Photo Courtesy of Benjamin Kanter/Mayoral Photography Office
Mayor de Blasio and departing First Deputy Mayor Tony Shorris share a laugh on Thursday.
By Michael V. Cusenza
Mayor Bill de Blasio will serve his second, and final, term without two of his top aides at his side.
De Blasio on Thursday announced several changes to his senior staff, including the departures of First Deputy Mayor Tony Shorris and Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives Richard Buery, who have been with Hizzoner since his first day in office in January 2014.
“First, I want to say about Tony Shorris, everyone here obviously knows Tony has made the choice to return to civilian life and a well-earned choice. Four years as first deputy mayor of this city is arguably one of the single hardest public service roles in America. And I can say it with authority because I’ve watched every minute of those four years,” de Blasio said. “You look across the achievements of this administration – Tony has been deeply involved in almost every one of them. And I want to thank him.”
Succeeding Shorris will be Dean Fuleihan, who has been the director of the Office of Management and Budget since the beginning of the de Blasio administration.
“Everything that we’ve attempted to do was audacious, was difficult, in many cases was never done before. It took a lot of thinking and creativity but it also took a lot of very, very smart careful planning of what the budgetary ramifications would be and how we would create a budget that stayed true to our values, true to our vision, would move the ball constantly but also be fiscally responsible,” de Blasio noted. “That was a huge undertaking over these last four years. Dean has led that effort brilliantly.”
Buery is leaving public service for the private sector. De Blasio acknowledged that hallmarks of his first term – such as Universal Pre-K – would not have been possible without the work of Buery.
“I want to thank you for just literally taking ideas that I thought were amongst the very most important that this administration needed to work on and bringing them to life and doing it somehow with good humor and good nature despite the many, many moments where we saw tremendous challenges,” the mayor said. “Extraordinary effort on your part and a great team you put together. I want to thank you for that Richard and wish you the very best.”
Buery’s successor has not been selected.
De Blasio also announced on Thursday the creation of a fifth deputy mayor role. Laura Anglin is the new deputy mayor for Operations. Additionally, Emma Wolfe has succeeded Kevin O’Brien as Hizzoner’s chief of staff. And Melanie Hartzog will take over as OMB chief.