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Lorraine Grillo tapped as city’s Recovery Czar

New York’s school construction boss Lorraine Grillo has been tapped as the city’s COVID Recovery Czar.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said that as new Senior Advisor for Recovery, Grillo will coordinate across City government to supercharge his recovery agenda.

 “New York City was hit with an unprecedented health care and economic crisis. Together, we’re taking unprecedented steps to drive a recovery for all of us,” said Mayor de Blasio. “As New York City’s first-ever Recovery Czar, Lorraine will cut through bureaucracy, coordinate across all agencies, and reach out to non-profit and private partners to make sure our recovery is felt in every borough, every neighborhood, and every block.”

Grillo will begin a transition from her roles as Commissioner of the Department of Design and Construction and CEO of the New York City School Construction Authority and get to work “immediately.”


“I build things. That’s what I do. And together, we are going to build a recovery that lifts up every New Yorker,” said Grillo.

“Every job I’ve had serving the people of New York City, from responding to Hurricane Sandy to expanding universal Pre-K, has required an intense coordination across different agencies, companies and non-profits. That’s the same aggressive approach I’m going to take to lead a recovery for all of us.”

 “We are leading an economic recovery that involves everything from vaccine distribution to reopening schools to attracting new jobs,” said Deputy Mayor of Housing and Economic Development Vicki Been. “With Lorraine serving as our Recovery Czar, this effort on all fronts will have a dedicated, centralized leader to make sure we’re leveraging every last bit of effort to bring our city back fairer and stronger than ever before.”

 In the new position, Grillo will coordinate across government agencies, non-profits and the private sector to ensure everyone is working together for New York City’s recovery.

Working with the New York City Taskforce on Racial Inclusion and Equity, she will build on her work championing minority-and women-owned businesses (MWBE) and push for economic justice across all recovery efforts. Grillo will work directly with Mayor de Blasio to lead a recovery war room that will convene leaders across government for regular progress on recovery efforts.

Grillo has served at the School Construction Authority since 1994 and as its president since 2010. Her team was responsible for the reopening of 71 schools damaged by Hurricane Sandy in record time. In 2015, the SCA met the administration’s mandate opening 35 Universal PreK centers for the city’s four-year-old children in less than six months.

“It is excellent news for New York City and working people across the five boroughs that Lorraine Grillo will serve as the city’s Recovery Czar,” said Gary LaBarbera, President of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York. “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. 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.”


“The appointment of Lorraine Grillo as Recovery Czar for New York City is a critical step toward rebuilding our economy and getting the five boroughs back on track. Having worked with Lorraine for the past 20 years and given her tremendous record of success, I can think of no better choice for this important role – her strength, tenacity and expertise will be invaluable to the resurgence of our city. The New York Building Congress and its members are committed to assisting in this recovery and helping get New York City open and ready for business in the months ahead,” said Carlo A. Scissura, President and CEO, New York Building Congress.

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