New York City Will Now Have a 'COVID Recovery Czar'
NEW YORK — Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday appointed a new senior adviser he calls the city's "COVID Recovery Czar".
Lorraine Grillo will be focused on coordinating different agencies and leaders in city government to help the city bounce back from the coronavirus.
She comes to her new position from the city's School Construction Authority, where she spent more than 20 years.
"In my years serving New York City I've built schools for over 80,000 students. I've led nearly 4,000 capital improvement projects, and managed budgets totaling $28 billion. I build things, that's what I do," Grillo said.
"There will be a weekly war room that will include all the deputy mayors, key agencies, key figures at city hall, constantly determining what it's going to take to move the recovery forward," De Blasio said.
The mayor praised Grillo for using her position at the School Construction Authority to empower women and communities of color.
During his Monday briefing, Mayor de Blasio also unveiled a plan to revamp Kennedy Airport while boosting local businesses in Queens.
The mayor says he's going to sign an executive order to extend the JFK lease with the Port Authority, with $10 billion to $15 billion going to infrastructure improvements at the airport.
As part of the agreement, nearly a third of the contractors for construction need to be businesses owned by either minorities or women.
Local lawmakers say this project will keep money from the project within Queens and help the borough bounce back from the pandemic.
"These are not just going to be any jobs, but good jobs that are gonna ensure that southeast Queens and other communities around Queens can bounce back after this pandemic leaves us, in a big way," De Blasio said.
It's estimated that the JFK Airport projects will create around 20,000 jobs.