EAST WILLIAMSBURG — A Goldman Sachs banker has been tapped to turn around New York City's income inequality gap, Bill de Blasio announced Monday.
The mayor-elect appointed Alicia Glen as the deputy mayor for Housing and Economic Development, calling her a strong, forceful champion for income equality whose experience in the public and private sector made her an expert in dealing with the kinds of urban economic issues facing the city.
“Alicia is not someone who likes to do things on a small scale. She likes to make big and lasting investments that fundamentally improve people’s lives,” de Blasio said during a press conference at Milgo-Bufkin, a metal-manufacturing facility in Brooklyn.
Glen said the city's income gap, which de Blasio famously dubbed "A Tale of Two Cities" during his mayoral campaign, was unacceptable.
"The Tale of Two Cities is not OK," Glen said, noting that the incoming administration would break sharply from the economic stance during Mayor Michael Bloomberg's three terms.
Glen currently holds a high-level post at Goldman Sachs where she focuses on urban investment opportunities for the Wall Street bank.
When asked if appointing a banker from a company blamed for its role in the 2008 economic collapse would irk some of de Blasio’s supporters on the left, the mayor-elect brushed off the concerns, saying her background fighting inequality made her the best fit for the job.
“The bottom line here is, I’m going to get the best talent for the mission. I’m going to find people that share my values and can get the job done,” he said. “I don’t care about any stereotypes or assumptions.”
She vowed to take a broad economic approach that focused on small businesses, immigrant communities and emerging industries in the city, such as film and television production.
Glen said the city will focus on "a comprehensive approach to neighborhood revitalization” that would “make sure that the deals we do result in affordable housing opportunities, the kind of retail and facilities the people in those communities need, want and deserve.”
“I know we need to continue to develop and grow our city, and we will work with our partners in nonprofit, public and private sectors to do that. But that means not just focusing on the large-scale projects that have been so front and central over the past decade,” Glen said.
Like the mayor-elect, Glen’s start in government came under former Mayor David Dinkins, starting as a junior aide during his tenure as Manhattan borough president. She went on to become assistant commissioner for Housing Finance at the New York City Department of Housing, Preservation and Development under former Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
De Blasio also named Laura Santucci as his chief of staff. Santucci is currently the executive director of the incoming administration’s transition team. Prior to that, she was the executive director of the Democratic National Committee.
De Blasio praised Santucci’s work on the transition team, saying she was “built for the big stage.” Santucci said her mission was to build as “effective and efficient executive office of the mayor” that would “work smoothly from day one.”
“It will translate to strong government, both throughout the agencies, but also in the neighborhoods and in the streets for New York City’s working families,” she said.