With some staffers already cleaning out years of detritus in their desks in the West Wing of City Hall, the great job hunt is underway in the incoming administration of Bill de Blasio.
As our Courtney Gross reported last night, the axe will soon be landing on the heads of most high-level commissioners in the Bloomberg administration. After all, Bloomberg told de Blasio on Wednesday that he kept "only one" of Giuliani's team when he took over in 2002.
That's not quite fair to Team Rudy. Some of Bloomberg's original team members – including Vinnie La Padula, Iris Weinshall, Tino Hernandez, William Fraser, John Doherty, and Patricia Lancaster – had docked serious time with the previous administration. But there's no question that Bloomberg, like most executives, was far more comfortable with the people he brought into City Hall. ( It will be interesting to see which commissioners will fight to keep their job. When asked if he wants to say on, Fire Commissioner Sal Cassano almost plaintively declared: "I love my job.")
The job search rumors have been centering on police commissioner and schools chancellor but De Blasio has correctly indicated that his most important appointment will be his First Deputy Mayor – who will dually serve as his gatekeeper and ideas vetter. Giuliani had Peter Powers (who only lasted two-and-a-half years) while Bloomberg had Patti Harris, who will De Blasio pick? De Blasio has also said in a revealing interview with The New York Times that he vastly prefers hiring people from the public sector because " the folks who mostly thrive in New York City government are the ones who have done it or something very close to it previously…I think people who understand government run government best."
While de Blasio was critical of Giuliani's "hyper-micromanagement model", he also ripped Bloomberg's "30,000-feet approach." But in my many conversations with Bloomberg staffers over the years, they have universally praised him for allowing them to make difficult and sometimes innovative decisions. Another boss would never have given them the opportunity to take a chance. In the areas of transportation, health, and the environment, Bloomberg's commissioners made some sweeping proposals that probably would not have been attempted if they were worrying that their boss was constantly looking over their shoulder. It's something for de Blasio to think about.
There will be a little bit of time for de Blasio to contemplate the job hunt as he sips a cocktail in San Juan. And one thing that should reassure him – and it's also a mayoral rite of passage -- if he makes some bad appointments, he can always fire them.
Two notes: I'll be taking a break for the next couple of days and will be back next Wednesday. And my apologies to former Police Commissioner Bill Bratton. In one segment that I taped earlier today on NY1, I said he is 70 years old. He is 66.