CIVIC CENTER — The city's small business owners will face a much less "punitive" City Hall under the new administration, Mayor Bill de Blasio promised Tuesday as he announced his next small business chief.
In the wake of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's tenure, in which restaurants, bars and other small businesses complained of being smothered in fines and red tape, de Blasio said his administration will seek to support owners, rather than use them to make a buck.
“For too long the central relationship between small businesses and the city government has been when an inspector walks through the door of that small business ready to issue a fine. That’s not what we’re here to do in government,” de Blasio said at a Tuesday press conference, in which he tapped Maria Torres-Springer to be the commissioner of NYC's Department of Small Business Services.
De Blasio said Torres-Springer would help the city improve the climate for small businesses, with a plan that “begins with understanding their perspective.”
“I thought about the need for leadership that understood the small businesses of the city, understood our neighborhoods, understood the different communities that make up our city, and particularly understood that outer borough small businesses had faced the toughest challenges in these last few years,” de Blasio said.
As the daughter of immigrants who worked multiple jobs to stay financially afloat as she grew up, Torres-Springer said she aimed to serve small businesses and their families more effectively and compassionately.
“I have an acute appreciation for the importance of putting the rights and the needs of struggling families at the center of our city’s agenda,” Torres-Springer said.
De Blasio said his administration was already looking at ways to “adjust the approach to enforcement so that it reflects the reality on the ground, and less of a focus on the punitive, or raising revenue, as opposed to fixing problems in a fair and equitable manner.”
The mayor promised a detailed plan on how his administration would change its approach to regulating small businesses would be released in the coming weeks.