NYC First Deputy Mayor Lorraine Grillo to step down at end of year

New York City’s First Deputy Mayor Lorraine Grillo has announced she is stepping down and will leave her post at the end of the year. She, along with Mayor Eric Adams, joined Good Day New York Friday morning:

Rosanna Scotto: We've got a big announcement happening right here on Good Day New York this morning, a major leader in the New York City government has just announced she is stepping down.

Dan Bowens: That's right. Lorraine Grillo is the first deputy mayor of New York City, and she plays a critical role in helping Mayor Adams run the day-to-day operations of City Hall. It's a big job. She says she is leaving her post at the end of the year. Over the last three decades, Lorraine Grillo has held key positions in government, including president and CEO of the New York City's School Construction Authority and recovery czar leading the city's COVID-19 recovery agenda.

Scotto: She currently leads a historic team of four deputy mayors — all of them women. I love it. Lorraine Grillo joining us this morning in our studio. Nice to have you on Good Day.

First Deputy Mayor Lorraine Grillo: Oh, it's great to be here, Rosanna.

Scotto: So why are you leaving?

First Deputy Mayor Grillo: When the mayor approached me to take this job on, we both decided it would be a year, and my job would be to lay the groundwork to get the government moving. A few of these folks have never been in government before, so I just had to kind of lay it out and they took over and they're doing great.

Scotto: Now, I know you've built many buildings in the city because that's how you started. You were in construction, built many schools.

First Deputy Mayor Grillo: Right.

Scotto: Then you helped us during COVID, get back on our feet in the city, and now you're with the mayor's office. What are you most — proudest of?

First Deputy Mayor Grillo: Oh my gosh. I would have to say, first of all, in this administration, as I said, proud of the team that we put together and how we're going to move forward. The other thing that makes me really proud, because of my background, is I put together a team to do what we call capital process reform. As many people know, government is very bureaucratic and the processes are very bureaucratic. So this team included people in the industry and labor and developers and city agencies all working together to make things smoother, faster, more efficient. So that's something I'm very, very proud of.

Bowens: From the outside looking in, you've been in the position for about a year. Obviously this is the new administration, but leaving after a year, some people might say that that sort of doesn't… wasn't a part of the plan. Was that always a part of the plan to be there for a year and head out?

First Deputy Mayor Grillo: Absolutely. When the mayor and I first discussed it, we said… Well, I just need to tell you that, I think several times over the last four or five years, I have threatened to leave. (Laughter.) Okay. So this time…

Scotto: Really? I can't imagine you being frustrated.

First Deputy Mayor Grillo: So this time we made that arrangement at the very beginning, and I'm really, really happy to leave it in such good shape.

Bowens: And obviously so much of what happens, you go in with an agenda, but there's so many external issues, whether it's the migrant crisis, the inflation, economics, where do you see room for improvement that you would like to see this administration get done in the next few months?

First Deputy Mayor Grillo: Oh my goodness. I think that the administration has done extraordinary work, particularly when you look at the asylum crisis that we've been dealing with. These folks who had no experience in this jumped forward and got things done and helped people along the way. If you see those photos of our team greeting people off the bus that they've been on for 11, 12 hours with smiles on their faces, they did this because it felt good. It made perfect sense, and they did extraordinary work.

Scotto: I know it's close to your heart, and I know the mayor always says about you — you get stuff done. And guess who's here this morning?

First Deputy Mayor Grillo: Who?

Scotto: Mayor Adams.

First Deputy Mayor Grillo: Oh my goodness. Oh, thank you, sir. Oh my God. What is this?

Scotto: And oh, Ingrid? (Inaudible.) We love Ingrid.

First Deputy Mayor Grillo: I love you, honey. Thank you for everything.

Scotto: This is a big deal. Hi Ingrid. You know Dan?

Ingrid Lewis-Martin, Chief Advisor to the Mayor: Very nice to meet you.

Scotto: Hi, mayor. Nice to have you here.

Mayor Eric Adams: How are you? Good to see you.

Scotto: Mayor, nice to have you here.

Mayor Adams: Good to see you.

Scotto: All right, so what do we think, can you sit there for a sec? Should we convince her to stay? What can we do?

Mayor Adams: The whole thing we have of GSD, get stuff done, right? When you looked at Lorraine's career and the School Construction Authority, when you looked at how she just knows how to move things forward, and she loves this city, and when I got elected, I remember we were, I think we were at Scotto’s, I don't know what restaurant.

