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FMCSA Deputy Administrator Meera Joshi has been selected by New York City Mayor-elect Eric Adams to be that city’s deputy mayor for operations, a move that spells the end of Joshi’s nomination to become leader of the federal safety agency.
Joshi previously had served as CEO of the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission, and with this appointment joins a list of five women Adams on Dec. 20 selected to serve as top lieutenants in his administration.
Joshi’s nomination to lead FMCSA was being held up in the U.S. Senate by Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), a member of the Senate Commerce Committee. He recently indicated that it is his “intention to hold all Department of Transportation” nominees until the panel hears from the leadership at the Transportation and Commerce departments about the Biden administration’s response to national supply chain woes.
American Trucking Associations President Chris Spear said in a statement: “Meera Joshi has led FMCSA through historic times — as an unprecedented global pandemic, countless natural disasters, a cyberattack on a major domestic pipeline, and widespread workforce shortages challenged the freight economy in ways never before seen.
“Throughout her tenure, the trucking industry has found Deputy Administrator Joshi to be a candid, collaborative, and valued partner in government. Her use of data and stakeholder input drove a sound policy process designed to meet real-world needs. Her leadership has helped to ensure our industry could continue to safely serve the American people and meet the demands of the economy during these incredible times."
Adams also named Lorraine Grillo, the city’s COVID recovery czar, as first deputy mayor. Nonprofit executive Anne Williams-Isom will be deputy mayor for health and human services. The Ford Foundation’s Maria Torres-Springer will be deputy mayor for economic and workforce development. Sheena Wright, the CEO of the United Way of New York City, will be deputy mayor for strategic initiatives.
In New York City, mayors have flexibility over the structure of the executive branch and deputies. While Adams has said he will also select a deputy mayor for public safety, the structure closely resembles the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio.
The women will be charged with directly managing the city’s response as it tries to improve the city’s stubbornly high unemployment rate, reduce homelessness and crime, and increase tourism again. The team, which will take over on Jan. 1, will also have to contend with the most recent COVID spike in the city, which has caused a rapid jump in COVID cases and spurned a round of business closures just as the winter holidays approach.
“For us to ensure that this city recovers quickly while addressing the inequalities that plagued us well before COVID-19 struck, we must have top leadership that can both deliver for New Yorkers and is representative of New Yorkers,” Adams said.
— With assistance from Laura Nahmias.
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