New York City Mayor Eric Adams has announced the creation of the Office of Engagement, which has been designed to help coordinate the integration of community engagement in informing policy and program decisions by city agencies. The new office will also work to improve engagement across agencies, build the capacity of all city agency outreach and engagement teams, and support “community-driven solutions.”
Betsy MacLean will serve as the chief engagement officer and oversee the city’s main engagement offices, which include the Community Affairs Unit, Civic Engagement Commission, Public Engagement Unit, and NYC Service. MacLean holds master’s degrees in Urban Planning and International Affairs from Columbia University.
Earlier this year the citywide initiative for increased civic engagement – NYC Speaks – sought to better inform the city’s policy making by conducting a survey of residents. Results from the survey showed that New Yorkers’ top concerns are: ensuring access to affordable and safe housing; improving transit and bettering public safety through more policing; healthier police-community relations; and enhanced public spaces.
“Community engagement is a core pillar of this administration. We are committed to ensuring that New Yorkers have the tools they need to better engage with government and access its benefits, but to also do it in a more streamlined, simple-to-use manner,” Mayor Adams said . “The newly created Office of Engagement will ensure that we continue to collaborate, coordinate, and prioritize engagement across all agencies and that New Yorkers have a say in our policies, priorities, and resources. There is no better person to lead this effort than Betsy MacLean. Betsy chaired our Civic Engagement Committee during the transition and has had a groundbreaking career in community development for over 20 years.”