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De Blasio Taps Former Obama Campaign Staffer For Press Secretary

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Mayor Bill de Blasio continues to round out his administration, and on Tuesday, he announced his communications staff, which includes Phil Walzak, a former staffer for President Barack Obama's campaign who will new be the administration's press secretary. NY1's Grace Rauh filed the following report.

Mayor Bill de Blasio is adding a few new members to his team. Phil Walzak, a top aide who was often by de Blasio's side during the campaign, will be his press secretary. Rebecca Kirszner Katz, who also worked on the campaign, will be a special adviser to the mayor, overseeing long-term projects and communications strategy.

"There were many days over the course of the last few years that I was told that this day, this administration was never going to happen, but here we are," Katz said.

The mayor made five other appointments to the press office, and each was given an opportunity to speak. Angela Banks, a City Hall veteran who has worked for three previous mayors, is staying around for one more. It turns out she worked for this new mayor once before.

"When I was in this building as a junior staffer, I had a day in 1992 when I finally had gotten enough of a meaningful portfolio that I was allowed to have an assistant, and I was blessed to have an assistant named Angela Banks," de Blasio said.

De Blasio has a very different style from Mayor Michael Bloomberg when it comes to interacting with the media. At his press conferences, for instance, he calls on reporters by their first name.

The differences hardly end there. Bloomberg would never have allowed his press aides to speak at a press conference like this, or announced their hiring with such fanfare.

Some suspect that the new mayor is giving his aides such prominent billing to draw attention away from the fact that many prominent administrative posts have not yet been filled. De Blasio still needs to appoint a health commissioner, a fire commissioner, a sanitation commissioner, a parks commissioner, an office of emergency management commissioner, and a correction commissioner, among others.

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