Quoted entirely from The New York Times.
(David W. Chen contributed reporting.)
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg so prizes stability and loyalty that he discouraged goodbye parties for employees of his media company, writing in his memoir that he could barely bring himself to wish departing workers good luck. “Why should I?” he asked.
Now he finds himself, however reluctantly, bidding farewell to his closest advisers at City Hall, who are leaving for lucrative jobs in the private sector.
In the process, they are forcing Mr. Bloomberg to remake an inner circle that has remained remarkably consistent, and free of drama, over the last eight years.
On Tuesday, Deputy Mayor Edward Skyler, who manages the city’s Police, Fire and Transportation Departments and the Office of Labor Relations, and who is arguably Mr. Bloomberg’s most powerful aide, said he would take a job at Citigroup in May.
Joining him in the exodus: Deputy Mayor Kevin Sheekey, the mayor’s political guru and chief of government relations, who will soon leave City Hall for a position at the mayor’s company, Bloomberg L.P., and James Anderson, Mr. Bloomberg’s communications director, who took a job with the mayor’s charitable foundation.
After Mr. Bloomberg’s improbable victory in the 2001 mayor’s race, both Mr. Skyler and Mr. Sheekey followed him from his company to City Hall. Since then, they have been a part of an enormously influential coterie of advisers.
They have advised him on everything, like his short-lived flirtation with a presidential run (spearheaded by Mr. Sheekey), the revamping of the city’s Buildings Department (a project run by Mr. Skyler) after several crane collapses and his decision to seek a third term as mayor (both advised him not to).
“They have been with the mayor the longest, and they are totally loyal to him,” said William T. Cunningham, who was communications director during the mayor’s first term.
But the changes inside Bloomberg Land do not end there. Since he decided to seek a third term last fall, Mr. Bloomberg has announced the departure of 15 high-level aides, most of them agency commissioners. It is a level of turnover without precedent during his time in office.
“He’s had a very stable crew,” said Andrew White, the director of the Center for New York City Affairs at the New School. “It was actually surprising to a number of people that there was so little change after the last election.”
Aides to the mayor said he was both fulfilling a campaign pledge to shake up his administration during his third term and allowing long-serving advisers to begin new careers outside of government, with his blessing.
That was the case with Mr. Skyler, who will become an executive vice president at Citigroup, overseeing the firm’s relationships with reporters, investors and government agencies.
Mr. Skyler, 36, is the city’s youngest deputy mayor, but he shoulders the greatest responsibilities, managing highly visible operations — like the efficiency of ambulance response times and trash pickups — by which most New Yorkers measure the effectiveness of their government.
A lanky former Ivy League fencer who grew up on the Upper East Side, he found himself at the center of grueling debates about how to identify human remains found at ground zero years after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and how to handle the cleanup of the steam pipe explosion near Grand Central Terminal in 2007.
Mitchell L. Moss, an informal adviser to Mr. Bloomberg and a professor at New York University, called it “an exhausting job.”During a news conference in the Bronx on Tuesday, Mr. Bloomberg described Mr. Skyler as a “a phenomenally competent guy” who “did a masterful job for the city.” He added that he wished Mr. Skyler would remain at City Hall. “He’s got his life to lead, and he’s got to make his decisions, and he’s done that.”
Mr. Skyler is unlikely to move out of Mr. Bloomberg’s orbit entirely: the mayor’s companion, Diana L. Taylor, is a member of the Citigroup board of directors, which interacts regularly with the firm’s top managers.
Citigroup appeared intent on wooing an experienced New York figure for the job. Before Mr. Skyler began his job search, the bank had discussed the position with Mr. Sheekey; Howard Wolfson, the former communications director for Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential campaign and Mr. Bloomberg’s re-election bid; and Gary Ginsberg, the former chief of investor relations and corporate communications for News Corporation, the owner of the Fox News Channel and The New York Post, according to people told of the discussions. A spokesman for Citigroup declined to comment on other candidates for the job.
Citigroup said government affairs would be part of Mr. Skyler’s portfolio. The bank’s primary lobbying efforts are aimed at the federal government, which gave the company billions of dollars in bailout money during the financial crisis. Mr. Skyler is prohibited from lobbying city government for the next year.
Mr. Bloomberg did not announce an immediate replacement for Mr. Skyler, but aides said a broad search would reach beyond City Hall. In an interview on Tuesday afternoon, Mr. Skyler said, “I think I was just ready to do something new, and I think that’s healthy.”