Mayor Bill de Blasio tapped Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia to temporary lead NYCHA as the public housing authority begins to implement a legal settlement with timetables for eradicating lead paint hazards and heat and hot water interruptions.
Garcia told reporters Wednesday that she plans to stay on as the interim chair for 90 days while the city and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development find a permanent replacement, as laid out in the legal agreement they announced last week.
Garcia, who also leads the city’s Sanitation Department, promised to spend that time laying the groundwork for NYCHA to comply with the consent decree. That agreement requires the city to spend at least $2.2 billion in capital funding on repairing its public housing over the next decade. In exchange, federal prosecutors have agreed to drop a lawsuit filed against NYCHA for misleading officials and the public about the extent of lead paint and other hazards in its portfolio.
"I really want to set the foundation so that we can be successful in the consent order," Garcia said.
The city, HUD and prosecutors have a month to come up with a list of candidates for the permanent NYCHA chair. The city then as another 90 days to pick one of those individuals.
A federal monitor will also be appointed by HUD to oversee the public housing complex.
"Everyone needs to work together to make NYCHA better," Garcia said.