City picks new leader for “sideways” design and construction department

Lorraine Grillo tasked with delivering city projects on time and budget
July 16, 2018 09:14AM

Lorraine Grillo (Credit: CityLand NYC)

Mayor Bill de Blasio appointed Lorraine Grillo, head of the School Construction Authority, to lead the delay-laden Department of Design and Construction.

Grillo, who joined the SCA in 1994 and rose to the rank of president in 2010, is taking over for acting DDC commissioner Ana Barrio, who has been leading the agency since former commissioner Feniosky Peña-Mora left the job in June 2017 following criticisms of out-of-control project costs, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Grillo, 68, will focus on “project delivery” and preventing cost overruns.

“We’ve worked very hard here at the SCA on continuous improvement, and we’ve succeeded,” she said. “I want the same thing for the folks at the DDC.”

A study from 2017 found that DDC-led projects took on average seven years to complete, and were often beset by delays that caused costs to skyrocket.

Staten Island Borough President Jimmy Oddo, a frequent critic of the DDC, said he hopes Grillo will “change the culture” at the agency.

“If there is no true leadership, things go sideways,” he said. “DDC has been sideways for a very long time, and Lorraine is a great leader.”

The city also appointed Jamie Torres-Springer, a partner at the consultancy group HR&A Advisors, as the first-ever deputy commissioner of DDC. Torres-Springer is married to Maria Torres-Springer, commissioner of the city Department of Housing Preservation and Development. [WSJ] – Rich Bockmann