De Blasio Makes New Appointments to HHS, OMB
Yesterday, Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) announced the appointment of two new officials to the Department of Health + Human Services (HHS) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
De Blasio has appointed Melanie Hartzog as Deputy Mayor for HHS; in that role, she will help guide the City’s response to the COVID-19 crisis and ensure that the City’s social services continue to operate smoothly. He has also appointed Jacques Jiha as Director of the Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget; in that position, she will help guide New York out of the pandemic-induced fiscal crisis.
“I am pleased to appoint two of our City’s most hard-working and passionate public servants to take on even bigger roles as we continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said de Blasio. “Melanie and Jacques have the experience and vision necessary to support New Yorkers during this crisis and guide our City through financial hardship. Thanks to them, New Yorkers can expect an even brighter future.”
Chin Calls on DFTA to Delay Senior Center RFP
Councilmember Margaret Chin (D-Battery Park City, Chinatown) released a statement yesterday, calling on the Department for the Aging (DFTA) to revise the Senior Center Concept Paper and delay the request for proposal (RFP) until Fiscal Year 2023.
Chin argued that the concept paper failed to address food insecurity, lack of funding, and other issues. She also said that, given the uncertainty in how the pandemic will progress in the coming months, it is unreasonable to expect senior centers to come up with a concrete RFP at this time.
“Senior centers have been at the forefront of serving the most vulnerable and at-risk New Yorkers during this pandemic,” said Chin. “Over the course of a few weeks, providers quickly navigated obstacles in order to fit programming with the necessary health and safety guidelines. In the midst of ongoing uncertainty, DFTA is now unreasonably asking providers to submit RFPs that will dramatically restructure the system for years to come. Senior center providers cannot efficiently complete an RFP about the future, when DFTA has failed to address concerns about senior centers of the present. The recent turmoil of DOE school reopening should provide an example to DFTA of the result of lacking transparency and coordination. In order to avoid an instance like this from happening with senior centers, I urge DFTA and the administration to revise the concept paper and delay the RFP until FY23.”
James Announces Rejection of Trump Admin’s Attempt to Slash Food Assistance
Yesterday, New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) announced that a federal court ruling has permanently blocked the Trump Administration from restricting access to food assistance by changing the rules for the Supplementary Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
Last January, James filed suit to challenge the USDA’s new rule that would limit the states’ power to extend SNAP benefits past three months for certain adults – specifically, unemployed adults aged 18 to 49 who are not disabled or raising children. Two months later, she and District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine (D) secured a preliminary injunction that prevented the rule from going into effect.
If it had gone into effect, said James, it would have denied food assistance to hundreds of thousands of Americans.
“At a time of national crisis, this decision is a win for common sense and basic human decency,” said James. “This Trump Administration rule was cruel to its core and ran counter to who we are and what we represent as a nation. If implemented, this rule would have not only made it harder for thousands to feed their families and risk them going hungry, but would have exacerbated the public health crisis we face and the economic recession we are still in the midst of under President Trump’s lack of leadership. I thank Attorney General Racine for his partnership and dedication to helping us ensure this rule will never go into effect.”