Mayor-elect Adams Announces Appointments for Commissioners of HRA, OMB, DOF, and DCAS, as Well as Communications Director and Executive Director of the Office of Ethnic and Community Media

Mayor-elect Adams Announces Appointments for Commissioners of HRA, OMB, DOF, and DCAS, as Well as Communications Director and Executive Director of the Office of Ethnic and Community Media

Mayor elect Eric Adams announces newest members of his administration during a press conference in Midtown Manhattan. – New York City, NY – December 21, 2021 (Shutterstock)

New York, NY – Today, Mayor-elect Adams announced a slate of appointments for his incoming administration. The appointees – one of whom will head a newly-created Mayor’s Office – reflect Mayor-elect Adams’ stated commitment to building a team that looks like the people it serves and ensuring that he can deliver on his vision for a safer, more prosperous, and more equitable city for all.

Jacques Jiha, Ph.D., will continue to serve as Director of the Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Jiha will be responsible for implementing the Mayor-elect’s fiscal and budgetary vision, including his plan to mandate efficiency across agencies and ensure taxpayer dollars are being spent wisely. He will also work with the Mayor to develop Expense and Capital Budgets that invest in his strategic priorities and build a robust economic recovery from COVID-19.

Preston Niblack will serve as Commissioner of the Department of Finance (DOF). As Commissioner, Niblack will be responsible for overseeing the collection of tax revenue, assessing property values, and ensuring the City’s overall fiscal health.

Gary Jenkins will serve as Commissioner of the Human Resources Administration (HRA). Jenkins will be tasked with managing the city’s social services programs. As a stalwart of the agency, he will be entrusted with ensuring New Yorkers in need can access services reliably and efficiently, providing broad-based economic opportunity, and reducing inequality.

Dawn Pinnock will serve as Commissioner of the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS). In that role, she will deepen and expand the agency’s mission of supporting the day-to-day operations of City government and ensuring all municipal employees have the resources they need to carry out their jobs effectively.

Maxwell Young will serve as Communications Director. Young is the chief public affairs officer at Everytown for Gun Safety, as well as a former senior adviser to Sen. Charles Schumer and chief external affairs officer at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

José Bayona will serve as the inaugural Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office of Ethnic and Community Media. The office was established by Local Law 83, which passed the City Council in June 2021. It aims to promote City services and programs through partnerships and campaigns with a diverse array of media outlets that serve people across the five boroughs, particularly those living in immigrant communities and communities with a high proportion of people who do not speak English as a first language.

Sherif Soliman will serve as the Director of the Mayor’s Office of Policy and Planning. In that role, Soliman will oversee Mayor Adams’ wide-ranging policy portfolio.

In his announcement, Adams highlighted the talent, commitment, and experience that each appointee will bring to their respective roles.

“Our administration is assembling a team of seasoned public servants who are battle-tested and ready to get to work on behalf of the people of this city. Throughout the transition, we have sought out candidates who don’t just have the right credentials, but also possess the emotional intelligence necessary to understand and empathize with the plight of everyday New Yorkers. These appointments announced today will ensure we are ready to meet the challenges this city faces, and I thank all the appointees for answering the call to service,” said Mayor-elect Adams.

“I am honored that Mayor-elect Adams has appointed me to continue to serve New Yorkers as their Budget Director and has entrusted me to fund the priorities that support his vision for this great city. I remain committed to strong fiscal management as we continue the fight against COVID-19 and push the city towards a robust and vibrant recovery across every community in every borough,” said Budget Director Jacques Jiha.

“I want to thank the Mayor-elect for putting his faith in me to lead the Department of Finance. This City, which I’ve been fortunate to service in other capacities for over two decades, has always come back stronger from challenging times. I look forward to hitting the ground running with the talented team at DOF to help advance Mayor Adams’ agenda as the City continues its recovery from COVID-19,” said Preston Niblack, Deputy City Comptroller for Budget.

