Cindy Rodriguez is the Urban Policy reporter for New York Public Radio.
New York, NY –
A former Lehman Brothers banker has been appointed to lead the New York City Housing Authority. Mayor Bloomberg says John Rhea's 20-year career in the private sector would equip him to increase transparency and secure the authority's finances. Rhea acknowledges he has no housing experience, but says he's led organizations as large and complex as the city's housing authority.
RHEA: I've also managed multi-billion dollar capital budgets which this agency is responsible for. I've managed hundreds of millions of dollars in annual budgets yet the most important piece is that I've lead people.
Over the past few years, large deficits have forced city housing officials to raise rents, lay off staff and postpone badly needed repairs in aging buildings. Four million dollars in federal stimulus funds will help alleviate some of that. Rhea will be replacing Tino Hernandez who returned to the non-profit sector last year.