Eric Adams Names 5 Women to Top City Hall Posts

Mark A. Carlson

Mayor-elect Eric Adams filled six key posts in his administration on Monday, appointing five women as deputy mayors and naming a departing City Council member from Upper Manhattan as New York City’s next transportation commissioner.

The women chosen by Mr. Adams have substantial leadership experience in both city government and the nonprofit sector, with several having worked in Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration.

“This is going to be my core leadership,” Mr. Adams said at a news conference at Borough Hall in Brooklyn where he introduced the appointees. “And they are going to ensure that we move our city in the right direction.”

The women joining the upper echelon of Mr. Adams’s administration are: Lorraine Grillo as his top deputy mayor; Meera Joshi as deputy mayor for operations; Maria Torres-Springer as deputy mayor for economic development; Anne Williams-Isom as deputy mayor for health and human services; and Sheena Wright as deputy mayor for strategic operations.

The appointments followed Mr. Adams’s announcement last week that Keechant Sewell was his choice for police commissioner, making her the first woman to lead the Police Department.

Ms. Grillo, a veteran government official, is currently a senior adviser to Mr. de Blasio focused on the city’s pandemic-recovery efforts.

Ms. Joshi, a former leader of the Taxi and Limousine Commission, is now deputy administrator at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration; Ms. Torres-Springer is vice president for U.S. Programs at the Ford Foundation; Ms. Williams-Isom is the James R. Dumpson Chair of Child Welfare Studies at Fordham University’s Graduate School of Social Services; and Ms. Wright is the president and chief executive of United Way of New York.

“We will work really hard together to implement Mayor-elect Adams’s agenda,” Ms. Grillo said at the news conference, referring to herself and the other appointees.

Underscoring the significance of the appointments was the presence at the announcement event of several notable women who have held public office in New York, including Ruth Messinger, a former Manhattan borough president, and Christine Quinn, the city’s first female City Council speaker. (Both ran unsuccessful mayoral campaigns.)

“Somebody’s going to ask, ‘Isn’t this pandering?’ Really?” Ms. Quinn said. “All he did was go out and find the best, the brightest, the most fun and the hardest working. Where do you look? You look for the women.”

Ms. Wright is a close ally of Mr. Adams’s who is helping to lead his transition team. Her partner, David Banks, the city’s incoming schools chancellor, was Mr. Adams’s first major appointment.

The Manhattan council member who will lead the Transportation Department, Ydanis Rodriguez, is another trusted ally of Mr. Adams’s and was among the next mayor’s strongest supporters during the Democratic primary.

Mr. Rodriguez will face major challenges in his new role. Traffic deaths in the city have soared to their highest level since 2013 during the pandemic, propelled by surges in speeding and reckless driving. Two hundred and sixty-one people had been killed on the streets this year through Sunday, including 117 pedestrians and 18 cyclists. (There were 282 deaths in the comparable period in 2013.)

Although city officials have expanded the use of automated speed cameras and have increased the number of bike lanes, some transit advocates have criticized Mr. de Blasio for not moving aggressively enough to make the streets safer. Officials have also struggled with an increase in traffic congestion that has slowed public buses. There has also been a surge in delivery trucks thanks to an uptick in online shopping.

Danny Pearlstein, a spokesman for Riders Alliance, a grass-roots organization of transit riders, said that Mr. Rodriguez, as chairman of the City Council’s Transportation Committee, was often considered an ally by the group’s members.

“He’s a long time champion of safer, fairer streets that will work better for all New Yorkers,” Mr. Pearlstein said. “His first big challenge will be speeding up bus service for riders who had no part in creating the gridlock that they’re stuck in.”

Mr. Adams also announced that Aloysee Heredia Jarmoszuk will stay on in her role leading the Taxi and Limousine Commission.

Reflecting on Mr. Adams’s choices for deputy mayor, Christina Greer, an associate professor of political science at Fordham University, said that women are “collaborative thinkers” who would help Mr. Adams grapple with difficult challenges such as whether to rethink his decision to reinstitute solitary confinement in the city’s jails.

“Anytime you have a diverse set of individuals in a room you get different results when you are trying to think through a problem,” Professor Greer said.

Mr. Adams expressed that sentiment in a more direct way on Monday.

“Anyone that knows me you know I’m a mama’s boy, and I was raised by women,” he said at the news conference. “No one is going to fight harder for the people of this city; the nurturing, energy, the compassion, the caring. Who they are is what we all can become in this city.”

Winnie Hu contributed reporting.

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