11 months into NYC's COVID-19 outbreak, and with indoor-dining-capacity slowly expanding, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio has finally appointed a so-called COVID "recovery czar" following months of criticism of his leadership of the city's public health resources.
The mayor's pick is Lorraine Grillo, who will lead a newly-constituted, weekly “war room” that spans across government leaders, agencies, business leaders and nonprofits in the city.
Input from all corners will reportedly be applied.
A recovery for all means rebuilding a better, fairer city for everyone. That will take constant leadership, coordination, and organizations within every single City agency.— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) February 22, 2021
Lorraine Grillo will make it happen. I’m naming her as the first Recovery Czar for New York City. pic.twitter.com/PJWZ9p5YRW
De Blasio made the announcement on Monday morning.
By way of an excuse for the delay, the mayor said the city had been overwhelmingly focused on “the emergency reality of turning this city around and the battle of Covid,” de Blasio said during a Monday press briefing.
“Now, to bring all these strands together, we decided a czar could really make this thing go into the next gear.”
Grillo is an experienced bureaucrat and already holds 2 key construction-related appointments. She's the president of the New York City School Construction Authority, where she started working in city government nearly three decades ago. Her record of steady leadership offers a notable contrast to the sometimes erratic management strategy of the De Blasio Administration. She most famously oversaw the post-Sandy rebuilding effort and said she wanted to bring those lessons to help rebuild the city after COVID.
Her official title will be "Senior Advisor for Recovery" and she will be charged with coordinating across city government to “supercharge Mayor de Blasio’s recovery agenda,” the mayor added in a statement.
During the briefing, she promised to “cut through the noise and get things done,” adding, “I’ll be damned if we don’t lead the greatest, strongest, fairest recovery you’ve ever seen.”
Fortunately, cases, deaths and hospitalizations are already falling sharply across the city.