Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio tapped a Goldman Sachs executive as the deputy mayor of housing and economic development on Monday as he continued to fill out his senior staff.
The appointment of Alicia Glen raised a few eyebrows because the investment banking company symbolizes to some critics the extravagant, profit-driven mentality that helped create the widening income inequality that de Blasio has pledged to combat under the theme of “ending a tale of two cities.”
De Blasio, a Democrat who takes office Jan. 1, forcefully defended his selection of Glen.
“She has devoted her life to fighting inequality,” de Blasio said. “Whether she served in city government or Goldman Sachs the mission was the same: to create jobs, to make sure there are quality jobs, to create affordable housing.”
Glen headed the company’s Urban Investment Group division, which helped finance the Citibike project, the nation’s largest bike-sharing program. She also sports extensive experience within city government.
She worked for former mayor David Dinkins while he was Manhattan borough president and served as the assistant commissioner for housing finance under former mayor Rudolph Giuliani at the Department of Housing, Preservation and Development.
De Blasio said Glen will lead his administration’s efforts to invest in emerging industries, build affordable housing and promote employment. The mayor-elect had a campaign promise of creating 200,000 units of below-market affordable housing.
Glen took a subtle swipe at the perceived tendency of outgoing independent Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration to green-light big and often business-friendly development projects.
“I know we need to continue to develop and grow our city, and we will work with our partners in the non-profit, public and private sector to do that,” she said. “But that means not just focusing on the large-scale projects that have been so central over the past decade but focusing on a comprehensive neighborhood revitalization.”
De Blasio also named Laura Santucci, a former acting executive director of the Democratic National Committee, to serve as his chief of staff. Santucci was a political director at 1199SEIU, the largest union to support de Blasio’s mayoral campaign.