De Blasio’s wife wants office, role at City Hall
By Beth DeFalco and Yoav Gonen
January 18, 2014 | 1:06am
INFLUENCE: Chirlane McCray, here at her inaguration ceremony Jan. 1, is looking to play a policy-setting role at City Hall.
Mayor de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray, wants her own office inside City Hall — and to play a hands-on, policy-setting role in her husband’s administration, sources told The Post.
Officials have been scouting space for New York City’s new first lady, who described herself as a “sounding board and partner” to her husband during his campaign and transition to mayor, a source said.
And the administration has been working on a portfolio of issues for McCray to tackle, another source said.
McCray would also like a staff — and her top pick to head it up is Rachel Noerdlinger, a longtime spokeswoman and confidant for the Rev. Al Sharpton, NY1 reported Friday.
Noerdlinger, who lives in New Jersey with her teenage son, did not respond to requests for comment on the possible chief of staff gig.
Sharpton danced around the issue Friday.
“Whatever Rachel does, I will support her,” he told The Post, declining to elaborate.
Administration officials declined to comment on Noerdlinger and said no final decisions have been made on whether McCray will get the coveted City Hall office space.
McCray is primed, sources said, to be the city’s most involved first lady in decades.
She has rarely left de Blasio’s side since he won the election on Nov. 5, and the mayor makes reference to her — often in unabashedly loving terms — at every public appearance.
It’s no secret de Blasio wants McCray, to whom he has been married for 19 years, to have an advisory role. He curiously noted her absence at a press conference Thursday, indicating she may have been an important factor behind two administrative appointments.
“My wife could not be here,” de Blasio said, “but I will express her deep enthusiasm about the appointments today.”
If McCray does score an office and staffers, she will be the first New York mayor’s wife to have City Hall perks.
The wife of Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Donna Hanover, had office space in Gracie Mansion but focused on charity and social issues and was not involved in setting policy.
Hanover had a staff of four — including an administrative manager, press secretary, public-affairs coordinator and chief of staff — at an annual cost to taxpayers of $300,000.
Hanover lost those perks when she and Giuliani split up.
McCray, 59, has worked as a speechwriter for a number of elected officials, including former Mayor David Dinkins, for whom de Blasio worked as a City Hall aide.
She also worked in public relations at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn and briefly held a similar role at Citigroup.
Meanwhile, voters don’t seem to share mayor’s enthusiasm about his wife’s role.
A new Quinnipiac poll revealed that just 27 percent of voters think the mayor’s wife should have a major part in shaping public policy.
McCray is scheduled to participate in a public discussion on immigration policies and their impact on black Americans at a forum in Brooklyn next week.