Kathryn Garcia
Director of New York State Operations
Assumed office
September 1, 2021
GovernorKathy Hochul
Preceded byKelly Cummings
Commissioner of the New York City Sanitation Department
In office
April 1, 2014 – September 18, 2020
MayorBill de Blasio
Preceded byJohn Doherty
Succeeded byEdward Grayson
Personal details
Born
Kathryn A. McIver

(1970-03-03) March 3, 1970 (age 51)
New York City, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Jerry Garcia (divorced)
Children2
EducationUniversity of Wisconsin–Madison (BA)

Kathryn A. Garcia (née McIver; born March 3, 1970) is an American public official serving as Director of State Operations for the state of New York. She served as commissioner for the New York City Sanitation Department from 2014 to 2020[1] and was an unsuccessful candidate in the 2021 New York City Democratic mayoral primary, losing by 0.8 percentage points to Eric Adams.[2][3]

Garcia also previously served as interim chair and CEO of the New York City Housing Authority[4] and was appointed "food czar" for New York's emergency food program during the COVID-19 emergency response.[5]

Early life and education

Kathryn Garcia was born in Brooklyn and adopted as a baby by Bruce C. and Ann McIver. She was raised in Park Slope, along with five multiracial adopted siblings.[6] Her father was the chief labor negotiator for former New York City Mayor Ed Koch, and her mother was a Medgar Evers College English professor and executive director of a nonprofit.[7] Actor Clark Gregg is her cousin.[8]

Garcia completed her primary education at P.S. 321 in Park Slope and graduated from Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan.[9][10] She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics and history from the University of Wisconsin–Madison.[11][12][13][14]

Career

Garcia started her career as an intern at the New York City Department of Sanitation, and then worked as a policy analyst at the New York City Department of Finance and as vice president at Appleseed, focusing on strategic planning and economic impact studies. She later served in several roles at the New York City Department of Environmental Protection during the Bloomberg administration, including as COO. There, she was responsible for the operation of the city's water supply, water and sewer system, and wastewater treatment plants. She implemented efficiency measures that led to $30 million reduction in the agency's expenses, and helped restore 42 pumping stations and a wastewater treatment plant that was affected by Hurricane Sandy.[15][16][13][17]

Commissioner of sanitation

Garcia as DSNY Commissioner, 2017
Garcia as DSNY Commissioner, 2017

Mayor Bill de Blasio appointed Garcia as the commissioner for the New York City Department of Sanitation on March 31, 2014. She was the second woman to serve in that role.[18] As commissioner, Garcia oversaw garbage collection, recycling collection, street cleaning, and snow removal. She pursued an ambitious zero waste to landfills agenda, and built the nation's largest residential curbside food scraps collection and composting program.[19] She also established a commercial franchise zoning system, an overhaul of commercial garbage pickup intended to make the industry safer for pedestrians, workers and the environment.[20]

During her tenure, Garcia also oversaw the construction of marine transfer stations, negotiated major disposal contracts, supported the passage of waste equity legislation, made internal systems paperless, launched a procurement program to support businesses owned by people of color and women, and started the NYC Food Waste Fair.[21]

Interim chair of NYCHA

Following widespread controversy and criticism after the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) admitted to falsely saying it had performed mandated inspections for lead paint that hadn't been done for years, de Blasio named Garcia senior advisor for citywide lead prevention in October 2018.[22][23] In that role, she coordinated citywide efforts to reduce childhood lead exposure, and produced LeadFreeNYC, a comprehensive plan to eradicate childhood lead exposure at NYCHA and in private homes.[24]

In February 2019, Garcia was appointed as CEO and interim chair of NYCHA.[4][25] In that role, she focused on further improving lead paint compliance, safety, and quality assurance, as well as long-term financial stability. During her tenure, NYCHA federal monitor Bart M. Schwartz claimed that Garcia had omitted material details while testifying about its lead paint scandal.[citation needed]