First Deputy Mayor Grillo: I think we were actually.

Mayor Adams: And I said, I just need an anchor. If you are going to build a franchise, you need an anchor player. And this is the Steph Curry here.

Scotto: She knows everybody. She knows everybody. She knows how to cut through it. So who can fill her shoes now? I know they're big shoes to fill.

Mayor Adams: Yes, yes. But the goal is that people must bring their own shoes. You're not going to duplicate. You're not going to get another Lorraine Grillo, plain and simple, but she has really brought the team and showed us how to navigate government, some major projects she has under her belt, and just — I cannot thank her enough. I cannot thank her enough on how great she was. And Ingrid has been with me throughout my entire career. She said, "You know what? We got to be here for Lorraine."

Scotto: I know Ingrid goes back to the Brooklyn days, right?

Bowens: Mr. Mayor, so many important issues, obviously, that are happening right now that would be on the plate of whoever sort of steps into this role next.

Mayor Adams: Yes.

Bowens: Where do you see the challenges coming for your administration? I mean, the next few weeks, few months. I mean, there's always something out there.

Mayor Adams: Well, the beauty here is she's one phone call away.

First Deputy Mayor Grillo: That's right.

Mayor Adams: But we have — housing is so important. We came in with a real agenda of bringing down these shootings, bringing down the homicides. We were successful in doing so. Then we want to make sure we deal with all of these predatory crimes and get our economy back. Our economy, we're going through a tough time in our economy and it's important that we be fiscally prudent to get this done.

Bowens: And Lorraine, it's just us up here. I mean…

Rosanna: Just us.

Bowens: What's it like working? So what's it like working for him?

First Deputy Mayor Grillo: I have to tell you, I have never met anyone who is more hardworking, but still keeps this positive attitude. He's got a great personality. It's a lot of fun to be around, works hard and 24/7, never sleeps.

Bowens: I think Ingrid also is right there for him as well. I mean I know Ingrid. Okay.

Lewis-Martin: Well, on behalf of the staff, Lorraine, I sincerely thank you. Your leadership has been tremendous. There will be a void. No one will ever be able to replace you in our book. And we love you, and we wanted you to have a little bit of fun. So we gave you a bottle of champagne.

First Deputy Mayor Grillo: It will be opened later in the office. (Laughter.) I love it.

Scotto: Hey mayor, before you go, I know you've been pleading with the president of the United States for a few dollars to help us here in New York City with the migrant situation. I mean, it's quite a bill. I mean, it's a few hundred million for what? 22, 23,000 asylum seekers here. Is anybody listening to you in D.C.?

Mayor Adams: Yes. We believe we're going to make inroads. The team was down in D.C. yesterday. But we need a combination of help, not only in D.C. we need help also in the state because this is an issue for the entire country. It's a national problem, and it should not fall on the laps of New Yorkers only.

Scotto: But why are they not responding? I don't understand. It's frustrating as a New Yorker.

Mayor Adams: Yes, it is. And New Yorkers, we have done our job. We took a crisis. I believe we averted that crisis by smart decisions. Now it's time for the federal government to step in and make sure we're compensated.

Bowens: It looks like, have you heard from Albany at all? Have you heard from the governor? I mean, the elections are over now.

Mayor Adams: Yes.

Dan: I mean, it seems like that was a part of it.

Mayor Adams: But we were hearing from each other throughout the entire campaign. Kathy — Governor Hochul has been amazing. She has been a real partner. And we sat down when we were in SOMOs, I saw her the other day at the Urban League, and she's ready. She had her sneakers on and she says, "Eric, let's get this done."

Scotto: Right. We hope so. All right. Listen, we're here for Lorraine Grillo. Yes. Thank you so much, Lorraine, for everything you've done on behalf of New Yorkers. I know it's not the end of where she's going yesterday. Ingrid, there's no way she's…

Lewis-Martin: Oh no, I'm going to call Lorraine. I'm going to call Lorraine.

First Deputy Mayor Grillo: I'm always here for you, always.

Lewis-Martin: I love you, thank you.

Scotto: And mayor, thank you so much for coming on this morning.

Mayor Adams: Thank you.

Scotto: Ingrid, thank you. Lorraine, thank you so much for everything that you do.

First Deputy Mayor Grillo: Thank you.

Scotto: Good to see you.

Bowens: Nice to meet you.