Mayor-Elect de Blasio’s Transition Team Offers No Hints on Appointments

The co-chairs stopped by the Transition Tent today. (Photo: Twitter/@TalkNYC2013)

The co-chairs stopped by the Transition Tent today. (Photo: Twitter/@TalkNYC2013)

The co-chairs or Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio’s transition team made their first public appearance today following their appointments, but remained largely mum on the team’s progress.

Asked how close they were to making key appointments, how many people they’d interviewed and whether they would consider any high-level holdovers from the Bloomberg administration, the chairs, Jennifer Jones Austin and Carl Weisbrod, largely deferred to Mr. de Blasio.

“I will leave that to Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio to bring you up to speed on that,” said Ms. Jones Austin, answering questions from reporters after touring the non-profit-funded “Talking Transition” tent in Lower Manhattan.

“As Jennifer said, we’re going about this as expeditiously and very intensely, obviously. But we want to get it right … I’m sure there’ll be announcements forthcoming,” echoed Mr. Weisbrod, when asked whether they’d settled on a new police commissioner.

The pair did, however, make clear they were proceeding carefully as they work to decide who will run the city come January, following 12 years of current Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s corporate-style governance.

“Our goal is to get this right. And there’s obviously a whole lot that we have to both absorb and digest. So that involves looking at personnel, it involves looking at policy, it incomes looking at our financial situation. It involves a whole host, across the board,” explained Mr. Weisbrod. “The City of New York is a big and complex place and we want to be able to do it as best we can.”

“We want the most progressive, the most highly competent and as diverse a city government as we possibly can have. Those are the parameters, the defining hallmarks of this administration,” Ms. Jones Austin added.

Despite being largely absent from the public stage since his election, the two said Mr. de Blasio has been deeply involved behind the scenes, helping with the efforts.

“We are the co-chairs, but we take our orders from Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio,” said Ms. Jones Austin, who worked with Mr. de Blasio back when he was a city councilman, and said he seemed to be enjoying the transition process.

“One of the things that Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio really appreciates is that we’ve moved into governing. This is not just about campaigning and saying things to the media. We wanna get this right and he is very committed to governing in a thoughtful  and intentional manner. And that’s what we’re about,” she said.

“I would say he’s been very obviously very intensely engaged in the work we do and we’re intensely engaged in the work he’s doing. And that’s what a transition’s about,” Mr. Weisbrod added.

And despite the publishing of a Playboy magazine article in which outgoing Police Commissioner Ray Kelly agrees with a charge the Democratic candidates were “full of shit,” Mr. Jones Austin denied simmering tensions between the incoming and outgoing administrations.

“I just know that in our conversations, they have been forthcoming with information that is helpful to the transition,” she said.