John Palmieri — Courtesy: Governor’s Office/Tim Larsen
By Joshua Burd
The former head of the state Casino Reinvestment Development Authority is joining Newark City Hall, where he will serve in a newly created position tied to economic development.
Newark Mayor Ras Baraka said Friday that he has appointed John Palmieri as deputy mayor for economic growth, transportation and infrastructure. In the role, he will oversee the administration’s involvement in growth issues not related to specific development projects, such as the city’s network of high-speed fiber optic cable, the PATH train extension and revitalizing Newark Penn Station and physical infrastructure.
Palmieri will also serve as the primary contact person for economic issues when working with or responding to inquiries from internal and external contacts, the city said in a news release. He will advise Baraka on emerging and existing development issues and present to local civic and business groups on proposed economic development agreements.
“Newark’s success in attracting investment, construction and affordable housing opportunities requires attention to development issues beyond real estate and to assuring that all development is inclusive,” Baraka said in a prepared statement. “Newark is moving forward at an unprecedented pace and our success in attracting investment, development, and affordable housing opportunities requires new positions to fully address the city’s growth.”
The city also announced Friday that acting Deputy Mayor of Economic and Housing Development Carmelo Garcia will be named acting Director of Economic Development, pending confirmation by the Municipal Council to a permanent role. The city, meantime has created a second new position known as manager of opportunities and affordability, which will oversee implementation of its inclusionary zoning ordinance, collaborate with minority co-developers on projects and serve as the chair of inclusionary development.
The manager of opportunities and affordability will also be responsible for cataloging affordable housing, creating a database that will be available digitally for residents, while working with Newark residents seeking affordable housing. Baraka said the position is part of an effort to implement the city’s new tax abatement law, which requires developer collaboration with minority and women contractors, while facilitating co-development in overlooked neighborhoods.
“These new positions give us greater flexibility to work on infrastructure, affordability and other growth issues with developers and the Newark Community Economic Development Corp., community groups, major business partners and anchor partners,” Baraka said. “Today’s announcement is another step forward to ensure that all residents in every neighborhood will benefit from Newark’s prosperity.”