As we expectantly follow the current transition in municipal government, we found these gems on the transition to John V. Lindsay’s first term in office in our archives. Lindsay (left), who was elected November 2, 1965, nominated the people who would implement his housing policy just days before taking office on January 1, 1966.
On December 17, 1965 a press release from The Office of Mayor-elect John V. Lyndsay announced the nomination of 31-year-old attorney Charles G. Moerdler as Commissioner of Buildings. According to the release Moerdler had been “the principal author of a white paper on housing code enforcement and slum prevention issued by the Lindsay forces during the mayoral campaign.” The press release continues:
“In announcing Moerdler’s designation today, Mayor-elect Lindsay revealed that he has asked the new commissioner to start an investigation, ‘as soon as possible, in cooperation with other appropriate agencies, into repeated charges of corruption in the Buildings Dept.’”
The Mayor-elect also directed Moerdler to:
“Formulate forthwrith specific programs aimed at assuring that housing violations are promptly detected, reported and corrected, that slumlords who fail to act immediately to correct dangerous conditions are swiftly and effectively brought to justice and that the blight of slums is brought to a halt.”
Mr. Lindsay added:
“One of the primer goals of my administration will be to assure that every man, woman and child in New York City lives in decent housing.”
Ten days later, on December 27, the Mayor-elect issued another press release announcing the nomination of Democratic State Senator Frederic S. Berman as City and Rent Rehabilitation Commissioner. On December 29 Lindsay nominated Royal S. Radin as Commissioner of Relocation. The press release quotes Radin as saying:
“I intend to encourage the use of every appropriate tool of social service and education to assist relocated persons to upgrade themselves, their families and their environment… I am equally determined … to do everything possible to promote new legislation which will assist families and small shop owners who may be adversely affected by urban renewal and other public improvements.”
As the new administration assembled its team, officials in the outgoing administration sought new opportunities. Pauline H. Rogers, Special Assistant to the Commissioner of Real Estate, started a letter dated January 26, 1966 as follows: “With present uncertainties in municipal employment I have decided to canvass my friends and former associates concerning possible opportunities elsewhere.” The letter was addressed to CHPC Executive Director Roger Starr and with it is enclosed “a copy of my resume for whatever use you wish to make of it.” You can read the full letter here.