Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Atlantic Yards Gets an Ombudsperson

The wait is over. The Empire State Development Corporation has finally hired an ombudsperson to oversee the Atlantic Yards project. Atlantic Yards watchers point out (see image from No Land Grab) that it took 203 days from promise to announcement to get the ombudsperson on the job. The ombudsperson is Forrest Taylor. The ESDC's press release says:
Mr. Taylor, who has a long and distinguished background in the public and private sectors, will be the dedicated project coordinator and liaison between ESDC, elected officials, community representatives and the public.

“Understanding and addressing the community’s concerns are a high priority for this administration. We believe this important development project will help transform Brooklyn by bringing much-needed housing, transit improvements, open space and jobs to the downtown area,” said Avi Schick, President and COO of ESDC. “Forrest’s background in government, transportation and community affairs makes him ideally suited to provide the public with direct information and direct access to the state and the developer.”

Most recently, Mr. Taylor served as manager of Prowess Initiatives and Analysis, a boutique firm advising corporate clients on government relations and corporate communications. He has also held a number of government posts, including chief of staff to the City Council president, deputy executive director for operations for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and chief of staff for the deputy mayor for finance and economic development.
As always, Atlantic Yards Report has complete coverage of the new hire. One suspects that Mr. Taylor is only the first in what will be a long line of ombudspeople, given the long timeline of the project and the likely contentious nature of the post.



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