“I am humbled and honored to be appointed by Mayor-elect Eric Adams,” said HRA Administrator Gary Jenkins. “From my time working on HRA’s frontlines to most recently serving as HRA Administrator, it has been my mission to continually improve how we support New Yorkers in need. I know how dedicated this Agency and our staff are and how much we’ve accomplished, but I also know how much there is to be done. I look forward to working collaboratively with partners across government to implement the Mayor-elect’s vision — strengthening the social safety net, streamlining service delivery, and maximizing our relationships with State and Federal partners to get the funding New Yorkers need. Together, we will build on the progress we have made to tackle poverty and inequality, prevent homelessness, and ensure New Yorkers know they can depend on their City if hardship hits.”

“I would like to thank Mayor-elect Eric Adams for the trust he has placed in me and for the opportunity to serve his administration,” said Dawn M. Pinnock, Acting Commissioner of the NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services. “DCAS plays a vital role in making city government work for all New Yorkers, and our agency will support the mayor-elect’s vision for a city government that is efficient and effective.”

“New York City is in my bones. I was born in New York, I grew up in New York, and will live in New York my entire life. I believe Mayor Adams is going to be the leader we need to move this city forward, to make it even better for all of its residents, in both good times and bad. It is a thrill to have this opportunity to help him build and share his vision for the future, while working day and night on behalf of all New Yorkers,” said Maxwell Young, incoming Communications Director.

“The new Mayor’s Office of Ethnic and Community Media, the first one of its kind in our country, is a historic recognition of the hard work of hundreds of ethnic and community media outlets that are the voice of millions of immigrants, working-class and every day New Yorkers living in our communities throughout this city,” said José Bayona, Senior Adviser and incoming Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office of Ethnic and Community Media. “I deeply thank Mayor-elect Eric Adams for the opportunity to lead this newly-created Office in his administration and proudly serve the most diverse city in the world.”

​​”As a lifelong New Yorker, I’ve always believed in the virtue of public service and the opportunity it provides to deliver transformative change. It is truly rewarding to be able to craft sound policy that will uplift the lives of so many, but the privilege of doing it from the seat of government in your hometown that is known for being a laboratory for innovative policy takes it to a whole new level,” said Sherif Soliman, incoming Director of the Mayor’s Office of Policy and Planning. “I am deeply grateful to Mayor-elect Adams for the opportunity to continue to serve New Yorkers in his administration and look forward to working alongside him and the talented team that he has assembled to move our City forward.”

About Jacques Jiha, Ph.D.
Jacques Jiha, Ph.D., serves as Director of the New York City Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget. In this role, he oversees New York City’s fiscal policy, including the development of the Expense and Capital Budgets, the City’s bond and borrowing program, and the budgets of more than 90 City agencies and entities. OMB is also responsible for evaluating the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of City services and proposals, and providing vital information to government officials on the local, national, and world economies. As Budget Director, he will continue to help lead New York City out of the financial crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic through strong fiscal management.

Previously he served as Commissioner of the Department of Finance, responsible for leading an agency that collects more than $40 billion annually in revenue for the city and assesses over 1.1 million properties with a total combined value of $1.3 trillion. He led the transformation of the Department of Finance into a dynamic, forward-looking, and customer-centric agency, and under his leadership the City reformed and modernized its corporate tax laws, reducing taxes for many small businesses, and introduced many new services for its customers.

Prior to becoming Commissioner of the Department of Finance, Director Jiha was the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer of Earl G. Graves, Ltd., a multi-media company with properties in print and digital media. Previously, he served as Deputy Comptroller for Pension Investment and Public Finance. As the state’s chief investment officer, he oversaw the New York State Common Retirement Fund, the New York’s College Savings Program and the state’s short-term investment pool. Prior to this, he served as Deputy Comptroller for Nassau County, Deputy Comptroller for Budget and Chief Economist for the New York City Office of the Comptroller, Executive Director of the New York State Legislative Tax Study Commission, and Principal Economist for the New York State Assembly Committee on Ways and Means.

A staunch advocate of public service, Director Jiha served on a number of government and not-for-profit boards, including the Ronald McDonald House of New York, the Public Health Solutions and the Dormitory Authority of New York State.