COVID-19 food czar

On March 22, 2020, Garcia was named "food czar" for New York's COVID-19 emergency response, and tasked with ensuring that every New Yorker in need has access to food and securing the city's food supply.[26][27] In her first month as food czar, she coordinated a massive effort to distribute free meals at more than 400 schools, and a home delivery program that hired 11,000 taxi drivers to provide 120,000 to 140,000 meals per day to seniors, COVID-vulnerable, and homebound New Yorkers.[28] The program cost the city $170 million and distributed 130 million meals during Garcia's tenure.[29]

2021 mayoral candidacy

Main article: 2021 New York City Democratic mayoral primary

On September 18, 2020, Garcia resigned from her roles as sanitation commissioner, interim NYCHA chair, and food czar due to the budget cuts to the Department of Sanitation and her intention to explore a run for New York City mayor.[30]

In May 2021, The New York Times and The New York Daily News endorsed Garcia.[3][31] Garcia finished in second place narrowly behind Eric Adams.

Director of New York State Operations

On September 1, 2021, Governor Kathy Hochul appointed Garcia to become director of state operations, succeeding Kelly Cummings. Hochul highlighted Garcia's work as the commissioner of the New York City Department of Sanitation, as CEO and interim chair of NYCHA, and as New York City's food czar.[32]

Personal life

Garcia married Jerry Garcia in 1995, changing her last name from McIver to Garcia. The couple later divorced. She has two children, Anna and Alex. Since 2014, Garcia has resided in Park Slope.[11][33]

