Adams taps new leaders for City Planning

Mayor names Dan Garodnick to head commission, agency; Edith Hsu-Chen as No. 2

From left: Edith Hsu-Chen, Dan Garodnick, and Eric Adams (Getty Images, Department of City Planning)
From left: Edith Hsu-Chen, Dan Garodnick, and Eric Adams (Getty Images, Department of City Planning)

Mayor Eric Adams has tapped new heads of the Department of City Planning and the City Planning Commission.

The mayor announced Dan Garodnick as chairman of the commission and director of the agency, a dual role. Edith Hsu-Chen will serve as executive director of the department, where she will oversee day-to-day operations and the department staff.

Hsu-Chen has served as the department’s Manhattan director since 2008. She joined it as an intern in 1997 and has since held several roles with the planning agency.

The Real Deal first reported that Garodnick, who was a Manhattan City Council member for 12 years, would be named chair and director. His formal appointment did not occur for another two weeks amid reports of delays, if not chaos, in the administration’s vetting process. Since leaving office, Garodnick has served as president and CEO of the Riverside Park Conservancy.

Politico reported that real estate–related appointments in the Adams administration have been slowed by ethical questions and other issues surrounding nominees.

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The mayor’s likely pick to lead the Economic Development Corporation, Carlo Scissura, is facing scrutiny regarding his past lobbying on behalf of real estate developers and an investor fighting for control of a Queens affordable housing development, according to The City. EDC is city government’s largest landlord and controls numerous economic development projects.

Adams also has not announced his commissioners for the Department of Buildings and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Jessica Katz was pegged for a senior housing role, but the details of her position have not been made public.

Apropos of the administration’s hiring glitches, the initial press release about Wednesday’s appointments mistakenly identified Hsu-Chen as the new director of City Planning. That would have required a change in the City Charter, which provides that one person be both agency director and commission chair.

All rezonings and major city planning initiatives run through the Department of City Planning and Planning Commission, which are both controlled by the mayor — the latter because he names its chair and a majority of its members. But the final say on zoning changes goes to the City Council.