De Blasio Taps Former Construction Aide to Lead Sandy Rebuilding Efforts
CIVIC CENTER — A former city official with years of construction and design experience, who runs the advocacy group Nontraditional Employment for Women, was tapped to lead the city's faltering Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts, multiple sources told DNAinfo New York.
Amy Peterson, a former city official who served under mayors Michael Bloomberg and Rudy Giuliani and has spent the past seven years as president of NEW, will oversee the city’s continued response to the 2012 hurricane, including the stalled home rebuilding and repair efforts under the Build It Back program.
The move comes after the previous director for Build It Back stepped down and the city's recovery efforts have come under fire from residents and politicians alike, including Mayor Bill de Blasio.
“She has the ability to run an organization and she has the background which I think will be helpful with Hurricane Sandy,” said a source with knowledge of Peterson’s appointment, which is set to be announced soon, sources said.
Peterson, reached by phone, declined to comment. The mayor’s office also declined to comment.
Peterson previously spent a decade in city government, beginning with the Giuliani administration in 1993 as a deputy director in the office of construction.
In 1996, she was appointed deputy commissioner in the NYC Department of Design and Construction, before becoming a project director in the city’s Human Resources Administration in 1998.
In 2002, she left city government to become a senior vice president at the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, where she focused on Ground Zero rebuilding efforts until 2005.
Peterson will take over Sandy recovery efforts that have been criticized for moving too slowly.
De Blasio, during a Sandy-related press conference on Staten Island late last month, called the city’s response to recovery efforts “a profound problem,” even as he promised a plan to handle the frustration felt by those affected by the storm “soon.”
“This is a new administration, obviously with many, many efforts that we are trying to undertake simultaneously, as with any new administration. So in the next few weeks, you’ll see a plan,” de Blasio said.
Yet the city’s recovery efforts have remained static since de Blasio has taken over, with only a fraction of the $648 million in home rebuilding funds being allocated. The city still had yet to begin construction or repairs on a single home as part of the Build It Back program as of Feb. 23, 2014, according to the city’s Sandy Tracker.
Brad Gair, Bloomberg’s Sandy recovery chief, stepped down in February, and was followed shortly by Kathryn Mallon, another top official who’d overseen rebuilding and recovery efforts under the previous administration.
Peterson’s appointment is expected in the coming days, sources said.