Director Jiha holds a Ph.D. and a master’s degree in economics from the New School for Social Research and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Fordham University.

About Gary Jenkins
Gary Jenkins currently serves as Administrator for HRA. As First Deputy Commissioner of HRA, Jenkins directly oversaw the Homelessness Prevention Administration, Employment Services, the Office of Child Support Services, and the Fair Fares Program. In his more than 30 years with HRA, Jenkins has held positions of leadership in numerous HRA program areas including the Medicaid Program and Temporary Cash Assistance and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Jenkins received a Master’s in Public Administration from Metropolitan College of New York and a Bachelor of Arts from CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice. He resides in Brooklyn, New York with his wife and three daughters.

About Preston Niblack
Preston Niblack currently serves as Deputy City Comptroller for Budget. As Deputy Comptroller for Budget, Preston Niblack is responsible for overseeing the work of the Budget Bureau including monitoring of New York City’s fiscal and cash position, analyzing and reporting on the City budget, and issuing reports on various budgetary and economic issues.

Prior to joining the Comptroller’s Office, Mr. Niblack served as Director of the Finance Division for the New York City Council for six years under Speaker Christine Quinn. In this capacity, he oversaw a staff of 30 in their annual budget review, budget approval process, and fiscal analyses of legislation and other proposals. He was also the lead negotiator on the City budget on behalf of the City Council, and developed legislative and policy initiatives in budget and tax policy, housing, economic development, and other areas.

Prior to this role, Mr. Niblack was Deputy Director at the New York City Independent Budget Office for eight years providing fiscal oversight and analysis of the City budget. Most recently, Preston served as Senior Advisor within the New York City Government & Regulatory Division of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP.

Mr. Niblack has a Ph.D. and MPA in Policy Sciences from the University of Maryland School of Public Policy and a B.A. from Middlebury College.

About Dawn Pinnock
As a proud native New Yorker, Dawn M. Pinnock is a transformative leader with more than two decades of experience at some of New York City’s largest municipal agencies. Since November, Pinnock has served as Acting Commissioner for the NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS). Prior to serving as the agency’s Acting Commissioner, she served as Executive Deputy Commissioner, leading the agency’s people-centered divisions, including Administration, Citywide Equity and Inclusion, Citywide Human Capital, and Internal Audit. In this position, she maintained Citywide oversight of services provided to the Human Resources, Equal Employment Opportunity, and Diversity and Inclusion departments serving at every City agency. During her time at DCAS, Pinnock previously served as the Deputy Commissioner for Human Capital, overseeing all aspects of civil service administration and human resources operations.

During her tenure at DCAS, Acting Commissioner Pinnock led teams that developed the City’s remote work policy, facilitated the City’s return to office, launched mandatory sexual harassment training for over 360,000 City employees, launched the agency’s Race Equity Initiative, and made the City’s civil service process more accessible to current and potential City employees.

Prior to joining DCAS, Pinnock served as the Vice President of Human Resources at New York City Transit and as the Director of Human Resources at the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). She holds a Master of Science in Urban Policy Analysis and Management from The New School for Social Research and a Bachelor of Business Administration from Baruch College. She is a Certified Human Resource Professional, and a member of both the Association for Talent Development and the Society of Human Resource Management.

About José Bayona
José Bayona is a bilingual communication professional with ample experience in government affairs and communications, and the digital, print, and broadcast media industries. Currently, he is a Senior Adviser for mayor-elect Eric Adams and a member of the Transition committee. Before, he served as spokesperson for Mayor Bill de Blasio and held the title of Director of Community and Ethnic Media and Deputy Press Secretary at the Mayor’s Office where he managed communications for 20 City agencies, including the Administration for Children’s Services, Department of Youth & Community Development, NYC 2020 Census Office, Mayor’s Office of Community Affairs, Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, Mayor’s Office of International Affairs, Board of Elections, Democracy NYC, Civic Engagement Commission, Charter Revision Commission, NYC Department of Veteran Services.

