De Blasio Names Barrios-Paoli Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services

Lilliam Barrios-Paoli. (Photo: NY1)
Lilliam Barrios-Paoli. (Photo: NY1)

Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio has appointed Lilliam Barrios-Paoli to be his Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services.

Ms. Barrios-Paoli, who is currently commissioner of the Department for the Aging, is a veteran of the Bloomberg, Giuliani and Koch administrations, though–like Mr. de Blasio’s police commissioner pick, Bill Bratton–she repeatedly clashed with Rudy Giuliani and was eventually removed.

In his statement announcing the hire, Mr. de Blasio praised her record while touching on the “Tale of Two Cities” theme of his campaign.

“Lilliam has dedicated her career to protecting the most vulnerable New Yorkers. No one understands better than she the consequences of this Tale of Two Cities we are living. To lift families out of poverty and to sustain vital services, we need real leaders who can put bold ideas into practice. That’s what Lilliam is going to deliver,” vowed Mr. de Blasio.

In her new role, Ms. Barrios-Paoli will be overseeing numerous agencies, including the Department for the Aging, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Department of Homeless Services and the Human Resources Administration. Her priorities will including tackling the city’s homelessness crisis and expanding community health clinics, Mr. de Blasio said.

In addition to her extensive government service, Ms. Barrios-Paolio grew up in Mexico and speaks Spanish, also adds some diversity to Mr. de Blasio’s incoming administration.

Her appointment was widely hailed by advocates and other electeds, who pointed to her experience running five different city agencies and a record of innovative ideas, such as opening the city’s first LGBT senior center.

View the full press release announcing the appointment below:

NEW YORK, NY – Mayor-Elect Bill de Blasio today announced his appointment of Lilliam Barrios-Paoli as Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services. Barrios-Paoli will oversee City agencies that the Mayor-Elect has charged with moving New Yorkers from homelessness to stable housing, expanding community health clinics and cutting red tape in social services.

Barrios-Paoli is an experienced leader known for innovating big ideas. She has managed five City agencies under three mayors, where she spearheaded major reforms like the opening of 10 innovative senior centers – including those servicing the visually-impaired and LGBT populations. She also brings a deep background in working with New York’s nonprofit community, which will play a critical role in delivering on the incoming administration’s agenda.

“Lilliam has dedicated her career to protecting the most vulnerable New Yorkers. No one understands better than she the consequences of this Tale of Two Cities we are living. To lift families out of poverty and to sustain vital services, we need real leaders who can put bold ideas into practice. That’s what Lilliam is going to deliver,” said Mayor-Elect Bill de Blasio.

“We’re facing a crisis of inequality in this city. Working families live in ever-deeper insecurity. The old safety net, from community hospitals to housing aid, is coming apart. It’s time for big ideas and bold policies that pull together City government, our charities and our vital community nonprofits into a new effort that lifts families up and sustains our communities in every borough,” said incoming Deputy Mayor Lilliam Barrios-Paoli.

“Mayor-elect Bill DeBlasio has made the perfect choice for his Deputy Mayor of Health and Human Services by naming Lilliam Barrios Paoli. Every community’s needs are different. No one knows that better than Lilliam. She’s cared for older New Yorkers, helped get our affordable housing built, and watched over our most vulnerable children. We trust her, and we look forward to working with her to ensure communities from Inwood to the Rockaways receive the services they deserve,” said Igal Jellinek, Executive Director, Council of Senior Centers and Services.

“Latino communities from Washington Heights to Bushwick to Corona have never received the attention and services they need to overcome poverty and protect families living on the brink. These are difficult times, and we applaud Mayor-Elect de Blasio for bringing Lilliam Barrios-Paoli into his administration. We know she’ll help our communities through the crises we face,” said New York City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras.

“Lilliam is perhaps the best regarded and most seasoned leader in the social services arena. She is smart, dedicated and tireless – exactly the combination New York needs to reverse record homelessness and restore hope to our most vulnerable neighbors. The Coalition for the Homeless looks forward to working closely with her and the new mayor to craft sensible, cost-effective and compassionate solutions to homelessness and poverty,” said Mary Brosnahan, President & CEO, Coalition for the Homeless.

“Throughout three administrations, Lilliam Barrios-Paoli has been at the helm of almost every major social welfare institution in government and is one of the most knowledgeable leaders in our field. She brings vast knowledge and experience with the non-profit sector, and I know she will be able bridge the efforts of New York City government with the city’s network of nonprofits. Her commitment to fighting poverty and helping those in need is remarkable. She will be a great asset to the de Blasio administration,” said David R. Jones, President and CEO of Community Service Society of New York.

By selecting Lilliam Barrios-Paoli for Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services, Mayor-Elect de Blasio has once again demonstrated a keen eye for the right kind of talent to help lead the new administration. Ms. Barrios-Paoli has the experience and deep understanding needed to help the new mayor implement programs that will benefit millions of New Yorkers. Bravo!” said Irwin Redlener, President and Co-Founder of the Children’s Health Fund.

“I am so pleased that Lilliam Barrios-Paoli, someone I’ve known as a veteran of city government as well as a bold innovator, is taking the helm of the City’s Health and Human Services. Lilliam’s lifelong commitment to improving the lives of New Yorkers in every borough and every neighborhood makes her the ideal choice for this appointment and for taking on Bill’s progressive agenda,” said State Senator Jose Peralta.

About Lilliam Barrios-Paoli:

Lilliam Barrios-Paoli has dedicated her career to serving New York’s most vulnerable citizens. Her leadership of some of New York City’s most important social service agencies, and the long list of successful and innovative programs she has instituted, has prepared her to serve as New York City’s Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services. Barrios-Paoli has served as Commissioner at the City’s Department for the Aging since 2008, and previously headed the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, Personnel Department, Department of Employment and the Human Resources Administration—the nation’s largest public welfare agency.

Barrios-Paoli’s experience leading some of the city’s largest nonprofit organizations has given her firsthand knowledge of the challenges facing social service agencies that perform critical work on the city’s behalf. From 2004 until her appointment to DFTA, Barrios-Paoli served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Safe Space, a social service provider that works on behalf of the City to aid homeless families, runaway youth and other high-needs populations. As Senior Vice President and Chief Executive for Agency Services of the United Way of New York City for six years, she was instrumental in establishing the “Aging in Place Initiative,” a partnership between the United Way and the United Hospital Fund to improve the health care system’s response to the needs of the city’s rapidly growing elderly population. She also played a key role establishing the September 11th Fund, which raised more than $500 million in aid for victims and families.

Throughout her career, Barrios-Paoli has established herself as an innovator and practitioner of bold ideas. She successfully overhauled the Department for the Aging after a period of deep turmoil under her predecessor, opening new senior centers targeted to long-marginalized populations and restoring trust with communities she served. At the United Way, she helped lead a dramatic overhaul of the organization that refocused it on five key areas, including homelessness and affordable housing. Under her leadership, the organization shifted from being a middleman between donors and nonprofits to a partner with nonprofits in providing community-based social services.

Barrios-Paoli graduated from Universidad Iberoamericana, Mexico City, School of Anthropology, and earned her M.A. and Ph.D. from The New School for Social Research, Department of Anthropology.

De Blasio Names Barrios-Paoli Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services