Gale Brewer Sworn In as Manhattan Borough President
By Dana Varinsky on January 12, 2014 8:43pm
MIDTOWN — Former City Councilwoman Gale Brewer, who for 12 years represented the Upper West Side and won consecutive terms in landslide elections, was sworn in Sunday as Manhattan's 27th borough president.
Brewer's inauguration took place before hundreds at the Hammerstein Ballroom, and she used the occasion to announce the appointment of two deputy borough presidents, rather than the typical one.
"I'm breaking tradition today," she said, after a warm introduction from Mayor Bill de Blasio. "As de Blasio said, I love to do that."
Brewer introduced Aldrin Rafael Bonilla as the new deputy borough president for community and borough operations. Bonilla previously served as executive director of CUNY in the Heights, which is part of the Hostos Division of Continuing Education and Workforce Development. Brewer also announced that Joseph Garba, who was previously the director of state legislative affairs under Mayor Michael Bloomberg, would serve as the new deputy borough president for policy and budget.
Brewer vowed to work on expanding free wi-fi, creating more high-quality middle school seats, ensuring schools can provide art education and getting neighborhood residents involved in local zoning and development decisions.
"We're done with the campaign, thank God. And now comes the part that i like best: governing," Brewer said.
"So If you supported me because of who I am, and what I stood for and accomplished, you will get nothing less from me as borough president. I will continue to have an accessible office, an experienced and dedicated staff, a strong commitment to transparency and accountability, and a dedication to a city government that works from the ground up."
Prior to her election as borough president, Brewer served on the City Council representing the 6th district, which includes most of the Upper West Side and the northernmost part of Clinton.
Mayor Bill de Blasio introduced Brewer, praising her work in City Council and her commitment to reform, transparency and progressive values.
"From time to time I find the phrase 'force of nature' appropriate to define someone, and Gale Brewer rises to that level," de Blasio said, citing the amount of reading material she brings home each night, the number of interns she takes in, and the ten-page emails she is known for sending.
"People on the Upper West Side have gotten used to the notion that this is what their council members should do, this is what their leaders should do. Well now people all over Manhattan are going to see it," he said.
De Blasio also noted Brewer's lack of filter, a statement she proved with a joke about the George Washington Bridge traffic scandal.
"I want you all to know that I plan to use my power as borough president wisely. There is no truth to the rumors that I am closing lanes at the Holland and Lincoln tunnels," she said.
Brewer will serve a four-year term as borough president, replacing Scott Stringer, the city's new Comptroller. She concluded her remarks with a call to action.
"Let's get to work," she said.