Cardwell to City Hall

Diane Cardwell, who covered the Ferrer campaign last cycle for the Times, has been named City Hall Bureau Chief. She succeeds Jim Rutenberg, who departs soon for the White House.

Congrats and, in case you didn’t get the memo:

To: The Staff

From: [Metro Editor] Joe Sexton

Diane Cardwell’s first byline in the paper a dozen years ago carried this headline: Rapwear. Soulwear. Hipwear. The story introduced a new and fresh voice to our pages, and it is a voice that over the years has shown itself to be wise as well as witty, authoritative as well as nuanced, tough as well as tender. She wrote, for instance, the obituaries of Onofrio Ottomanelli — the famed Village butcher — and Freddy Ferrer — the Bronx pol who didn’t quite, ahem, make the cut.

She profiled the assassin at City Hall and Mr. Bloomberg’s more or less constant companion. She traveled the country and filed from the battleground states in 2004, then returned to Brooklyn and took up a different kind of turf fight at the Atlantic Yards.

Along the way, her coverage of the City Council earned her a reputation as a shrewd and sophisticated observer of one of the city’s more curious institutions. It made you laugh and cry, which pretty much means she got it just right.

Starting next month, Diane will bring her voice — and all the intelligence and instinct and rigor that informs it — to her role as City Hall Bureau Chief. It’s an appointment we make with enormous excitement and great satisfaction. Diane, who has a real feel for the landscape and its inhabitants, also has a host of bold ideas for chronicling the second term of the Bloomberg administration and taking a true measure of its arguable accomplishments and potentially lasting improvements. We are, too, quite confident she will serve as an artful manager of a very busy and very talented couple of accomplices in Room 9.

In short, Diane — child of Harlem and lifelong lover of the city — rocks. We can’t wait to get the party started.