Apr. 27, 2023 By Ethan Stark-Miller
Mayor Eric Adams officially named Republican former Staten Island Borough President Jimmy Oddo on Thursday as the city’s new buildings commissioner, while also removing the word “acting” from the title of new Social Services Commissioner Molly Wasow Park.
“Our administration has always been laser-focused on finding the right people for the right jobs at the right time, and Jimmy Oddo and Molly Wasow Park are exactly those people,” Adams said in a statement.
Oddo will take over leadership of Department of Buildings (DOB) from Kazimir Vilenchik, who’s served as the agency’s acting commissioner since its former head, Eric Ulrich, stepped down from his post last fall after getting ensnared in an illegal gambling probe. Adams is elevating Oddo from his current role as Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi’s chief of staff.
“Commissioner Oddo is an expert at building and running high-functioning teams, and he will bring the leadership the Department of Buildings needs to oversee our city’s buildings and protect New Yorkers who work in construction and walk on our streets,” the mayor said.
The mayor announced Oddo’s new role a day after he refused to confirm the appointment during an unrelated Wednesday press conference after City & State NY had reported it was forthcoming.
“Listen, you know the rule: When we appoint, we announce, and we have not appointed yet, so we don’t have an announcement to make,” he told reporters on Wednesday.
As the new DOB boss, Oddo is charged with enforcing the city’s construction regulations and building codes for the 1.1 million buildings across the five boroughs.
“Ensuring the safety of every New Yorker and workers alike will always be the top priority,” Oddo said in a statement. “As we undertake that critical work, we will continue reorienting the agency to be more efficient and customer friendly. Having built and been a part of highly successful teams, I will work every day to foster a culture within the agency that best positions the talented professionals there to address and advance our agenda — from keeping New Yorkers safe and deploying cutting-edge technology to do so to reinvigorating our city’s public space.”
Park, meanwhile has served as the acting commissioner of the Department of Social Services (DSS) since her predecessor, Gary Jenkins, resigned his post early last month to join Adams’ former chief of staff Frank Carone’s lobbying firm.
Prior to leading DSS in an acting capacity, Park was first deputy commissioner for the city’s Department of Homeless Services (DHS), which is overseen by Social Services.
In her new position atop DSS, Park will lead both DHS and the city’s Human Resources Administration (HRA) — the agency charged with administering public assistance programs like the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.
“Homelessness, affordable housing, and economic insecurity are all intrinsically linked, and we must tackle all of these challenges to ensure every New Yorker can thrive,” Park said, in a statement. “As commissioner, I look forward to drawing on my experience in both housing and social services to break down the silos that have traditionally existed and innovate to make each of these systems serve all New Yorkers.”