Two weeks after taking office, Mayor Bill de Blasio has yet to fill a long list of top administration positions, leading to frustrations and confusion in some corners about how long holdover staffers are supposed to stay on.
Despite a flurry of hires in the days before he took office – which seemed to quell public criticism – Mr. de Blasio hasn’t named a single new appointment since last Tuesday, when he rolled out his press team, leaving a long list of agencies without permanent leaders, including the New York City Housing Authority, responsible for housing more than 400,000 residents, the Department of Buildings, which oversees building inspections at nearly 1 million properties, and the Department of Correction, which oversees the city’s jails-marking the slowest roll out in modern mayoral history.
At many of those agencies, including the Department of Health, the Fire Department, and the Office of Emergency Management, Mr. de Blasio has asked Bloomberg appointees to remain on the job-at least until he finds replacements. At others, including the Department of Investigation and the Parks Department, former first deputy commissioners or other high-ranking staffers are filling in on an interim basis, until the new mayor settles on his picks.
But at least two agencies, the Department of Cultural Affairs and the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, remain leaderless.
“We don’t have an acting commissioner at the moment,” said a Cultural Affairs spokesman when asked who was leading the agency. He later added that, “the agency continues to carry out its regular functions, including its grant programs for the city’s nonprofit cultural community” nonetheless.
“There’s currently no acting commissioner,” said a spokeswoman for the media office, who said that day-to-day operations, such as issuing permits for TV and movie shoots, hadn’t been affected by the gaps.
And while the vast majority of current and recently departed staffers interviewed by Politicker in the past week said operations are still running smoothly, with no perceptible impacts on day-to-day services, many acknowledged that staffers had been given scant information about when replacements would be appointed, leaving deputy commissioners and other hold-overs in a holding pattern that has angered some. One deputy commissioner said many commissioners have been told they won’t be asked to stay on but have been given little to no direction about how long they’ll be needed.
“I cannot tell you how scary it is now. Senior staff at a variety of agencies have no clue what is going on,” said the deputy commissioner said.
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