Jimmy Oddo to head NYC Department of Buildings
The former Staten Island borough president will take over following former City Council Member Eric Ulrich’s resignation from the post.
Jimmy Oddo, former Staten Island borough president, will be appointed commissioner of the New York City Department of Buildings, according to two sources familiar with the decision.
It’s an internal move within Mayor Eric Adams’ administration. Oddo currently serves as chief of staff to Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi.
Oddo, a Republican, will be replacing another Republican on the job. Former City Council member Eric Ulrich held the job for six months before resigning last November, after it was reported that he was being questioned in connection to an illegal gambling investigation by the Manhattan district attorney’s office. Ulrich hasn’t been charged with any crime.
Kazimir Vilenchik has been serving as acting commissioner for the past six months. He was previously first deputy commissioner.
Oddo knows politics, but he isn’t an expert when it comes to construction codes. The City Council removed a requirement that the city’s building commissioner had to be a licensed architect or engineer back in 2008. Ulrich, similarly, was a politician first, but his approach to the job was praised by many in the industry, who felt the agency was too tied up in bureaucracy.
“I think Jimmy is the right person at the right time for the agency,” said one construction industry insider. “He will be visionary for the agency, and that’s been lacking.”
It’s a big move for Oddo, who has been clear that his dream job is deputy mayor for operations. Two City Hall insiders suggested that Oddo probably doesn’t even want to lead the agency, but “I can imagine them begging him to do it,” said one.
The appointment comes at a difficult moment for the agency.
Last week, a nearly 100-year-old parking garage in Lower Manhattan collapsed, killing one person and injuring seven others. Buildings Department inspectors and Fire Department officials responded to the disaster. Vilenchik noted at the time that the building had four open violations, but it was unclear if they contributed to the collapse.
And the DOB will have a major role in ensuring compliance with Local Law 97, which puts limits on buildings’ carbon emissions starting Jan. 1, 2024, with more drastic limits planned in 2030 and 2050. That law has earned major pushback from building owners and the real estate industry at large.
“There’s a looming disaster with Local Law 97, and they need somebody of his stature to clean it up,” said the City Hall insider.
Adams’ press office declined to comment. Oddo did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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