Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio appointed Dean Fuleihan to serve as New York City’s next budget director, calling Fuleihan one of the most accomplished budget negotiators in the state when he introduced him at a press conference Wednesday. NY1's Grace Rauh filed the following report.
As far as Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio is concerned, Dean Fuleihan will become his budget director at a time of great stress on the city's finances.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg may have announced that he is leaving de Blasio with a balanced budget, but every municipal labor contract is expired, and union members are looking for retroactive raises.
"It means, by definition, we're facing profound fiscal challenges," de Blasio said.
De Blasio said that further compounding the problem are funding cuts from the federal government , as is his own agenda.
"We have an ambitious, progressive platform that we are resolute about moving forward," he said.
That includes his plan to tax wealthy New Yorkers to pay for pre-kindergarten and after-school programs, and his push to create 200,000 units of affordable housing during the next decade.
Fuleihan spent more than 30 years in Albany. He was a top aide to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, advising him on fiscal and policy matters, and he was the chief staff negotiator for the Assembly on the state budget.
"I promise a budget that honors this administration's commitment to fighting income inequality, making this city more affordable and investing in all five boroughs," Fuelihan said.
In Albany, Fuleihan was indeed at the center of the budget process, but it is one that has historically come under fire for its lack of transparency. De Blasio said that that will not be a problem at City Hall.
"We're going to communicate constantly with the people of the city," de Blasio said.
So far, de Blasio has shown a reluctance to make appointments to his administration that are out of the box. All of his top hires are longtime government veterans with experience working for the city or in Albany.
De Blasio said that changing the city will require talented people with the experience and understanding of how to achieve the change he is seeking.