References

  1. ^ John, Caroline (September 9, 2020). "NYC Sanitation Chief, Kathryn Garcia Steps Down, Considers Running for Mayor". Archived from the original on January 13, 2021. Retrieved January 11, 2021.
  2. ^ News, Eyewitness (September 6, 2020). "Up Close: Sanitation Commissioner talks run for New York City mayor". ABC7 New York. Archived from the original on March 4, 2021. Retrieved March 24, 2021.
  3. ^ a b The Editorial Board (May 10, 2021). "Opinion | Kathryn Garcia for Mayor". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on May 11, 2021. Retrieved May 11, 2021.
  4. ^ a b Ferré-Sadurní, Luis (February 6, 2019). "De Blasio's Unexpected Pick to Run Nycha: His Sanitation Chief". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on March 21, 2021. Retrieved March 24, 2021.
  5. ^ Allen, Bob (April 7, 2020). "NYC Food Czar Kathryn Garcia is Overseeing a Massive Supply Chain and Feeding the Hungry". Civil Eats. Archived from the original on February 5, 2021. Retrieved March 24, 2021.
  6. ^ "About Kathryn – KGforNYC". Archived from the original on May 21, 2021. Retrieved May 21, 2021.
  7. ^ "Problem Solver Ponders a New Challenge: Running for N.Y.C. Mayor". The New York Times. September 8, 2020. Archived from the original on June 1, 2021. Retrieved May 27, 2021.
  8. ^ Dorman, Caitlin (April 22, 2021). "Who are celebrities endorsing for New York City mayor?". City & State NY. Archived from the original on May 11, 2021. Retrieved May 11, 2021.
  9. ^ Johnson, Stephon (December 17, 2020). "Kathryn Garcia knows NYC...and how to fix it". New York Amsterdam News.
  10. ^ Jia, Isabella; Kang, James; Islam, Samia (December 28, 2020). "Alumni Association Hosts Discussion with New York City Mayoral Candidates Kathryn Garcia ('88) and Dianne Morales ('85)". The (Stuyvesant) Spectator.
  11. ^ a b Service, Total Food (September 6, 2017). "Garcia Brings Clear Vision To NYC's Sanitation Initiative With Inaugural Conference". Total Food Service. Archived from the original on May 13, 2021. Retrieved March 24, 2021.
  12. ^ KHAVKINE, RICHARD. "Trashing Mayor's Sanit Job-Cut Plans, Garcia Resigns Commissioner's Job". The Chief. Archived from the original on May 13, 2021. Retrieved March 24, 2021.
  13. ^ a b "Framework for Assessing Mayoral Control", Mayoral Control in NYC Schools, Boston, MA: Springer US, pp. 13–20, 2009, doi:10.1007/978-0-387-71143-0_2, ISBN 978-0-387-71141-6, archived from the original on June 14, 2021, retrieved March 24, 2021
  14. ^ "DSNY Commissioner Kathryn Garcia Talks NYC's Policies, Goals". Waste360. January 26, 2017. Archived from the original on May 13, 2021. Retrieved March 24, 2021.
  15. ^ Stewart, Nikita (March 15, 2014). "De Blasio Picks Sanitation Commissioner". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on January 14, 2021. Retrieved March 24, 2021.
  16. ^ Lestch, Corinne. "New Sanitation Department boss Kathryn Garcia: I 'love' garbage". nydailynews.com. Archived from the original on June 4, 2021. Retrieved March 24, 2021.
  17. ^ Khurshid, Samar. "'The City Needs a Crisis Manager': Kathryn Garcia Plots a Run for Mayor". Gotham Gazette. Archived from the original on January 22, 2021. Retrieved March 24, 2021.
  18. ^ "NYC gets 2nd female sanitation commish". Newsday. Archived from the original on October 30, 2020. Retrieved March 24, 2021.
  19. ^ Bryndum, S.; Muschler, R.; Nigussie, A.; Magid, J.; de Neergaard, A. (July 2017). "Reduced turning frequency and delayed poultry manure addition reduces N loss from sugarcane compost". Waste Management. 65: 169–177. doi:10.1016/j.wasman.2017.04.001. ISSN 0956-053X. PMID 28392123.
  20. ^ McDonough, Annie (March 30, 2021). "Kathryn Garcia, New York City's go-to fixer". City & State NY. Archived from the original on June 4, 2021. Retrieved June 13, 2021.
  21. ^ "New York sanitation commissioner warns against 'devastating' budget cuts ahead of resignation". Waste Dive. Archived from the original on March 19, 2021. Retrieved March 24, 2021.
  22. ^ Smith, Greg B. "NYCHA nightmare: More than 800 kids tainted by lead, de Blasio administration finally concedes". nydailynews.com. Archived from the original on February 25, 2021. Retrieved March 24, 2021.
  23. ^ "NYC Sanitation Chief Will Double As Lead-Poisoning Czar". New York City, NY Patch. October 19, 2018. Archived from the original on July 31, 2020. Retrieved March 24, 2021.
  24. ^ Goldenberg, Sally; Muoio, Danielle. "Budget cuts threaten sanitation commissioner's mayoral ambitions". Politico PRO. Retrieved March 24, 2021.
  25. ^ Toussaint, Kristin. "De Blasio announces Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia as NYCHA interim chair". Metro US. Archived from the original on November 24, 2020. Retrieved March 24, 2021.
  26. ^ Durkin, Erin. "Garcia's health plan leans on better food accessibility". Politico PRO. Retrieved June 13, 2021.
  27. ^ Gonen, Yoav; Chung, Christine (April 15, 2020). "Food Czar To Oversee Meal Delivery for Elderly After Early Stumbles". THE CITY. Archived from the original on June 5, 2021. Retrieved June 13, 2021.
  28. ^ "NYC's New Food Czar on Trying to Keep People Fed in a Pandemic Hot Spot". Food & Wine. Archived from the original on February 9, 2021. Retrieved March 24, 2021.
  29. ^ Cohen, Jason (February 24, 2021). "Mayoral candidate Kathryn Garcia discusses food insecurity in the south Bronx". Bronx Times. Retrieved June 29, 2021.
  30. ^ Rubinstein, Dana (September 8, 2020). "Kathryn Garcia, N.Y.C.'s sanitation commissioner, resigns to mull a run for mayor". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on June 2, 2021. Retrieved June 13, 2021.
  31. ^ Board, Daily News Editorial. "Make it Mayor Garcia: New Yorkers should choose Kathryn Garcia in the Democratic primary for NYC mayor". nydailynews.com. Archived from the original on May 21, 2021. Retrieved May 21, 2021.
  32. ^ "https://twitter.com/joncampbellgan/status/1433136303483375619". Twitter. Retrieved September 2, 2021. External link in |title= (help)
  33. ^ Robbins, Liz (January 9, 2015). "A Day of Calm for Kathryn Garcia". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on January 12, 2021. Retrieved March 24, 2021.