One of Mayor Adams’ top advisors, Lorraine Grillo, announced Friday that she would step down from her post in the coming days, paving the way for a new first deputy mayor to take her place.
Grillo, who also served in a leadership capacity under both Mayor Bill de Blasio and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, got her start in city government in 1994 with the city’s School Construction Authority.
She worked for more than two decades, overseeing the construction of dozens of schools and gaining a reputation as an effective administrator.
Under Adams, she took on a much more important role, spearheading his efforts to make government more efficient and serving as a key advisor as he became acclimated to the new job during his first year in office as mayor.
“When the mayor approached me to take this job on, we both decided it would be a year,” she said on Friday.
“My job would be to lay the groundwork, to get the government moving. A few of these folks have never been in government before, so I just had to kind of lay it out, and they took over. And they’re doing great.”
Grillo did not make it precisely clear to whom she was referring to when she alluded to “a few of these folks,” but rumors have been swirling for months that Sheena Wright, Adams’ deputy mayor of strategic initiatives is in line to replace Grillo.
Before joining Adams’ administration, Wright served as president and CEO of the United Way of New York City. A review of her LinkedIn profile shows she did not serve in city government before working for the mayor.
In September, it was reported that Grillo was likely to step down; Politico confirmed that when it reported early Friday morning that Grillo would formally announce her resignation.
Her departure will come around the same time another top Adams’ advisor is set to leave. Adams’ Chief of Staff Frank Carone revealed in September that he’d go around the end of this year. Carone is both a personal friend of Adams and political advisor and is expected to help run Adams’ 2025 re-election campaign.
It is still not entirely clear who will replace Grillo and Carone, but sources with knowledge of the administration’s inner workings have said that Wright has been promised the first deputy mayor gig and has been pressing to take on the new role for weeks.
“Over this last year, First Deputy Mayor Grillo led a historic group of women Deputy Mayors to get stuff done and helped us write the first chapter of the Adams Administration,” Wright said in a written statement released by the mayor’s office. “As a colleague, mentor and friend, I will miss having Lorraine’s presence in City Hall.”
According to sources, possible replacements for Carone include Wright; James Oddo, who serves as chief of staff to Deputy Mayor Meera Joshi; Tiffany Raspberry, senior advisor for external affairs; and Camille Joseph Varlack, a partner at the law firm Bradford Edwards & Varlack.
An Adams’ spokesperson declined to offer specifics about who’s in line to replace Grillo and Carone.
“We’ll be making an announcement in the weeks ahead,” spokesman Fabien Levy said.