Volume 23, Number 7| The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | June 25 - July 1, 2010
Horwitz to lead B.P.C.A. in new direction
By Aline Reynolds
The Battery Park City Authority is altering its direction, moving from a development corporation to a management corporation. The move is evident as the Authority hired Gayle Horwitz to serve as the new Chief Operating Officer of the authority, as of June 21.
“Having a C.O.O. who has a very strong financial and auditing background complements the Authority’s needs as its focus changes somewhat,” said James Cavanaugh, C.E.O. and President of the authority and former C.O.O. from 2004 until 2005.
The C.O.O. position, one of 15 that make up the Authority, has been left vacant ever since, prompting the need for a second-in-command officer.
“Jim needs a set of eyes and ears, someone getting down to the nitty gritty to make things happen,” Horwitz said.
As C.O.O., Horwitz’s goal is to preserve the authority’s fiscal integrity by achieving cost savings that will increase revenue for the city. Maintaining B.P.C. residents’ quality of life is also on Horwitz’s priority list. “I plan on maintaining the excellent level of service for the residents and people who live, work in and visit the area,” she said.
The B.P.C.A. is a state-run, public benefit corporation whose excess revenues go to the city. Some of these funds help finance affordable housing and housing preservation and development.
Horwitz was formerly the First Deputy Comptroller for the City Comptroller’s Office, where she managed the City’s accounting procedures, settled claims and raised funds through debt insurance. She also served as the office’s Chief Procurement Officer, overseeing the purchases of goods and services and determining the agency’s cost-saving measures.
With nearly 20 years of experience working in the New York City government behind her, Horwitz knows the ins and outs of public service.
“I had some brief stints in the private sector, but I ended up returning to working in the government,” she said. “It’s what I love to do and where I felt I could have the most impact, and where my work meant something to a lot of people.”
Horwitz got her first taste of the government workplace as a rising junior at Mount Holyoke college, when she worked as a Congressional Intern for Congressman Matthew F. McHugh in D.C. She also worked as a committee staffer at the New York State Assembly during her college years.
Currently an Upper East Side resident, Horwitz also has ties to the Upper Manhattan community. As trustee of Riverdale Temple, she co-chairs the education committee, which is responsible for establishing the policies of the temple’s nursery and religious schools.
“She’s a wonderful influence on this place,” said Senior Rabbi Judith Lewis of Horwitz. “She’s also been very good about seeing budgetary needs very clearly. She’s very supportive of where we’re trying to go with the congregation, which is a more outreach stance within our community.”
Down at Battery Park City, it will be another two years or so before the authority’s entire 92-acre property is fully developed, including Pier A, just off of Battery Park. Horwitz and Cavanaugh will see through completion B.P.C.’s last two sites, Liberty Green and Liberty Luxe, located behind the neighborhood’s two baseball fields on North End Avenue. The remaining two properties should be finished by late 2011, according to the Authority.
As the Authority shifts its focus, Horwitz says she will be keeping an eye on its developments. “We have to maintain what’s been built and make sure we don’t fall down on that job,” she said. “What’s been done here must be preserved.”
The authority hopes to continue to keep its operating budget flat, which it has managed to do over the past 5 years, despite expanding responsibilities and the addition of new parks in Battery Park City.
The greater number of tenants and leases to administer, Cavanaugh explained, the more comprehensive the whole process becomes. “I think we’ve strengthened our relationship between the Authority and the community,” Cavanaugh said. “It’s still not perfect, but we’re working on it.”
“With her financial expertise, she [Horwitz] is well served to keep costs down and manage some increasingly complex financial relationships with our tenants,” Cavanaugh added.