Mayor de Blasio has tapped Lorraine Grillo, the longtime head of the School Construction Authority, as the Senior Advisor for Recovery responsible for overseeing the city’s rebound from the coronavirus pandemic.
As “Recovery Czar,” she will coordinate with city agencies, non-profits and the private sector to enact the Mayor’s “Recovery For All” agenda, which seeks to restore jobs, revitalize small businesses, reduce homelessness and vaccinate 5 million New Yorkers by June. She will also work alongside the city’s Taskforce on Racial Inclusion and Equity to ensure that the recovery efforts will reach the communities hit hardest by COVID.
Vows 'Greatest Recovery'
“I want you to know that this is my city, I was born and raised here, I sent my kids to New York City public schools, and I’ll be damned if we don’t have the greatest, strongest, fairest recovery you’ve ever seen,” Ms. Grillo said.
The Mayor cited her “can-do” spirit as the reason she was perfect for the role.
“I’m convinced that [she] will help us supercharge this recovery, put it into high gear and keep it going every single day,” he said during a Feb. 22 press conference.
Ms. Grillo joined the School Construction Authority in 1994 and became its CEO and President in 2010. Mr. de Blasio praised her for her leadership in launching the city’s universal pre-kindergarten program at 35 sites, and particularly for work in reopening 71 schools damaged by Hurricane Sandy in 2012
“This isn’t the first crisis I’ve ever seen…when Hurricane Sandy hit, I got to rebuilding our schools. It was tough work: some days I would stand back and look at the overwhelming devastation, but we never gave up,” she said.
CSA: Calm, Steady Hand
Council of School Supervisors and Administrators President Mark Cannizzaro said that Ms. Grillo has led the SCA with “a calm and steady hand.”
“Our city’s school leaders have long admired her dedication and talent, and CSA fully agrees that she possesses the necessary leadership skills and experience to coordinate the city’s critical recovery agenda,” he said.
To help accommodate schools facing overcrowding, Ms. Grillo’s team over the past decade built 80,000 seats for K-12 students, as well as 4,000 pre-K seats.
“Lorraine’s honest and meticulous approach to her work, and the determination, drive, and passion she brings to every project or job she’s tasked with is what New York City needs to recover from this economic crisis,” said Gary LaBarbera, president of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York. “We look forward to closely partnering with Lorraine as we work towards lifting our great city out from the many challenges and hardships created by the pandemic.”
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