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Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio announces his first appointees

Herb Boyd | 12/5/2013, 11:44 a.m.
L to R: Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio, Anthony Shorris, Emma Wolfe, and Dominic Williams Photo by Bill Moore

Anthony Shorris needed a step platform to reach the microphone Wednesday morning during a press conference near City Hall, and he may need an even larger one when he becomes Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio’s first deputy mayor.

“No one possesses Tony’s range of work and experience,” said de Blasio about Shorris. “He fundamentally understands how to balance a budget … and he is a veteran of public service.”

The too-small room was packed with reporters, many of them there under the impression that the incoming mayor would be announcing his police commissioner.

During the question-and-answer portion of the meeting, de Blasio said that he would make the announcement of other appointments “when we are 100 percent ready.”

Repeating what was stated about Shorris on his press release, the mayor-elect said, “We’ve set out to build a progressive, diverse and effective government for the people of this city. This team exemplifies those values, and each brings incredible depth and experience to the challenges ahead of us.”

Shorris will be the second highest ranking official at City Hall, and de Blasio said he was confident that Shorris was ready for the assignment, “and he won’t need any warm-up pitches,” he added, tossing in a baseball metaphor.

In his brief remarks, Shorris said, “This is a pivotal moment in our city’s history … and this is our moment.” He underscored the mayor-elect’s promise of having a “bold, progressive government.”

The other appointees were Dominic Williams, who will serve as chief of staff to Shorris, and Emma Wolfe, who will be the new director of intergovernmental affairs.

“I wouldn’t be standing here today without Dominic,” de Blasio said. “He will be one of the most important members of our team.”

There was similar praise for Wolfe, who, de Blasio said, “will be in charge of our relations with the City Council, the state and the federal government.”

Williams said he was honored to be chosen. “Mayor-elect de Blasio has set a bold and progressive agenda … and it will be my task to make this government work for all of us.”

Wolfe emphasized the importance of the pre-K and after-school programs that are so integral to de Blasio’s “core values.” “The people are behind this agenda,” she said, reading her statement, “and we are going to turn that support into a political movement that passes stronger living wage and paid sick leave legislation in the Council [and] secures a tax on the wealthiest.”

Each of the appointees had to undergo intense vetting, de Blasio explained, noting that a similar process of assessment will continue as he and his transition team decide who the next appointees will be.