At City Hall, Bayona also supervised the implementation of the Executive Order 47, which required City agencies to spend at least half of their annual print and digital advertising budget on Community and Ethnic media and managed the City’s Community and Ethnic Media directory for advertising purposes, which includes more than 350 outlets citywide.

Bayona spent most of his journalism years at the NY Daily News where he started as community reporter for the Spanish weekly Hora Hispana. Later, he was a writer for NY1 Noticias and Metro Editor for El Diario before getting into City government as deputy press secretary for the Department of Transportation and press secretary for the Administration for Children’s Services. He has worked with non-profit organizations in creating their communications strategy, and as an adjunct professor for Hofstra University and CUNY’s Baruch College.

A native from Colombia with Venezuelan roots, Bayona holds an M.A. in Journalism from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism – Urban and Interactive reporting concentrations – and graduated Cum Laude from the CUNY Baccalaureate Program in Journalism and Political Science at Baruch College. He has lived in Queens since he arrived in New York City 25 years ago looking for a better future.

About Maxwell Young
Maxwell Young currently serves as the Chief Public Affairs Officer at Everytown for Gun Safety, bringing deep expertise in communications, public policy, and politics to the work he does. He has been a senior executive at a number of high-profile organizations, including the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the Rockefeller Foundation and the office of Senate Minority Leader Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY). Max spent nearly seven years working for Senator Schumer in a variety of senior positions, including Communications Director and Deputy State Director. In 2014 he left Capitol Hill to help the Rockefeller Foundation build 100 Resilient Cities – a new global organization created to assist cities around the world in developing long term strategies to address the social, economic and physical challenges they face.

About Sherif Soliman
Sherif Soliman was appointed commissioner of the New York City Department of Finance by Mayor Bill de Blasio on December 30, 2020, following a career of more than two decades in public service. As Finance Commissioner, Soliman was responsible for leading an agency that collects more than $40 billion annually in revenue for the City and assesses over 1.1 million properties with a total combined value of $1.3 trillion.

Before his appointment as Finance Commissioner, Soliman served as Chief of Staff for the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Operations, where he oversaw the functions of over 20 agencies and offices. Soliman played a key leadership role in the City’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, overseeing the development and management of the Open Streets and Open Restaurant programs, advising on workforce policies including the transition to work-from- home, and leading negotiations on state legislation to provide death benefits to the survivors of City employees who have died of COVID-19.

Soliman previously served as Senior Advisor to the First Deputy Mayor, where he oversaw a portfolio including tax policy, labor and pension policy, and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. During his time as Senior Advisor, Soliman managed the New York City Advisory Commission on Property Tax Reform, a role he continued during his tenure as Finance Commissioner and as an ex-officio member of the Commission. Soliman was also the Administration’s lead in securing new revenue for the MTA capital plan, in a value capture agreement with the MTA on the redevelopment of its old headquarters, and in the enactment of State law to mitigate the impact of the cap on the State and Local Tax (SALT) deduction. Soliman also led negotiations on Project Labor Agreements that cover billions of dollars in
public construction work.

In the first term of the de Blasio Administration, Soliman served as Director of State Legislative Affairs, where he was the Administration’s s chief representative in Albany and secured the enactment of many priorities, including the nation-leading universal pre-kindergarten program, life-saving Vision Zero initiatives such as speed cameras and lower speed limits, and expanded opportunities for Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises. Soliman also coordinated the passage of corporate tax reform; led efforts to expand tax exemptions for senior and disabled homeowners, enhance the NYC Rent Freeze Program for senior and disabled renters, and create a property tax abatement for homeowners impacted by Hurricane Sandy; and ensured passage of several extensions of the City’s tax and finance authority. Prior to joining the administration, he served as director of communications for the New York City Employees’ Retirement System and chief of staff for Assemblyman Eric Vitaliano, former chair of the Assembly Governmental Employees Committee.

Soliman received his bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the State University of New York College at Oneonta. He is a lifelong New Yorker and lives in Manhattan with his wife Hanan Thabet, and children, Lenna and Ziyad.

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