Feniosky Peña-Mora has stepped down as commissioner of the New York City Department of Design and Construction (DDC), a position he has held since 2014. He will return to Columbia University as a professor, where he was previously the dean of the university’s engineering department.
The DDC oversees the design and construction of all of the city’s public buildings such as libraries, fire stations, and infrastructure projects like sewers and water mains. In March, Peña-Mora and Chief Architect Margaret O’Donoghue Castillo unveiled guiding principles for the revamped capital construction program Design and Construction Excellence 2.0.
In a letter obtained by DNAinfo, Peña-Mora wrote to his colleagues, “It has been my great honor to work with each and every one of you, and I will always cherish my days leading this wonderful agency.”
“Together we’ve also made great strides in project delivery, processing record numbers of payments and change orders faster than ever, which means we’re working more efficiently for our clients, consultants, and contractors,” Peña-Mora continued. “The agency’s successes have led to City government placing more faith in it, and adding new responsibilities.”
Mayor de Blasio offered the following statement:
I deeply appreciate Feniosky Peña-Mora’s extraordinary service to New York City. From his work awarding nearly $1.2 billion in M/WBE contracts, to instituting wide reforms that have already made the agency more responsive, to improving our response to Hurricane Sandy, he made our City a better place. He navigated the agency through a period of robust growth, overseeing more than 860 construction starts and completions valued at more than $9 billion—all while winning more than 80 design awards and helping 1,600 students participate in DDC engineering programs. This is impressive stuff. While I am sorry to see him go, we did know this day would come. Indeed, he put off his return to Columbia, where he is a tenured professor, for an additional year to continue to serve the city. As we search for an equally strong candidate to run this critical agency, I thank Feniosky Peña-Mora’s for his service.
He is the latest city official involved in the problem-riddled Build it Back program to step away, and also came under fire for his hiring of a councilman’s wife and for awarding city contracts in a quid-pro-quo for extremely positive press coverage.