Big changes are coming to City Hall: Deputy mayor Alicia Glen, who oversaw the administration’s housing and economic development policies—for better or for worse—announced this week that she will resign her post in 2019. A successor has not yet been named, but Glen is expected to stay on until one is appointed.
“When I love my work or I love my thing, I could keep going and going and going, but you just sort of have to pick moments,” Glen told the Wall Street Journal.
Her tenure at City Hall has been incredibly productive: As the deputy mayor for housing and economic development, Glen was responsible for implementing the de Blasio administration’s ambitious affordable housing plan, which is on track preserve or create 200,000 units of affordable housing by 2022 (and now, City Hall is aiming for 300,000 units by 2024). She also had a hand in pushing through rezonings of key areas like Midtown East and East Harlem; has spearheaded initiatives to improve the number of women in tech in the city; and helped launch the NYC Ferry.
From building and protecting the most affordable housing in our history to growing our tech industry to knocking down barriers for women, Deputy Mayor @AliciaGlen has opened doors for New Yorkers of every background and made our city a fairer place. https://t.co/deQQbcSdxL— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) December 20, 2018
But the picture isn’t entirely rosy: Glen also oversaw NYCHA during a period where the agency has been embroiled in scandal after scandal, from failing to comply with lead paint inspections to widespread heat and hot water outages to the general degradation of many of the agency’s buildings. (Just this week, outgoing public advocate Letitia James named NYCHA as the city’s worst landlord for the first time ever.) A report from Politico over the summer noted that Glen “declined to incorporate public housing into her affordable housing plan, rendering it less urgent and less subsidized.”
Glen has also been criticized for her role in what some have seen as policy decisions that are overly friendly to developers and big businesses—notably the deal to bring Amazon HQ2 to New York City, in which she had a major role. “Her legacy is creating affordable housing that is not affordable,” Maritza Silva-Farrell, the executive director of the advocacy group Align, told the New York Times. “Her legacy is bringing Amazon and turning New York into another version of San Francisco.”
Whatever you think of Glen and her legacy, though, one thing is clear: Her successor will have big shoes to fill.