Adams names five women as deputy mayors

Left to right: Lorraine Grillo, Meera Joshi, Eric Adams, Maria Torres-Springer, Sheena Wright, and Anne Williams-Isom.
Evan Burr/Brooklyn Borough President’s Office

Mayor-elect Eric Adams on Monday named five new deputy mayors that he will appoint to his administration, all of whom are women with extensive experience in government, including three alumnae of the de Blasio administration.

Adams, currently in his final week-and-a-half as Brooklyn Borough President, presented his choices at Brooklyn Borough Hall while surrounded by several other women who were the first to serve in key positions in government.

“Representation matters. Perspective matters. My administration will understand the people of the city it serves — and each of the people I am appointing today has the experience and skills to help us turn this city around the right way,” Adams said in a statement.

“I am so proud of the history these new deputy mayors are making today, and I hope it sends a message that the most qualified people should not sit on the bench when the game is on the line just because of their gender, their ethnicity, or any piece of their identity.”

Deputy mayors are among the highest-ranking members of the administration at City Hall, and often advice the city’s chief executive on key issues, oversee the operations of certain agencies, and fill in if the mayor is ever unavailable. 

The position is ill-defined in the City Charter, with the mayor being provided significant leeway in crafting the scope of the deputy mayor’s mission.

The top post of First Deputy Mayor, arguably the mayor’s most prominent appointment, will go to Lorraine Grillo, who has served as head of the School Construction Authority since 2010, and was Commissioner of the Department of Design and Construction from 2018 until earlier this year, when she was appointed as de Blasio’s COVID recovery czar.

“I am honored that Mayor-elect Adams has chosen me to serve in this important role in his administration,” Grillo said in a statement. “I look forward to working alongside this exceptional team to  implement the Mayor-elect’s vision to move forward and deliver a safer, more prosperous city for New Yorkers.”

Two of the five women will also become the first deputy mayors of Asian descent, Adams’ team said. 

Meera Joshi, who currently serves in the federal Department of Transportation of President Joe Biden’ administration, and previously worked a stint as the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commissioner, will become Deputy Mayor of Operations. 

Maria Torres-Springer, currently at the Ford Foundation after a long stint in city government, including as Commissioner of Housing Preservation and Development and Small Business Services, and as President of the Economic Development Corporation, will become Deputy Mayor for Economic and Workforce Development.

Anne Williams-Isom will become Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services, which comes after serving for 13 years at the city’s Administration for Children’s Services, and a stint as a tenured professor of child welfare at Fordham University. 

Sheena Wright, who has a background as the President of the nonprofit United Way of New York City, which helps low-income New Yorkers afford basic necessities, will be Deputy Mayor for Strategic Initiatives. 

Also on Monday, the New York Post reported that Adams intends to nominate Ydanis Rodriguez, outgoing City Council Transportation Chair, and a staunch Adams ally, to be the new Commissioner of the Department of Transportation.