City now has a ‘recovery czar’

February 24, 2021 Editorial Staff
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Lorraine Grill has headed School Construction Authority since 2010

As New York City begins to recover from the coronavirus, the city now has a new “recovery czar” — Lorraine Grillo, the city’s longtime commissioner of the Department of Design and Construction and CEO of the New York City School Construction Authority.

Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday appointed Grillo to her new post, officially titled the city’s senior advisor for recovery, effective immediately.

“New York City was hit with an unprecedented health care and economic crisis. Together, we’re taking unprecedented steps to drive a recovery for all of us,” said Mayor de Blasio. “As New York City’s first-ever recovery czar, Lorraine will cut through bureaucracy, coordinate across all agencies, and reach out to non-profit and private partners to make sure our recovery is felt in every borough, every neighborhood and every block.”

In this new position, Grillo will coordinate across government agencies, nonprofits and the private sector to ensure everyone is working together for New York City’s recovery. Grillo will also build on her work championing minority-and women-owned businesses (MWBE) and push for economic justice across all recovery efforts.

Grillo will work directly with Mayor de Blasio to lead a “recovery war room” that will convene leaders across government for regular progress on recovery efforts.

Officials with ties to Brooklyn praised her appointment.

“Lorraine Grillo is one of the most qualified, competent public servants in our city. I look forward to working with her to ensure that all neighborhoods of New York, including the outer boroughs, receive the attention they need to fully recover,” said City Councilmember Mark Treyger (D-Coney Island-Gravesend-Bensonhurst).

“The appointment of Lorraine Grillo as recovery czar for New York City is a critical step toward rebuilding our economy and getting the five boroughs back on track,” said Carlo Scissura, president and CEO of the New York Building Congress and a former president of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce.–>

“Having worked with Lorraine for the past 20 years and given her tremendous record of success, I can think of no better choice for this important role – her strength, tenacity and expertise will be invaluable to the resurgence of our city. The New York Building Congress and its members are committed to assisting in this recovery and helping get New York City open and ready for business in the months ahead,” Scissura said.

“I build things. That’s what I do. And together, we are going to build a recovery that lifts up every New Yorker,” said Grillo. “Every job I’ve had serving the people of New York City, from responding to Hurricane Sandy to expanding universal Pre-K, has required an intense coordination across different agencies, companies and non-profits. That’s the same aggressive approach I’m going to take to lead a recovery for all of us.”

Grillo has served at the School Construction Authority since 1994 and has been its president since 2010.

“We are leading an economic recovery that involves everything from vaccine distribution to reopening schools to attracting new jobs,” said Deputy Mayor of Housing and Economic Development Vicki Been. “With Lorraine serving as our Recovery Czar, this effort on all fronts will have a dedicated, centralized leader to make sure we’re leveraging every last bit of effort to bring our city back fairer and stronger than ever before.”

“Lorraine Grillo has a long and distinguished track record as a public servant dedicated to improving the lives of New Yorkers. I look forward to working with Lorraine to ensure our city comes back from this pandemic as quickly and equitably as possible. We are at a pivotal moment in our city’s history and we must get this recovery right,” said City Council Speaker Corey Johnson.

As head of the School Construction Authority, Grillo has built over 80,000 K-12 school seats and over 9,000 universal Pre-K seats. Grillo has coordinated almost 4,000 capital improvement projects in New York City buildings and has managed a total of $28 billion in budgets. She has led the SCA in its effort to find new and innovative ways to address school overcrowding, including developing public/private partnerships with major developers.

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