Bill de Blasio Names New Department of Finance Commissioner

Mayor Bill de Blasio and today's appointees. (Photo: Ed Reed/NYC Mayor's Office)

Mayor Bill de Blasio and today’s appointees. (Photo: Ed Reed/NYC Mayor’s Office)

Mayor Bill de Blasio today filled multiple open positions in his administration, notably appointing Jacques Jiha, the chief financial officer of the multimedia company Black Enterprise, to direct the city’s Department of Finance.

Mr. de Blasio further appointed Dr. Feniosky Peña-Mora as new commissioner of the Department of Design and Construction and Lisette Camilo as the director of the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services.

The mayor also reappointed David Ehrenberg as the president and chief executive officer of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation

“These are leaders who understand the communities they work for. They have the skills to keep the machinery of these agencies running and take them in a progressive direction that delivers for the people of this city,” Mr. de Blasio said in a statement. “This is a group of leaders committed to lifting up and investing in New Yorkers in every community.

Crain’s New York Business reported yesterday that Beth Goldman, the finance department’s acting commissioner, had tendered her resignation, “increasing pressure on Mayor Bill de Blasio to name her replacement at an agency that oversees $30 billion in tax collection every year.”

View the full announcement below:

MAYOR DE BLASIO APPOINTS HEADS OF DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE, DEPARTMENT OF DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION, MAYOR’S OFFICE OF CONTRACT SERVICES, AND BROOKLYN NAVY YARD

Jacques Jiha to direct the Department of Finance, Dr. Feniosky Peña-Mora to lead the Department of Design and Construction, and Lisette Camilo to spearhead the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services

David Ehrenberg reappointed as president and chief executive officer of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio today named four key appointments to his administration, building on his commitment to a progressive, diverse and effective administration. The Mayor appointed Dr. Feniosky Peña-Mora as Commissioner of the Department of Design and Construction, Jacques Jiha as Commissioner of the Department of Finance, Lisette Camilo as the director of the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services, with David Ehrenberg reappointed as the president and chief executive officer of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation.

“These are leaders who understand the communities they work for. They have the skills to keep the machinery of these agencies running and take them in a progressive direction that delivers for the people of this city,” said Mayor de Blasio. “This is a group of leaders committed to lifting up and investing in New Yorkers in every community.

Jacques Jiha, a dynamic leader with more than 25 years of experience in public finance, brings deep expertise in budget and debt management, economic analysis and forecasting, as well as years spent working in the New York City and state pension systems. Jiha will be tasked with ensuring the city’s treasury, property tax assessments, audits and collections run efficiently, while simultaneously delivering fair, transparent and accountable processes for New Yorkers when they engage with the department to pay or contest a fine.

“This agency is really part of the bedrock of city government. When it works well, when it’s done responsibly, all other things become possible. That’s an obligation I take very seriously,” said incoming Department of Finance Commissioner Jacques Jiha. “We are going to put in place practices that give people confidence in their city. New Yorkers probably hope they don’t have many interactions with our agency, but I promise them when they do, they’ll be treated fairly.”

Dr. Feniosky Peña-Mora, an accomplished engineer with more than two decades of cutting-edge research and industry work experience, has combined engineering excellence, managerial efficiency, and design quality throughout his career. As commissioner of the Department of Design and Construction, Dr. Peña-Mora will be charged with building public works big and small, ranging from making streets safer as part of the Vision Zero initiative, to renovating and constructing municipal facilities.

“Our standards will continue to be high. We will strengthen resiliency, efficiency and safety in every project we oversee. We hope to build a new generation of streets, public works and buildings that weave our diverse communities closer together and enrich the fabric of this city,” said incoming Department of Design and Construction Commissioner Dr. Peña-Mora.

Lisette Camilo, an experienced New York City government attorney who brings deep legal skills and procurement expertise, has demonstrated a commitment to using the city’s purchasing power to create local jobs and deliver opportunity for Minority and Women-Owned Enterprises in every borough. As director at the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services, she will be tasked with protecting taxpayers and simultaneously increasing the local impact of city procurement.

“Our procurement is vital to keeping this government functioning well, but it is also a tremendous opportunity to simultaneously invest in our own people. I am committed to keeping this system performing to the highest standards and opening the doors of opportunity to more New Yorkers, especially our minority and women-owned businesses,” said incoming Mayor’s Office of Contract Services Director Lisette Camilo.

David Ehrenberg, currently the president and chief executive officer of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation with deep experience managing the city’s economic development projects, will continue to overseeing the Yard’s diverse tenant base and 1.8 million square-foot expansion. Ehrenberg will work closely with the Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development and the Economic Development Corporation to spur on workforce development and training that directly links the Navy Yard’s employers with local education and career pipelines.

