Bill de Blasio will be sworn in Wednesday as mayor of New York City by former President Bill Clinton, a past boss during de Blasio’s time working in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The Democrat will be inaugurated as the 109th mayor of the nation’s largest city during a ceremony on the steps of City Hall, using a Bible once owned by another former president, and governor of New York, Franklin D. Roosevelt.
The de Blasio transition team said Saturday that former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton also will attend the January 1st ceremony. De Blasio managed her successful 2000 Senate campaign.
On Sunday, de Blasio announced he was picking Zachary Carter, a former U.S. attorney, to be the city’s top lawyer and pledged a clean break from some of the legal approaches of his predecessor’s administration.
“There will not be a piece of legislation or executive order or any major action that we take as a city government over the next four years that does not have the approval and support of the city’s top attorney” de Blasio said. “It’s one of the roles that touches literally every part of government and therefore the lives of every New Yorker.”
De Blasio signaled that Carter would immediately change direction from some of the positions held by the law department under Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The city will abandon its appeal of a ruling that the NYPD sometimes used the stop-question-and-frisk tactic unconstitutionally.
Carter was the first African-American to be named U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District when he was tapped by former President Bill Clinton in 1993.
“Throughout my career I tried to use the law to level the playing field for those seeking access and equal opportunity,” said Carter, who echoed many of de Blasio’s progressive campaign themes. “We have failed as a society when we don’t meet the needs of the least advantaged among us.”
During the six years he held the post, Carter oversaw high-profile prosecutions, including of those responsible for the death of Yankel Rosenbaum, Hy”d, during the 1991 Crown Heights riots. While a state court acquitted them of murder, Carter sought and received a federal conviction for violating the Australian scholar’s civil rights.
Carter was also involved in the prosecution of the police officers convicted of abusing Abner Louima in 1997. He has spent recent years in private practice.
His appointment was widely praised, even by Al Sharpton, who played a role in inciting the mob that killed Rosenbaum.
Though de Blasio takes office on Wednesday, several key posts remain open, including the heads of the Education and Fire Departments. He said Sunday some appointments would not be made for another several weeks. Current commissioners may be asked to remain until then.
De Blasio also fielded questions for the first time since his 19-year-old daughter Chiara released a video last week about her battles with depression and substance abuse.
The mayor-elect said he and his wife paid for the video but did not reveal when or why it was filmed. He also declined to answer whether his daughter’s struggles at any point made him reconsider his mayoral bid.