Ousted OEM commissioner sorry for defying deputy mayor

Joseph Esposito, the outgoing emergency management commissioner, reflected on Wednesday about how he responded after Deputy Mayor Laura Anglin fired him last week.

"I'm an Italian kid from Brooklyn—I talk with my hands, I get a little loud sometimes, and I want to apologize to her publicly," he said. "I don't feel my conduct was 100 percent on the money on Friday. I apologize."

Esposito showed up to work on Monday reportedly because he believed that only the mayor can fire him. But on Wednesday, he acknowledged that Anglin is his boss and had the authority to cut him loose.

Many City Council members and others understood Esposito's emotion. He was blindsided by the firing.  Rumors started flying that he was Mayor Bill de Blasio's scapegoat for the snowstorm last month that paralyzed the city.

But the mayor on Tuesday said he had approved a change of leadership at OEM weeks ago because he wants the department to become more strategic. He also admitted the way in which Esposito was fired—through Anglin—was inappropriate.

"In retrospect, understanding and appreciating how long Joe has served this city, I think I should have said, 'Wait a minute,'" de Blasio said. "Even though it is perfectly appropriate for a deputy mayor to have the conversation, it would have been better for me to have it up front."

Some City Council members showed their support of Esposito by sending a letter to the mayor. The commissioner said he is humbled by the support from the elected officials and members of the community.

After 50 years of public service with the NYPD and OEM, Esposito will stay on as commissioner while de Blasio's administration conducts a national search to replace him.

"I serve at his discretion. He tells me tomorrow is my last day, then I'm out," Esposito said. "I give him a hug and thank him for the last four and a half years."

De Blasio said he is talking to Esposito about possibly serving in a different role within the administration.