NYC Mayor Creates Covid ‘Recovery Czar’ 11 Months Into Crisis

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New York Mayor Bill de Blasio appointed a “recovery czar” to lead the city’s revival, nearly a year after its first Covid-19 cases shut down the economy.

Lorraine Grillo becomes a senior adviser to de Blasio, leading what the mayor called a newly-constituted, weekly “war room” that spans across government leaders, agencies, business leaders and nonprofits.

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 briefing. “Now, to bring all these strands together, we decided a czar could really make this thing go into the next gear.”

De Blasio has been criticized by business leaders for spurning offers of help from everything from vaccinations to recovery efforts. A letter signed by more than 150 business leaders last September pressed on de Blasio to take more decisive action on public safety and other quality of life issues that jeopardize economic recovery.

Grillo is president of the New York City School Construction Authority, where she started working in city government nearly three decades ago. She oversaw the schools rebuilding effort after Hurricane Sandy and said she wanted to bring those lessons to rebuild the city after Covid, “cut through the noise and get things done,” she said during the briefing.

Grillo will transition away from her current role. 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,” de Blasio said in a statement.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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