On Sunday Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio made his most important minority appointment to date, naming former federal prosecutor Zachary Carter, a black man, to be his corporation counsel. Will that quell concerns about the diversity of the incoming administration?
Last week, the National Institute for Latino Policy’s Angelo Falcón—an irascible and astute observer of city politics—sent a letter raising concerns about the “marginal” appointments of Latinos to the incoming administration. Falcón, who had earlier complained about the relatively light representation of Latinos on de Blasio’s sixty-member transition team, was not satisfied with the appointment of Lilliam Barrios-Paoli to be the new deputy mayor for health and human services or of Gladys Carrión to run the Administration for Children’s Services.
Over the weekend, LatinoJustice Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund president and general counsel Juan Cartagena praised both those appointments as milestones for Latinos, then added: “But more than two Hispanic appointments from among 80 positions under mayoral control is needed. There is much to work with in the Latino community, a community with a lot of talent. So the new mayor cannot now rest in addressing the future of the city—a Latino future is in his hands.” Meanwhile, Brooklyn Councilman Charles Barron had complained prior to the Carter selection,”Only Whites and Latinas have been selected [thus far]. Some from the Giuliani administration and Goldman-Sachs. So much for progressive!”
Carter was de Blasio’s ninth appointment. He was the first black person named to a post by the incoming mayor. In addition to the Latinas Barrios-Paoli and Carrión, de Blasio has also named Bill Bratton to head the police department, Anthony Shorris as his first deputy mayor, Emma Wolfe as director of intergovernmental affairs, Dean Fuleihan as budget director, Alicia Glen as deputy mayor for housing and economic development and Laura Santucci as his chief of staff; all are white.