Sources tell NY1 that a top aide to the Rev. Al Sharpton is working with the city's first lady Chirlane McCray, and there is speculation that she could be tapped to work for the first lady on a permanent basis. NY1's Grace Rauh filed the following report.
First Lady Chirlane McCray is rarely far from her husband, Mayor Bill de Blasio. She joins him in interviews with candidates for top administrative jobs, and he says that they make big decisions together.
"My wife could not be here, but I will express her deep enthusiasm about the appointments today," de Blasio said at his press conference Thursday.
New Yorkers have not heard much from the first lady since her husband's swearing in, but that may be about to change. Sources tell NY1 that McCray has been working with a top aide to the Rev. Al Sharpton during the transition, and now, sources say that the administration is eyeing that Sharpton aide, Rachel Noerdlinger, as a potential chief of staff to the first lady.
Noerdlinger declined to comment. So did a spokeswoman for the mayor.
If Noerdlinger did join the administration, it would be another example of the growing clout that Sharpton has in the city. When Mayor Rudolph Giuliani was in office from 1994 to 2001, he refused to even meet with Sharpton.
McCray's plans may not be well-received by some New Yorkers. A new Quinnipiac University poll found that only 27 percent of New York City voters think the first lady should play a major role in shaping public policy. The poll found that 67 percent of voters are optimistic about her husband's first term, and 53 percent approve of the job he has done so far.
The mayor, meanwhile, appointed Dr. Mary Bassett to be the city's new health commissioner Thursday. He also named Rose Pierre-Louis commissioner of the Mayor's Office to Combat Domestic Violence.
He said that when it comes to the Health Department, New Yorkers should expect similar policies, just a different style.
These two appointments help de Blasio fill out his administration, but he still has several significant appointments to make. He has not yet named his own fire commissioner, sanitation commissioner, Office of Emergency Management commissioner or parks commissioner, to name a few.