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Former Kathleen Rice aide is new Bill de Blasio spokesman

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on June 2, 2016, in Manhattan. Credit: Charles Eckert

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Friday appointed a new press secretary, Eric Phillips, who was an adviser to Kathleen Rice when she served as Nassau County district attorney.

Phillips, a Wisconsin native, was an adviser to Rice, a Garden City Democrat who now is a congresswoman, in her race against longtime Nassau District Attorney Denis Dillon, a Republican who was the district attorney for three decades. Phillips was spokesman for the district attorney’s office after Rice’s election.

Phillips also advised Rice during her unsuccessful bid to succeed Andrew Cuomo as New York State attorney general in 2010.

Phillips then worked for the political consulting firm SKDKnickerbocker. He accepted a post with de Blasio, as a deputy communications director, last year.

Phillips is replacing de Blasio spokeswoman Karen Hinton starting Monday. Hinton’s last day is Friday.

“Eric has proven himself a skilled communicator and a dogged advocate for New Yorkers,” de Blasio said in a statement. “Eric’s progressive values and deep experience in media relations make him an ideal leader of a talented City Hall press office.”

In a statement, Phillips said the press office under his stewardship would continue to “search for ways to be more responsive and effective in sharing the mayor’s work with the public.”

Hinton announced her departure last month. De Blasio and his inner circle have been dealing with federal, state and local fundraising probes. Hinton had not been implicated in the probes, and neither the mayor nor his staff have been charged with crimes.

De Blasio’s poll numbers have dropped to their lowest point of his mayoralty with the news on the probes. His job approval rating was 41 percent in a Quinnipiac University poll released late last month.

“He’s tough and smart and when the chips are down, you absolutely want him in your corner,” said Rice of Phillips, whom she hired in 2005 for the final months of her successful bid to become district attorney.

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