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Bill de Blasio names Anthony Shorris NYC first deputy mayor

Mayor-Elect Bill DeBlasio speaks at the National Action

Mayor-Elect Bill DeBlasio speaks at the National Action Network in Harlem. (Nov. 16, 2013) Credit: CS Muncy

Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio Wednesday named Anthony Shorris as his first deputy mayor and second-in-command, tasking the former Port Authority executive director with putting his progressive agenda into action in city government.

Shorris, 56, whose diverse resume includes leadership roles in city government and the private sector since the 1980s, will oversee day-to-day operations.

"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 at a news conference near City Hall. "This is a guy who does not need any warm-up pitches."

Most commissioners will report to Shorris. Two exceptions will be the yet-unnamed police commissioner and schools chancellor, who will report directly to the new mayor.

Shorris, currently the senior vice president, vice dean and chief of staff at New York University Langone Medical Center, served in the Ed Koch administration as finance commissioner and as deputy Board of Education chancellor for a period overlapping the Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg mayoralties. Former Gov. Eliot Spitzer put him in the Port Authority post.

Shorris and de Blasio met through their wives, Maria Laurino and Chirlane McCray, who were both speechwriters in Mayor David Dinkins' administration. De Blasio's wife is his closest political adviser.

Shorris echoed de Blasio's "tale of two cities" campaign theme in pledging to address inequality -- the "threat to our sense of a common future."

Mitchell Moss, NYU professor of urban policy and planning, called Shorris "a seasoned professional and one of the most intelligent experts on New York City government."

Kathryn Wylde, president and CEO of the Partnership for New York City, said Shorris' appointment assuaged business leaders' concerns about working with de Blasio.

"I talked with several business leaders who are taking great comfort in Tony's appointment and feel that he is someone that they know and look forward to working with," Wylde said.

De Blasio Wednedsay also announced that Dominic Williams, 31, chief of staff in his public advocate office, will be Shorris' chief of staff, and Emma Wolfe, 34, deputy campaign manager and political director of de Blasio's mayoral bid, will serve as director of intergovernmental affairs.

The appointments are the first to the nascent administration, which takes over Jan. 1. De Blasio said his wife had a role in choosing all three.

Putting his first deputy mayor in charge of day-to-day management is a departure from Bloomberg, who assigned those responsibilities to a deputy mayor of operations.

"We want clear lines of authority, clear lines of accountability," de Blasio said.

De Blasio's new team

Anthony Shorris, 56

Post: First deputy commissioner

Responsibilities: Manage day-to-day government operations, with most agencies reporting directly to him

Resume highlights: Senior vice president, vice dean and chief of staff of NYU Langone Medical Center, where he led superstorm Sandy recovery efforts.

Executive director of Port Authority, where he oversaw development of the World Trade Center site.

Deputy chancellor for operations for the city Board of Education, during which he required Conflicts of Interest Board approval to simultaneously work part-time for Service Employees International Union's Local 1199 health care workers union.

Finance commissioner in former Mayor Ed Koch's administration, where he spearheaded an affordable housing program.

Emma Wolfe, 34

Post: Director of intergovernmental affairs

Responsibilities: Act as liaison to Washington, and Albany on city interests, including de Blasio's plan to raise taxes on the rich to fund pre-K and after-school programs

Resume: De Blasio's deputy campaign manager and political director. Chief of staff for public advocate's office.

State Senate aide, field director for the Working Families Party and 1199 SEIU.

Dominic Williams, 31

Post: Shorris' chief of staff

Responsibilities: Handle day-to-day coordination of agencies and City Hall

Resume: Chief of staff and former senior policy adviser for the public advocate's office. Associate policy director in President Barack Obama's 2012 campaign. Developed pension strategies for the SEIU.

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