On February 5, Mayor Bill de Blasio appointed Kathryn Garcia as Interim Chair of NYCHA, succeeding Stanley Brezenoff, who will depart later this month. Under Interim Chair Brezenoff’s leadership, the Authority launched a comprehensive plan to deliver $24 billion in vital repairs for 175,000 residents, achieved a historic contract agreement with Teamsters Local 237 that provides seven-day service to residents, launched weekend work order blitzes to eliminate NYCHA’s repair backlog, and significantly improved heating response times.
Ms. Garcia is a seasoned veteran tested at some of the most complex roles in City government. She has extensive experience in managing and reforming large, complex agencies. As Interim Chair, Ms. Garcia will work closely with General Manager Vito Mustaciuolo to reverse decades of disinvestment in public housing and implement the City’s agreement with the federal government.
“Throughout his storied career in City government, Stan has never been one to back away from a challenge – and his time at NYCHA was no different,” said Mayor de Blasio. “In less than a year, he secured a landmark labor deal, overhauled the agency’s heating response times, and developed the plan to deliver major renovations that NYCHA residents deserve. On behalf of all New Yorkers, I thank Stan not only for his decades of service to the City, but for leaving NYCHA much stronger than he found it. There is no better person to continue our turnaround effort at NYCHA than Kathryn. She is a battle-tested leader who has taken on sprawling challenges, from eradicating lead exposure to overhauling the broken commercial carting industry. She is ready to fight every day for the 400,000 New Yorkers who call NYCHA home.”
“This is one of the toughest and most rewarding jobs in America,” said Interim Chair and CEO Stanley Brezenoff. “I will leave this interim role knowing that we are putting NYCHA in very capable hands. I am confident that Commissioner Garcia is the right person to continue our efforts to improve the quality of life for residents and preserve public housing for generations to come.”
“I am going to work every single day to make life better for the 400,000 New Yorkers who call NYCHA home,” said incoming Interim Chair and CEO Kathryn Garcia. “There’s been real progress – now it’s time to go farther and faster. We have a plan to renovate tens of thousands of apartments and an agreement with the federal government to improve all of our key services to residents. I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and put these plans into action.”
Ms. Garcia will serve as Interim Chair while the City begins the process of selecting a permanent head of the Authority. She is a world-class manager who has a proven record of cutting through red tape and putting people before bureaucracies. She spearheaded the development and launch of Lead Free NYC, the City’s comprehensive plan to eradicate childhood lead exposure. In her role as Commissioner of the NYC Department of Sanitation (DSNY), Ms. Garcia implemented strategies to reach the City’s Zero Waste goal as well as several brand-new programs, including organics and curbside electronic waste collection. She was responsible for overhauling the City’s snow-clearing operations by changing the prioritization of plow routes, which has greatly increased DSNY’s efficiency and productivity during storms. Most recently, she developed a plan to overhaul private commercial carting that will reduce air pollution, asthma, and traffic fatalities in low-income communities across New York City that have borne an unequal share of the city’s waste.
Before her appointment in 2014 as DSNY Commissioner, Ms. Garcia was Chief Operating Officer at the NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), where she oversaw agency operations, including the delivery of one billion gallons of safe, clean drinking water to nine million New Yorkers in the city and upstate New York every day. She worked very closely with DEP’s federal monitor to help bring the agency into federal compliance and oversaw watershed and in-city water quality labs that conduct more than 600,000 analyses of the city’s drinking water every year to ensure the water was safe and of the highest quality.