- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 1, 2002

From combined dispatches
NEW YORK Michael Bloomberg was sworn in yesterday as the new mayor of America's largest city, taking over from fellow Republican Rudolph W. Giuliani.
After the ceremony, Mr. Bloomberg a self-made financial mogul with a fortune estimated at $4 billion said he must "perform and work harder than I ever have before in my life for the next four years."
Yesterday's private swearing-in ceremony was the first of three inaugural events for Mr. Bloomberg, 59, who took office a minute after midnight this morning and will be sworn in again at a public ceremony outside City Hall today.
After taking the oath yesterday, Mr. Bloomberg, who spent $69 million of his own money to fund his first foray into politics, handed the city clerk 15 pennies in payment of a registration fee that dates back to 1898 and has never been raised.
"This is 15 pennies, and the reason I did this is because progress is really just a series of small steps. And we have a long ways to go in this city, but we're going to go a little ways every day, and these 15 pennies symbolize that," he said.
The new mayor takes over from Mr. Giuliani, widely credited with rescuing New York from years of crime and decline during his eight years in office.
Term limits prevented a third term for Mr. Giuliani, whose response to the September 11 terrorist attacks boosted him to new heights of popularity.
Mr. Bloomberg, a Harvard Business School graduate, confronts the continuing cost of cleaning up the World Trade Center site and redeveloping Lower Manhattan during a period of plunging tax revenues, rapidly rising unemployment and a sharp drop in tourism.
A report issued in mid-December by a top New York budget official found the city's economy could decline by 3.1 percent in the coming year, while another report warned the city will face a budget gap of $4.7 billion during the coming fiscal year.
Noting that crime was the biggest challenge that faced the Giuliani administration, Mr. Bloomberg told the New York Times: "My biggest problems are going to be education and the deficit, along with the problems from the economy and the World Trade Center terrorism. It's just going to be a different measure."
A Massachusetts native, Mr. Bloomberg joined Salomon Brothers in 1966 and became a partner in 1972. He got a $10 million severance package when the company was bought out in 1981, making him a millionaire before he was 40.
He then built his own firm, specializing in financial information services, with more than 8,000 employees.
Although a lifelong Democrat, Mr. Bloomberg switched to the Republican Party for last year's mayoral election. His campaign slogan declared him "a leader, not a politician."
Mr. Bloomberg scored a surprising defeat of Democrat Mark Green in a city where Democrats outnumber Republicans 5-to-1. Some political observers say he owed his victory to a late endorsement from Mr. Giuliani.
Yesterday, Mr. Giuliani announced he would sign an agreement with Ernst & Young LLP to create Giuliani Partners, a firm that will consult distressed businesses and government agencies.
"We're in the midst of celebrating" the agreement, Mr. Giuliani said at his final City Hall news conference. "We'll celebrate it right now and we'll celebrate right after I swear in Mike [Bloomberg] as the next mayor of New York City and I'm a free man."


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