The appointment of Rudolph Giuliani’s chief of staff and primary Jewish liaison as head of Giuliani’s political action committee is a strong vote of confidence by the mayor in Bruce Tietelbaum.
“The fact that the mayor chose Bruce shows he has nothing but the highest level of confidence in him,” said Deputy Mayor Randy Levine, another member of Giuliani’s close inner circle. “Bruce has been a valued member of the mayor’s team for a long time.”
Teitelbaum, 35, will leave his $138,000 post to take the helm of Solutions America, which is raising money and cementing political connections on both the state and federal level for Giuliani’s future political ambitions.
“I regret leaving my position as chief of staff, but I’m excited about this new prospect,” Teitelbaum said Wednesday. “I look forward to helping the mayor for many years to come.”
Teitelbaum, 35, was a brash, young lawyer taking up the cause of the Crown Heights riot victims when he joined Giuliani’s second campaign for mayor in late 1992. Within a short time, he was a trusted member of the mayor’s inner circle. Teitelbaum was named deputy chief of staff under Randy Mastro in the first Giuliani administration and was promoted in 1996, when Mastro became a deputy mayor. Observers say Giuliani and Teitelbaum have similarly energetic personalities, accounting for their close relationship.
Speculation has been rife for months that Teitelbum, who has been traveling around the country on political trips with Giuliani, would be leaving City Hall, but it has been unclear where he was headed and under what circumstances.
One prominent member of the Jewish community with ties to City Hall, who declined to be identified for fear of harming that relationship, called Teitelbaum’s departure from office in order to do political work “puzzling,” noting that “historically mayoral chiefs of staff have done this kind of work, and it’s no stretch of the imagination that they can continue to do their job plus pursue the mayor’s political career.”
But others note that Giuliani is gearing up to be a contender in at least two and possibly three campaigns: for the U.S. Senate, or president in 2000, or governor in 2002. Thus, managing his political affairs requires considerable travel across the country, which would be largely impossible for a chief of staff.
“Running a political action committee is a full-time job,” said Levine.
No successor for the chief of staff position has been named. But the mayor’s communications director, Christyne Lategano, indicated that Teitelbaum would continue in his unofficial capacity as the primary conduit to the mayor for Jewish communities and organizations.
“Bruce will still be a phone call away,” said Lategano.
With Chuck Schumer’s political stock on the rise in New York these days, it’s fair to say that whoever the Democratic senator-elect endorses in February’s madhouse race for Rep.-elect Anthony Weiner’s open Council seat in Brooklyn will have the best chance.
At a fund-raiser on Sunday, Schumer came just short of endorsing Irma Kramer, currently a top aide in his Brooklyn congressional office, announcing that she “would make a great City Council member.” The official endorsement could come closer to the special election to succeed Weiner. In the race for Schumer’s seat, he waited until days before the Democratic primary to give Weiner his nod.
At least a half-dozen candidates are running in the non-partisan race. The winner gets to spend much of the next five years running for re-election, with a regular election in November 2001, followed by a redistricting-mandated race two years later.
# Usually seen boosting other politicians in the Orthodox community, Ezra Friedlander — a former aide to Public Advocate Mark Green — says he’s considering a run for Noach Dear’s Borough Park City Council seat, to be vacated in 2001.
# Bruce Bender, chief of staff to Council Speaker Peter Vallone, recently completed shiva for his father, Sidney, who passed away just days after his appointment to the Council’s top non-elected positions.
# Libby Hikind, candidate for City Council on Staten Island, has “temporarily” changed her voter registration from Democrat to Republican as a “personal protest against President Clinton’s behavior,” she says. Just a coincidence, perhaps, that Staten Island is a GOP stronghold, home of New York City’s only Republican congressman and borough president. It was also the only borough won last month by Republican Gov. George Pataki.
# Assembly member Mark Weprin (D-Bayside) is gearing up to run for the Queens/Westchester congressional seat of Rep. Nita Lowey if she runs for Senate in 2000, as expected.
# Defeated Sen. Al D’Amato’s office called to cancel his subscription to The Jewish Week recently, asking for a $17.50 refund on his account.