NYC Mayor Names New Sandy Recovery Leadership Team

By Genevieve Belmaker, Epoch Times
March 29, 2014 4:01 pm Last Updated: March 30, 2014 5:51 pm

NEW YORK—New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio named the top three of his administration’s Superstorm Sandy recovery leaders on Saturday.

Bill Goldstein, Amy Peterson, and Daniel Zarrilli will be in charge of shepherding $3.2 billion in federal resources to help city residents rebuild and repair their homes and make the city more resilient. Goldstein will be the head of the team in charge of the city’s overall Sandy recovery.

The mayor also announced several broad changes to the city’s recovery approach and promised a detailed report by April 11.

“We know how much still needs to be done,” said de Blasio before a standing-room-only group of reporters, faith and civic leaders, and politicians in the Children’s Room of a public library in the Rockaways.

The mayor was joined by U.S. Senator Charles Schumer and Congressman Gregory Meeks, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and Council Members Mark Treyger, Donovan Richards, and Carlos Menchaca. A number of area residents and civic activists outside of the library were not allowed inside, but begged Epoch Times to tell their side of the story.

“Tell them what we’ve been going through out here,” yelled one woman.

Going forward, the city’s Sandy recovery will be supervised by Bill Goldstein in his role as a senior advisor to the mayor for the city’s Recovery, Resiliency, and Infrastructure. Goldstein, who will oversee the city’s newly-created Office of Recovery and Resiliency, has worked as the executive vice president at MTA Capital Construction, where he helped oversee the implementation of the agency’s $16 billion mega-project program that includes the Fulton Street Transit Center, the extension of the No. 7 Line to the West Side, the Second Avenue Subway, and the East Side Access Project. He is also known for his recovery work after 9/11. He will report to First Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris.

“It’s an ambitious agenda, and I can’t wait to get started,” said Goldstein after the mayor announced his appointment.

Part of that agenda will include reallocating $100 million to areas that the administration felt needed more financial support, namely housing, via the city’s highly-criticized Build It Back program. Staff levels of the Housing Recovery Office will also increase by 35 percent to about 105 people. The final solution for those who need help will also be accelerated.

Build It Back previously divided applicants by three priority groups, according to income level and need, and has been focused largely on serving the first priority group. Under de Blasio’s plan, all three priority levels will be funded and helped at the same time, starting with those who have “lost everything,” according to the mayor. The city will also work to eliminate duplicate processes in the administration of the recovery process.

“For everyone—priority one, two and three—it’s been a nightmare,” said de Blasio. “You don’t have to make people do a minuet before they see a nickel.”

Under the leadership of Goldstein, the city’s new Sandy recovery leadership will work to change that. Amy Peterson, an experienced not-for-profit and public sector executive who worked on the city’s recovery after 9/11, will serve as director of the Housing Recovery Office. Since 2007, Peterson has been the president of Nontraditional Employment for Women, an organization that trains and places women in the skilled construction, utility, and maintenance trades.

Daniel Zarrilli will serve as Director of the Office of Recovery and Resiliency. Zarrilli helped create the city’s Special Initiative for Rebuilding and Resiliency plan under Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

“I know that Bill Goldstein, Amy Peterson, and Daniel Zarrilli have the experience to get families critical relief and ensure a stronger and more resilient New York,” said de Blasio of the team.