“The Navy Yard is one of the great New York success stories. I’m honored to serve this mayor and his administration, and build on the foundation we’ve laid in recent years,” said David Ehrenberg, president and CEO of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation. “We are going to deepen our connections with employers, schools and workforce programs to help more New Yorkers be a part of this success story and get the skills they need to secure good-paying jobs in our fastest growing sectors.”

About Jacques Jiha

Most recently, Jiha was Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer for Earl G. Graves Ltd./Black Enterprise, a multimedia company. Jiha spent the better part of a decade in the New York City Comptroller’s Office, as well as time in the State Comptroller’s Office. Additionally, he worked for the Nassau County Office of the Comptroller, was the executive director of the New York State Legislative Tax Study Commission, and served as the Principal Economist to the New York State Assembly Ways and Means Committee.

Jiha emigrated to East Flatbush, Brooklyn from Haiti in 1979 to attend Fordham University, where he earned his B.A. in Economics, and later earned his master’s and Ph.D. in Economics from the New School for Social Research. He has been the recipient of the Manhattan Borough President Special Recognition Award, the Vice Chancellor’s Achievement Award from the American Foundation for the University of the West Indies, the Outstanding Achievement Award from the Haitian American Alliance, and the Haitian American United for Progress Achievement Award.

About Dr. Feniosky Peña-Mora

Dr. Feniosky Peña-Mora is a leading engineer with vast experience managing infrastructure and construction projects in New York, the United States, and around the world. He is currently the Edwin Howard Armstrong Professor of Civil Engineering Mechanics, Professor of Earth and Environmental Engineering, and Professor of Computer Science at Columbia University’s Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS), where he has taught since 2009. He is also the founding partner of Peña-Alcántara Consultants, Inc., a firm specializing in the use of information technology and construction management techniques in infrastructure projects. Prior to joining the Columbia faculty, he was Associate Provost and the Edward William and Jane Marr Gutgsell Endowed Professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Dr. Peña-Mora moved to Washington Heights from the Dominican Republic in 1988, joining his mother who had emigrated 10 years earlier and was working on a factory line. He received a Doctor of Science and Master of Science in Civil Engineering from M.I.T. and a B.S. in Civil Engineering, Magna Cum Laude, from the Universidad Nacional Pedro Henríquez Ureña in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Dr. Peña-Mora is married to Minosca Alcántara, with whom he founded Peña-Alcántara Consultants. They have three children, Aramael, Amnahir, and Giramnah.

About Lisette Camilo

Lisette Camilo brings an extensive background in procurement, as well as familiarity with the office, having served most recently as the Office’s Acting General Counsel. Prior to being named Acting General Counsel in January 2014, Camilo served as MOCS’s Deputy General Counsel, and as Special Counsel and Assistant Director of the Vendor Programs Unit prior to that. From 2007 to 2011, Camilo was Counsel to the Committees on Contracts, Juvenile Justice, and General Welfare at the New York City Council. Before beginning her career in public service, Camilo was an associate at the law firm Pollack, Pollack, Isaac & de Cicco, where she practiced immigration law, and also served as General Counsel of UNITE HERE, Local 100 from 2002 to 2005.

Born and raised in Washington Heights by parents from the Dominican Republic, Camilo was the first in her family graduate from college. Camilo received her law degree from The George Washington University Law School and her undergraduate degree from Columbia College.

Camilo, a Bronx resident, serves as a board member of the Double Discovery Center at Columbia College, which works with low-income and first-generation college-bound Manhattan youth to ensure success beyond high school.

About David Ehrenberg

David Ehrenberg has served as the president and chief executive officer of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation since 2013, overseeing the Yard’s diverse tenant base and 1.8 million square-foot expansion.

Prior to joining the Navy Yard, Ehrenberg spent seven years at the New York City Economic Development Corporation. While at NYCEDC, he was a senior manager on many of the city’s priority economic development projects including: the Applied Sciences initiative that resulted in Cornell’s new campus on Roosevelt Island; the redevelopment of six acres of vacant land on the Lower East Side known as Seward Park; and the Atlantic Yards project. In addition to marquee projects, he supervised dozens of industrial and manufacturing projects across the city and supervised the operations of the city’s Industrial Development Agency.

Before joining NYCEDC, Ehrenberg worked at South Brooklyn Legal Services as the coordinator for a microenterprise program. He is a graduate of Stuyvesant High School and Wesleyan University, where he majored in government and urban studies. Ehrenberg was a Fulbright Fellow in Zimbabwe, and received dual Masters Degrees from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University in Public Policy and Urban Planning.

He lives in Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn, with his wife Jessica Yager, and two children, Noah and Ellie.