulate the economy and protect the downtrodden.
De Blasio named Bob Linn the next director of labor relations. Linn held the job of top labor negotiator three decades ago under then-Mayor Ed Koch. As director, he faces the daunting task of renegotiating nearly 300,000 unionized city employees’ contracts with a slough of public employee unions.
Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg allowed the contracts to expire in 2009 and city employees have been working without a contract ever since. Public employee unions are currently seeking more than $7 billion in retroactive pay.
Stanley Brezenoff, another former aide to Koch was tapped as an unpaid adviser to assist in the upcoming labor negotiations and to aid Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris.
“This may be the hardest assignment that anyone in the history of labor relations in this city has taken on,” de Blasio said at a press conference.
The mayor chose, last Tuesday, his transportation commissioner: former U.S. Department of Transportation undersecretary Polly Trottenberg.
Trottenberg has vowed to continue expanding bicycle infrastructure throughout the city while also lowering pedestrian fatalities.
“One life lost on our streets is too many,” Trottenberg said at a press conference. “We are committed to the maxim that safety-for everyone who uses the roads, including pedestrians and cyclists-is our top priority.”
As an undersecretary, she had carved a “fix it first” position on infrastructure projects, advocating for public works projects as an economic stimulator.
“From improving our roads, bridges and waterways to better serve our citizens and businesses, to connecting New Yorkers to jobs and opportunities through improved highspeed bus service, to expanding biking across the five boroughs, we can have a transportation system that is safe, efficient and accessible to all,” she said.
Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder sent a letter, Jan. 6, to Trottenberg inviting her to visit Sandy-ravaged areas in southern Queens and the Rockaways.
“Sandy has only demonstrated what our communities have known for too long; that we must invest in our transportation infrastructure and increase transit options to provide relief for our families that are struggling to rebuild,” said Assemblyman Goldfeder, who has recently advocated reactivating the Rockaway Beach Branch of the Long Island Rail Road for use as public transportation.
In another appointment, Dec. 31, Mayor de Blasio retained Kyle Kimball as president of the New York City Economic Development Corporation.
Kimball also served under Bloomberg, and during a press conference announcing the appointments, he said he would do “everything in our power to address rising inequality” and would “innovate new ways to spur affordable housing and meet the needs of neighborhoods, especially those outside of Manhattan.”
A press release from the mayor’s transition team states that Kimball has been an advocate for the preservation of manufacturing jobs and has helped to expand the city’s Industrial Business Zones, as well.
Queens native Gilbert Taylor-a former deputy commissioner for the city’s Administration for Child Services (ACS)-will now head its Administration for Homeless services.
Taylor said the city would find new ways to reduce homelessness and house the city’s most vulnerable-a demographic that critics say Bloomberg did not do enough for.
“More families and more children are going to sleep each night in our homeless shelters than ever before,” Taylor said. “It’s a crisis we will confront with every tool at our disposal. I share hellip; de Blasio’s fundamental commitment to more aggressive homelessness prevention policies and housing support to transition people from shelters to stable living. We will have a compassionate and effective approach that helps families in crisis.”
Taylor spent more than a decade working for the ACS, where he oversaw a reduction in social worker caseloads and a decrease in the number of children placed in foster care, according to a fact sheet provided by the Mayor’s transition team.
On Monday, Jan. 6, the mayor made a second handful of appointments, filling roles in the Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD), the Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit, the Office of Operations and the office of Federal Legislative Affairs.
Bill Chong, a former commissioner for the Department of Aging will now head the DYCD, where he also spent eight years in service.
Marco A. Carrión was tapped to lead the Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit. Carrión indicated in a press release that the city will soon gather more input from outer-borough neighborhoods and residents.
Mindy Tarlow-formerly of the Center for Employment Opportunities-will now lead the Office of Operations, which is tasked with ensuring City Hall runs efficiently.
De Blasio chose policy specialist Max Sevilla to lead federal lobbying efforts as the head of his administration’s Federal Legislative Affairs office. Sherif Soliman will represent the city in Albany as de Blasio’s head of State Legislative Affairs.
Finally, public affairs maven Peter Rangone was brought on as a special adviser.