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Who will fill Sally's shoes?

While Sally Hernandez-Pinero settles in as the new chair of the New York City Housing Authority, the office of Deputy Mayor for Finance and Economic Development is now officially empty with no apparent successor in the wings.

Late last year, Pinero informed the mayor she wanted to leave her deputy mayorship for a less time-demanding position. Pinero was asked to head the Housing Authority last week when its former chief, Laura Blackburne, resigned after charges she abused agency funds.

The mayor's top choice for Hernandez-Pinero's job is said to be former banker Barry J. Sullivan. Until recently, sources close to City Hall said, the delay in naming him was due to the fact that Sullivan did not want to start until the summer because of his severance deal with First Chicago Corp., from which he took early retirement. Onlookers now say the mayor may be wanting to avoid further scandal in his administration. The city's Department of Investigation background check, which has not yet begun, is expected to focus on Sullivan's alleged involvement with First Chicago executives in betting on college basketball games. Sullivan is expected, though, to come through the investigation without a problem. In addition to the Laura Blackburne resignation, the mayor is facing a campaign finance investigation.

Carl Weisbrod, president of the Economic Development Corporation, has been instructed by the mayor to "oversee and coordinate" the entities of the agency until a new deputy mayor is named, according to an EDC spokesperson.

Although it is foreseen that the mayor will choose an individual firmly based in the private sector who has a knowledge of city government, Weisbrod, who formerly headed the 42nd Street Development Corporation, was mentioned as a possible public-sector candidate for the job.

Among the private-sector choices were: Richard Altman, vice chairman of the Blackstone Group; Arthur Levitt Jr, head of Levitt Media Co. and chairman of the mayor's Management Task Force Committee on Incentive and Tax Policy; and Ronald Gault, director of Public Finance with First Boston Corporation.

Last week Pinero got a quick orientation to the problems in city housing. Roughly 100 protestors, mainly from public housing in Far Rockaway, Queens, crowded the waiting area of Pinero's office on her second day on the job to demand better repairs, maintenance, and security. They were not granted an audience with Hernandez-Pinero, however. After two hours, one of the Housing chief's deputies met with the protestors. Hernandez-Pinero is expected to travel with Mayor Dinkins to Washington, D.C. to meet Housing and Urban Development Secretary Jack Kemp and assure him spending is under control. The $1.3 billion agency is the largest in the nation.
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Title Annotation:Sally Hernandez-Pinero's former position as Deputy Mayor for Finance and Economic Development
Author:Fitzgerald, Therese
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Mar 4, 1992
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