Let's get the niceties out of the way first: the furniture at City Hall
is going to take a beating. Mike Bloomberg is a guy who always puts
his feet up on his desk or the nearest coffee table, and that's just what
he was doing in his campaign office the day after the election, propping
up his black tasseled loafers while returning calls from longtime pals and
new best friends.
New Yorkers woke up to the giddy unreality of a new mayor last week,
and attention immediately shifted from attack ads and exit polls to how
Bloomberg and his quirky personal and management styles -- the billionaire
doesn't believe in job titles and insists on working trading-desk-fashion
in the midst of his employees -- will translate into the daily reality
of running city government. As Kathleen Cudahy, the tough-talking lawyer
who left City Council Speaker Peter Vallone's staff to work on Bloomberg's
campaign, jokes, "Mike believes in the no-door policy."
While Mark Green overconfidently began planning for his transition
several weeks ago, the Bloomberg team adamantly refused to even discuss
privately the post-election landscape for fear of jinxing the candidate's
prospects. "Today is day one for us," says Jonathan Capehart, a Bloomberg
policy wonk and speechwriter who was previously a Daily News columnist.
"We were really superstitious; no one wanted to talk about it before."
That changed fast. "When I got back to headquarters at 2:30 a.m. on
Election Night, my phone was already ringing," says Harold Doley III,
an investment banker who took a leave of absence to work on the campaign.
"The résumés are rolling in."
The first rumor that circulated even before Election Night had ended
was that Bloomberg would keep most of the Giuliani team on. But on his
first day as mayor-elect, Bloomberg annoyed diehard Rudyphiles by blithely
announcing he may not keep any of Giuliani's top advisers. Based
on his history as a CEO, it is more likely that Bloomberg's top picks
will come from within his company, his campaign, and his prominent social
It's hard to believe that anyone could be more obsessed with loyalty
than Rudy Giuliani, but Mike Bloomberg built his entire financial-data
and media empire by handsomely rewarding devotion -- he rarely fires anyone
-- and viewing anyone who quits as a deserter, unworthy of ever being
So who can we expect to see in City Hall in two months? For starters,
there's Patti Harris and Kevin Sheekey. These two trusted campaign advisers
-- the pair he thanked in his Election Night speech -- are veteran Democrats
who deliberately attracted minimal personal attention, making them the
most important political players in New York you've never heard of. Harris,
the well-connected, graciously steely former Koch arts-staff member who
disburses Bloomberg's charitable millions, has been the office perfectionist
who carefully guards his image, from lining up meetings to working debate
prep to even approving brochure photos. Sheekey, the boyishly smooth former
Moynihan strategist hired by Bloomberg several years ago to introduce
him around Washington, was nicknamed "the invisible man" by campaign staff
for his role as the candidate's quiet, ever-present shadow on the hustings.
"Kevin and Patti were Mike's eyes and ears," says Capehart. "Nothing
happened on the campaign without them signing off." Now Harris is rumored
to be in line for a deputy mayor's job, and Sheekey is likely to get an
equally prominent post.
Bloomberg will also be drawing from one of the largest collections of
business cards in the city. Sure, he's been paying his respects to Hispanic
and African-American business leaders and politicians to create a winning
coalition, and he'll make a point of putting together an unusually diverse
staff for a nominal Republican. And despite the three sexual harassment
lawsuits filed against Bloomberg and his company, the fact is that his
inner campaign circle was populated with veteran women pols like Harris,
Cudahy, and Maureen Connolly, a former Koch aide, and some of them will
join him at City Hall. But what sets him apart -- and it's one of the
main reasons many voted for him -- is the breadth of his contacts in the
traditionally white and male New York business elites.