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July 20, 2010
by Rick Bell FAIA Executive Director AIA New York
Goldsmith

Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith.

Rick Bell

Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith was appointed by Mayor Bloomberg on 04.30.10 to serve as Deputy Mayor for Operations, overseeing, among other municipal agencies, the NYC Department of Buildings, the NYC Department of Transportation, and the Mayor’s Office of Long-Term Planning & Sustainability — where PlaNYC is authored. Yesterday he gave the first major speech of his tenure at a breakfast hosted by Crain’s New York Business. After a glowing introduction by Kathyrn Wilde, president and CEO of the Partnership for New York City, who highlighted his prior career as Mayor of Indianapolis, Deputy Mayor Goldsmith started by saying, “I had been writing a book and the research for it always led me back to NYC and the things that are happening here: innovation combined with a set of methods to make things better.”

Goldsmith spoke about how leaders can cut through bureaucracy to serve constituents: “If you want to do transformational change, you have to elbow your way through to it — it’s not a question of doing more efficiently the things that we shouldn’t be doing at all.” In talking about unused desk space, redundant city garages, and the 80 municipal data centers, he said that “modernization is not just about cost savings, but improving the conditions of work. We need to transform how we do our work.” Responding to questions from Erik Enquist of Crain’s and Michael Scotto from NY1, the Deputy Mayor addressed how he had tried to reform the building permit process in Indianapolis, criticizing sequential review by multiple entities. “Near the end of the process someone can say, ‘change something,’ that requires you to start over.” After praising DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and talking about how congestion pricing would have raised money while changing behavior, he concluded with: “change is what makes NYC a great place.”

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