Mayor-Elect Bill de Blasio Launches Transition Efforts

Bill de Blasio and the leaders of his transition team.

Bill de Blasio and his transition team.

Bill de Blasio didn’t waste any time today launching his transition effort, announcing his new transition team leadership the morning after winning the mayor’s race.

Hours after securing one of the most decisive victories in recent history, Mr. de Blasio convened the press to introduce his new team after an hour-long conversation with the current mayor.

“Today is now the first day of an eight-week sprint in preparing our new administration. That is officially 55 days, and we are hitting the ground running,” said Mr. de Blasio. “You know I put forward, throughout this campaign, a very clear vision of where our city needs to go. And now we have to implement that vision, we have to quickly prepare the pieces so we can walk into City Hall on day one, ready to go.”

To kick off the efforts, Mr. de Blasio unveiled a new transition website and introduced the “core team” that will lead his post-election efforts, including co-chairs Jennifer Jones Austin and Carl Weisbrod.

Ms. Jones Austin currently heads the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, a social services network, and worked with Mr. de Blasio back when he was a Brooklyn city councilman and she was the deputy commissioner of the Administration for Children’s Services.

Mr. Weisbrod, another former Bloomberg appointee, lead the efforts to revive Times Square beginning in the late 1970s and was the founding president of the business-friendly New York City Economic Development Corporation as well as the Alliance for Downtown New York.

He also announced the appointment of two senior staffers. The team’s executive director will be Laura Santucci, who worked in the Obama White House and most recently served as acting executive director of the Democratic National Committee. Her deputy will be Ursulina Ramirez, one of Mr. de Blasio’s closest aides in the public advocate’s office.

The choices reveal a preference by Mr. de Blasio for familiar faces with lengthy government résumés, including those who served under the current mayor, as well as a continued reliance on longtime aides and Washington talent.

In addition to making sure he has “an effective and efficient administration,” Mr. de Blasio stressed that he would prioritize diversity in his hiring, ensuring he builds an administration that “looks like New York.”

“We value the creation of a team that mirrors the glorious diversity of this city, a team that is truly representative of every kind of New Yorker from all five boroughs, so that we hear the voices of every community and we can best serve people in every neighborhood,” he said. Three of the the four appointments announced today were women.

While Mr. de Blasio has yet set a schedule for making key appointments, including police and education commissioners, he said he expects to have a full transition operation up and running by Tuesday, November 12th. And unlike his predecessor, Mr. Bloomberg, a government outsider when he took office, Mr. de Blasio said he planned to be deeply involved in the process, since he already knows many of the city’s key players.

“Having worked in New York City as long as I have, I’m gonna take a very hands-on approach,” he said, stressing the goal was to work quickly, but smartly.

“Every single one of us up here knows we have 55 days until Opening Day,” he added. “We all feel that this is a sacred mission.”