Who’s who in Eric Adams’ administration

Yes, New York City Mayor-elect Eric Adams is thinking about “emotional intelligence” as he fills out his administration, but he’s also thinking about demographic representation. He said for months that he would appoint a woman to lead the New York City Police Department and he did, setting up Keechant Sewell to be the first female commissioner to lead the country’s largest police force. The man who narrowly defeated two women in the Democratic primary also announced that five of his deputy mayors will be women – four of them women of color. And the leader of the city Department of Correction will be a Latino man, Louis Molina, overseeing a majority Black and brown workforce overseeing jails where the majority of people incarcerated are also people of color. 

Appointing leaders at the top level may take Adams some time. Outgoing Mayor Bill de Blasio was appointing commissioners well into April, when he took over in 2014 – though he was criticized at the time. Here’s who will be in the Adams administration so far. This list is updated as of Dec. 20. 

First deputy mayor: Lorraine Grillo

Grillo has been in city government for nearly three decades, starting at the School Construction Authority in 1993, the agency where she was appointed president by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2010. For a while, she served as commissioner of the city Department of Design and Construction at the same time, before de Blasio named her pandemic recovery czar earlier this year.

Deputy mayor for health and human services: Anne Williams-Isom

While she is now the James R. Dumpson endowed chair in child welfare at Fordham’s Graduate School of Social Service, Williams-Isom is best known as the former CEO and COO of the Harlem Children’s Zone, an anti-poverty nonprofit organization. Before that, she was at the New York City Administration for Children’s Services for more than a decade, ending her tenure as a deputy commissioner.

Deputy mayor for economic and workforce development: Maria Torres-Springer

Most recently the vice president for US programs at the Ford Foundation, Torres-Springer previously served in the de Blasio administration as commissioner of the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, president and CEO of the Economic Development Corp. and commissioner of the Department of Small Business Services. Her husband, Jamie Torres-Springer, is president of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s construction and development division.

Deputy mayor for operations: Meera Joshi

Joshi is coming from the federal government, where she’s deputy administrator in the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. She was briefly New York general manager at Sam Schwartz consultants before that, but is best known as the former chair and CEO of New York City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission. She also has experience at the city Department of Investigation and the Civilian Complaint Review Board.

Deputy mayor for strategic initiatives: Sheena Wright

Wright is leading Adams’ transition committee and is now getting a top job. She’s president and CEO of the nonprofit United Way of New York City, and before that, she led the Abyssinian Development Corp. Her reported partner is David Banks, who has been appointed city schools chancellor. 

Chief counsel to the mayor: Brendan McGuire

A partner at white shoe law firm WilmerHale, McGuire previously led the public corruption unit for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. Back in March, McGuire wrote an op-ed in the Daily News calling on strict anti-corruption standards for the next mayor. McGuire is the son of Robert McGuire, who served as NYPD commissioner under former New York City Mayor Ed Koch. 

Chief Efficiency Officer: Melanie La Rocca

Commissioner of the Department of Buildings since May 2019, La Rocca will now be taking on a newly created role in the Adams administration known as “the efficiency czar.” Before DOB, she worked under Grillo at the SCA and was chief of staff to former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.

Chief Technology Officer: Matt Fraser

Fraser will be taking on the newly expanded role, which will oversee the Department of Information technology & Telecommunications as well. He’s currently the NYPD deputy commissioner of information technology and did a private sector stint before that as director of consulting services at Gartner. 

Schools chancellor: David Banks

Banks has been helping Adams’ transition, but is best known as the founding principal of Eagle Academy for Young Men, a network of public schools geared toward low-income Black and Latino boys. His reported partner is Sheena Wright, who has been appointed deputy mayor for strategic initiatives. 

NYPD commissioner: Keechant Sewell

The first woman to lead the department will be the former chief of detectives in the Nassau County Police Department. Sewell is originally from Queens and has been in policing for 25 years. 

Transportation commissioner: Ydanis Rodriguez

The term-limited City Council member who always seemed to be by Adams’ side on the campaign trail will lead the Department of Transportation, after eight years providing oversight as chair of the City Council’s Committee on Transportation. Before taking office, he was a teacher and activist. 

Health commissioner: Dr. Ashwin Vasan

A mental health specialist and primary care physician, Vasan is currently the CEO of Fountain House, a national nonprofit that provides services to people with mental illness. He also practices internal medicine at New York-Presbyterian Hospital and is an assistant professor at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.

Vasan will replace Dr. Dave Chokshi beginning March 15. Chokshi, referred to as “the city’s doctor,” was appointed in August 2020 and has served as the public face of the agency through some of the darkest days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Office of Management and Budget director: Jacques Jiha

Adams is asking Jiha to remain in the role he’s held since October 2020 . Before that, he served as de Blasio’s finance commissioner.

Department of Finance commissioner: Preston Niblack

Niblack has been outgoing New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer’s deputy comptroller for budget for about five years. He previously worked in the City Council finance division, and did a stint in the private sector at lobbying firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips.

Department of Correction commissioner: Louis Molina

Molina was most recently chief of the Las Vegas Department of Public Safety in Nevada, but before that, the former NYPD detective served for about a year as the chief internal monitor and acting assistant commissioner in the DOC’s compliance unit, which monitored the use of force in city jails.

Department of Investigation commissioner: Jocelyn Strauber

A partner at law firm Skadden, Arps, focusing on government enforcement and white collar crime, Strauber was previously co-chief of the Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. Strauber will have to be approved by the City Council, since the DOI acts independently from the mayor. 

Taxi and Limousine Commission chair: Aloysee Heredia Jarmoszuk

Adams announced that Heredia Jarmoszuk will stay in the position that she’s held since early in 2020. She previously worked in City Hall as chief of staff to the deputy mayor for operations.