Thursday, June 22, 2017

Pugh names new department heads

Pugh named Janet Abrahams to be the executive director of the Housing Authority of Baltimore City, She was previously the Vice President of Operations, overseeing New York City Housing Authority’s innovative Optimal Property Management Department (OPMD), now known as NextGeneration Operations since September 2015. Prior to joining NYCHA, Ms. Abrahams served for almost 10 years as Chief Operating Officer at the Newark Housing Authority, the eleventh largest public housing authority in the nation, where she planned, executed and managed all agency operations. Before joining the Newark Housing Authority, Ms. Abrahams served as Assistant Director of Operations at the Chicago Housing Authority
Pugh announces new department heads:
From left: Pourciau, Abrahams, Braverman (Photo: Baltimore Brew)

Michael Braverman who was the acting Commissioner of the combined agency after Graziano resigned will run the Department of Housing and Community Development. He has held various city jobs over a 30-year career and is well respected in the community.

After many months of vacancy which began under Mayor Rawlings Blake, The Department of Transportation (BCDOT) will now have a Director again. Several decisions such as whether St Paul and Calvert Streets should be converted to two way traffic and whether the traffic dogleg at the McKeldin Plaza could be closed remained on the pile of undecided issues. The department  will be headed by Michelle Pourciau, who previously ran the DOT of the District of Columbia, starting in 2006 as acting director. She was not appointed as director in the end and left DDOT  changing over to the private sector as vice president for transportation at the McKissack & McKissack of Washington, Inc. McKissack & McKissack of Washington, Inc. is a minority and woman-owned business which provides architectural, environmental engineering and program management services. The company has offices in Chicago, Baltimore, Los Angeles, Miami, Atlanta and Orlando. McKissack & McKissack of Washington was founded by Deryl McKissack in 1990 and is headquartered in Washington, DC.

Pourciau has 30 years of transportation experience mostly in the District of Columbia in DPW and in D-DOT. At D-DOT she earned $128,000 before she left. Most recently, i.e. in March of this year she had been appointed as Executive Director of External Affairs for the University of the District of Columbia (UDC). She has undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Michigan and Howard University and studied at the Kennedy School of Government. In addition to representing the University of the District of Columbia on the Van Ness Main Street board, she was a long time neighbor to the Van Ness community. Pugh joked that Pourciau had worked on bike lanes in DC. Baltimore's bike lanes became the topic of some discontent after Pugh decided that installed design on Cantons Potomac Street had not been properly vetted by BCDOT and should be in part removed. That change has been halted by a court injunction brought forth by Bikemore.

There are high hopes that a progressive DOT director should lead Baltimore into a less car-centric future. It remains to be seen if Ms Pourciau can live up to those hopes. Material online is sparse, she doesn't seem to have left a large body of published work. DDOT has certainly done good work in recent years converting the District into a more bike, pedestrian and transit friendly environment. 

Klaus Philipsen, FAIA

The article was modified and updated. 

SUN video of the public introduction
Brew article

No comments:

Post a Comment