Brigid Bergin is the City Hall reporter for WNYC. She covers city politics including the 2013 mayoral race and transition.
Mayor de Blasio named his wife, first lady Chirlane McCray, as head of the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City, a nonprofit that raises money to support public programs ranging from Sandy relief to youth and community development.
De Blasio beamed as he ticked off the reasons why he picked McCray for the unpaid role citing her experience with nonprofits, at Maimonides hospital, as an activist and a public school parent.
Then after giving McCray a kiss the mayor stepped aside, stopping to pull out a step built into his podium so shorter speakers can reach the mic. McCray thanked the mayor and said he might need to “pinch” her, which he did.
Making the announcement in the Bronx on Thursday, the already affectionate first couple made no effort to downplay their enthusiasm – for McCray’s formal role or each other.
McCray said they had been talking about the position for weeks until she realized, “You were right.”
“That’s on record,” de Blasio chimed in. “I want a tape of that.”
De Blasio said the Mayor’s Fund will build on work started under the Bloomberg administration, including the Young Men’s Initiative, which de Blasio said his administration plans to continue.
But de Blasio hinted the Fund will also have new priorities.
“We will be putting our own stamp on the Mayor’s Fund of course, focusing on our progressive values and our emphasis on outer-borough and immigrant communities, and our emphasis on the needs of children and families.”
When it came to hiring, de Blasio said he never considered anyone other than McCray for the role and even joked about where he listed the job.
“I posted it in the hallway of our second floor," he said. "Got one applicant - seemed very strong. I interviewed her."
The appointment was approved by the City’s Conflicts of Interest Board. Asked how she felt about the potential for increased public scrutiny because of the new position, McCray said simply, “I have nothing to hide.”