Mayor’s Housing Chief is Leaving, Creating Another Vacancy in Development Policy Team

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Mayoral Photography Office

Maria Torres-Springer, the outgoing HPD commissioner, seen with Mayor de Blasio at an early 2018 bill signing.

In the latest exit from the de Blasio administration, Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer is leaving her post for the non-profit sector this March.

She follows the lead of Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen, who has announced her intention to leave but will stay on until a replacement has been found for her position, and the city’s Department of Buildings Commissioner Rick Chandler, who retired from city service after 31 years in last month. And under the agreement inked by Mayor de Blasio on Thursday to establish a monitor for NYCHA, the city must install a new chairperson/chief executive officer for the housing authority.

That means four key housing and development posts in the administration are now in flux as the mayor navigates his sixth year in office.

“It has been a profound honor to serve the city that I love and be given the chance to make it even stronger and more equitable,” Torres-Springer said in a press statement. “I want to thank Mayor Bill de Blasio and Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen for entrusting me over the last five years with leading the work of three agencies devoted to balancing the equation in favor of New York City’s hard-working families. Together, we have created and preserved affordable housing at record speed while ensuring the city’s most vulnerable communities are protected and implemented major initiatives to spur economic opportunity across the five boroughs.”

Torres-Springer has served HPD since 2017. Before that she served as the CEO of the Economic Development Corporation and as commissioner of the Department of Small Business Services. In March, Torres-Springer will join the Ford Foundation as vice president of U.S. programs.

“No one has been more important in our fight to make New York the fairest big city in America than Maria Torres-Springer. Whether advancing rezonings or developing a record number of affordable homes, I have turned to her time and again to tackle the toughest issues facing our city. The Ford Foundation—and the country—are lucky to have her where she’s going,” said de Blasio.

Housing is not the only area where a change of personnel is taking plan. Taxi and Limousine Commissioner Meera Joshi will also be leaving the de Blasio administration in March after serving the city agency that regulates for-hire vehicles since 2014. Office of Emergency Management Commissioner Joseph Esposito is on his way out, too.

Whoever replaces Torres-Springer will be de Blasio’s third HPD commissioner; Vicki Been held that post for most of his first term.

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