NEW YORK—Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio introduced the city’s future second-most powerful man Wednesday, picking an experienced government hand and making clear that his administration will be structured differently from Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s.
De Blasio appointed Anthony Shorris, a man with 30 years of managerial, academic, and policymaking experience, as his first deputy mayor. Shorris will serve as the second-highest ranking official at City Hall, and will be responsible for managing day-to-day operations. While the police commissioner and the schools chancellor will report directly to de Blasio, Shorris will oversee all other departments.
The appointment signals a shift in government structure from that engineered by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The position of first deputy mayor was less central during Bloomberg’s administration, with deputy mayors reporting directly to the mayor, not the first deputy mayor. The organizational chart of the Bloomberg administration looked more like a corporation, with the departments working more autonomously.
De Blasio said Wednesday that he wants to streamline government and establish clear lines of authority. The mayor-elect has long felt the need for a first deputy mayor, saying his convictions come from his analysis of four administrations. De Blasio reiterated that he will be a hands-on mayor making a lot of the decisions, but Shorris will be his right-hand man.
“When it is an important decision and a strategic decision, the buck stops right here,” de Blasio said. “I want everyone to know where the buck stops in all those other situations—it stops with Tony Shorris.”
De Blasio said Shorris would make sure his agenda is implemented “each and every day.”
The mayor-elect highlighted Shorris’s long résumé, which includes 30 years of managerial, academic, and policymaking experience, including stints as deputy budget director and finance commissioner under former Mayor Ed Koch, and deputy schools chancellor in the early years of the Bloomberg administration.
Shorris also served as executive director at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, directed Princeton University’s Policy Research Institute at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, and acted as a senior vice president and strategic adviser to the dean and CEO at New York University Langone Medical Center.
“I don’t think I know anyone who has this range of experience and achievement, and who will be able to work with all elements of the government seamlessly,” de Blasio said.
De Blasio said Shorris, 56, would “be able to hit the ground running,” adding, “this is a guy who does not need any warm-up pitches.”
De Blasio in particular credited Shorris as the “central architect” of the Koch administration’s affordable housing plan. De Blasio referred to the achievement of 200,000 new units “stunning,” and said he hopes to mirror it.
Shorris will also be charged with helping to negotiate new contracts with the city’s unions, de Blasio’s first significant fiscal dilemma. The unions have been working on expired contracts for years and want retroactive raises that could total more than $7 billion, a figure most analysts believe the city can’t afford.
Dominic Williams, who was de Blasio’s chief of staff in the public advocate’s office, will serve as chief of staff to Shorris in the new administration.
“He has been indispensable, one of the most important voices in my entire operation on policy and strategic planning,” de Blasio said. “I am convinced in his new role he will be at the center of every major decision we make.”
De Blasio appointed Emma Wolf the director of intergovernmental affairs. Wolf also worked in the public advocate’s office with de Blasio and was his deputy campaign manager.
“I guarantee you I would not be standing here without Emma Wolfe,” de Blasio said. “I have worked with a stunning array of political figures in the last quarter century. There are very few minds I have ever met that could compete with Emma Wolfe.”
Wolfe will work with officials at the city, state, and local levels to lobby for de Blasio’s progressive agenda. Wolfe’s first priorities will be to secure stronger living wage and paid sick leave bills in City Council, get approval for a tax increase in Albany to pay for de Blasio’s signature pre-kindergarten plan, and ensure the city gets federal funds for infrastructure and Superstorm Sandy relief.
De Blasio’s Team
Anthony “Tony” Shorris, First Deputy Mayor
-Most recent post: senior vice president, vice dean, and chief of staff at NYU Langone Medical Center
-Served in the Koch administration as the deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget
-Served in the Bloomberg administration as deputy chancellor for operations at the Department of Education
-Worked in Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and helped navigate the agency through the first World Trade Center attack
Dominic Williams, Chief of Staff to the First Deputy Mayor
-Most recently served as chief of staff to Public Advocate Bill de Blasio
-Previously served as senior policy advisor in the Public Advocate’s Office
De Blasio on Williams: he is “one of the most important voices in my entire operation on policy and strategic planning.”
Emma Wolfe, Director of Intergovernmental Affairs
-Most recently served as deputy campaign manager and political director for de Blasio’s mayoral campaign
-Previously served as de Blasio’s chief of staff in the Public Advocate’s Office
De Blasio on Wolfe: “I guarantee you I would not be standing here without Emma Wolfe.”