ESDC Appoints Atlantic Yards Ombudsman


    After more than six months—and some gentle prompting from concerned residents—the ESDC finally made good on its promise to appoint an ombudsman to Atlantic Yards. The state announced yesterday that Forrest R. Taylor, who was City Council Speaker Gifford Miller’s chief of staff, would assume the role of acting as a liaison between government agencies, the public and Forest City Ratner for the mega-development. According to the ESDC’s press release, Taylor more recently served as a manager at a Harlem-based consulting firm called Prowess Initiatives & Analysis, a company that does not appear to have a website affiliated with its operations. (The Brooklyn Eagle notes that it is listed as a member of the National Minority Business Council.) A 2002 Times profile of Taylor, meanwhile, suggested that he relished being second in command to the Council Speaker (”If you want to be an elected official, go out and get yourself elected and then you can agree with yourself all the time,” he said) but that he could also be demanding in his own right: His prerequisites for assuming that position included a $161,800 salary, an office with a courtyard view, and a supply of single-malt Scotch. While Taylor’s current salary and booze supply have not been revealed, the new ombudsman said he would insure the community has access to current information and swift responses to questions and concerns. And if that ends up being true, we’re certainly willing to toast to it. In other AY-related personnel news yesterday, the Conflicts of Interest Board announced it was fining City Planning Commission member Dolly Williams $4,000 for voting in support of Atlantic Yards when she had a financial stake in the project. Williams is being replaced by CB 2 Chairwoman Shirley McRae.
    The AY Ombudsman Cometh, Finally, and the Questions Begin [AY Report]
    Atlantic Yards Ombudsman is Named [City Room]
    PUBLIC LIVES; Sparring With the Old Boss, on Behalf of the New [NY Times]
    Atlantic Yards Gets Ombudsman [Brooklyn Eagle]
    Yards-Linked Planner Fined, Successor Named [NY Daily News]
    For Atlantic Yards, Someone to Watch Over [Brownstoner]
    CBN to ESDC: Where the Hell’s The AY Ombudsman? [Brownstoner]
    Photo by Andrea Mohin for the New York Times.

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