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De Blasio names more department chiefs

NYC mayor-elect Bill de Blasio. (Dec. 29, 2013)

NYC mayor-elect Bill de Blasio. (Dec. 29, 2013) Credit: Charles Eckert

On the eve of his inauguration as mayor, Bill de Blasio Tuesday made five more appointments, staffing his new administration with veterans of the Koch, Bloomberg and Obama administrations.

Those named include agency chiefs for transportation, economic development, labor negotiations and oversee homeless services.

Outgoing Mayor Mike Bloomberg's commissioners of sanitation, fire and emergency management will stay on for a few months, de Blasio said.

Tuesday's announcement, in the Beaux Arts Surrogate's Court building across from City Hall, brought to 16 the number of major appointments the 109th mayor made in advance of taking office. His pace in filling key jobs has lagged that of his three most recent predecessors.

Polly Trottenberg, 49, now undersecretary of transportation for policy at the federal Department of Transportation, will lead the city Transportation Department.

She and de Blasio said a top goal is to bring down the number of pedestrian fatalities, ideally to zero. She also said the de Blasio administration wanted to expand Mayor Michael Bloomberg's bicycle lane programs, but would seek more community input.

"This administration is going to be committed to expanding the use of bikes," Trottenberg said.

Kyle Kimball, 40, Bloomberg's Economic Development Corp. president, will stay on -- the first top official from Bloomberg's team to be signed up in the same job for more than a transition period.

De Blasio, who has long criticized the Bloomberg administration over giving tax breaks to developers and wealthy businesses, said he was confident that Kimball would be able to execute the new mayor's vision to use economic development "as an opportunity to right some wrongs" despite the Bloomberg connection.

"Thank you very much, mayor-elect, for letting me keep my job," Kimball said to laughter.

Gilbert Taylor, 43, now the executive deputy commissioner at the Administration for Children Services, will head the Department of Homeless Services.

Robert Linn, 65, a chief labor negotiator for Mayor Ed Koch, will do the same job for de Blasio.

De Blasio also announced another Koch-era veteran, Stan Brezenoff, 76, will be a special unpaid adviser to First Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris.

Linn will have his work cut out for him: Every one of the more than 150 contracts with municipal-worker labor unions has expired.

"It has certainly become fashionable to denigrate public-sector workers," Linn said. "And you will never hear that -- from any of us."

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