New Commissioner Chosen for NYC Department of Buildings

"Melanie La Rocca's experiences managing complex projects have given her a bird's-eye view of the construction industry, which will be essential to helping her ensure the Department of Buildings continues to guard the safety of every worker on every job site across the city," said Deputy Mayor for Operations Laura Anglin.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has appointed Melanie La Rocca as commissioner of the Department of Buildings, which regulates the city's real estate and construction industries and enforced laws to protect tenants from construction harassment. The department regulates and promotes the safe and lawful use of nearly 1.1 million buildings and more than 45,000 active construction sites in New York City. She will begin work on June 3.

La Rocca currently is vice president of development and external affairs at the School Construction Authority, where she oversees the Real Estate Group and all site development, as well as design and construction services and special projects. She works closely with key stakeholders that include the Department of Buildings to identify potential school sites and develop plans to construct new facilities for New York City students. In the past eight years, the SCA has never missed a school opening, according to de Blasio's announcement.

"Construction workers are the backbone of our growing city, and the Department of Buildings is the city's frontline defense to ensure safety on every job site," the mayor said. "I am confident that Melanie La Rocca's experience and strong ties in our community will ensure she continues strengthening the department's role as an agency that looks out for the safety of all New Yorkers."

"As a life-long New Yorker, I understand how the construction industry plays a key role in ensuring New York City adapts to the changing needs of our business and local communities," said La Rocca. "I know first-hand what it takes to deliver a high-quality project in a fast-paced environment, and I understand the need to connect with all stakeholders, especially with members of the community. I want to thank Mayor de Blasio and Deputy Mayor Anglin for the opportunity to lead the agency and continue its mission to strengthen protections for workers while building bridges with key stakeholders in one of the city's biggest industries."

"The Department of Buildings plays a critical role in the development of New York City, and it is necessary to have a leader there who understands all the moving parts," said Deputy Mayor for Operations Laura Anglin. "Melanie La Rocca's experiences managing complex projects have given her a bird's-eye view of the construction industry, which will be essential to helping her ensure the Department of Buildings continues to guard the safety of every worker on every job site across the city."

"In the five years since Melanie has been a part of the SCA team, I've asked her to take on a larger, more direct role in the authority's operations, and she has excelled in all aspects of the job," said Lorraine Grillo, president and CEO of the New York City School Construction Authority and Commissioner of the Department of Design and Construction. "She is bright, eminently qualified, and there is no one better suited to take the helm at the Department of Buildings and spearhead the agency's mission to enhance the safety of everyone that builds, works, and lives in New York City."

"The iconic New York City skyline was built on the backs of laborers, and we are encouraged by the Department of Buildings' new regulations to hold accountable bad actors who put at risk the safety and security of construction workers," said Pat Purcell, executive director of the NYS/GNY Laborers Education Fund. "We are pleased to see that Mayor de Blasio has appointed Melanie La Rocca to the agency, given her strong connections to our community and her track record of leading organizations to create significant projects in a timely manner."

"Melanie La Rocca is an outstanding choice. She has been an effective and progressive leader at the SCA and will bring those qualities to an agency that can have a positive impact on the built environment," added Louis J. Coletti, president and CEO of the Building Trades Employers' Association of New York.

"NYCOSH congratulates Melanie La Rocca in her new role as commissioner of the Department of Buildings and is looking forward to working closely with the Department of Buildings to ensure the safety of New York City's workers. Given an increase in construction injuries reported by the DOB, we recognize that the DOB's work is essential to safeguarding workers and the general public from safety and health violations. Having a strong worker advocate at the helm is essential to the agency's success in improving construction safety for all New Yorkers," said Charlene Obernauer, executive director of the New York Committee for Occupational Safety & Health (NYCOSH).

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