Small Business Services commish leaving for prof job; Still no word on replacement from de Blasio

Rob Walsh will be teaching at Baruch College.

Rob Walsh will be teaching at Baruch College.

BY SAM SPOKONY | The longtime commissioner of the city’s Department of Small Business Services will soon leave office to start his new job as a college professor  — but there’s still been no word from Mayor Bill de Blasio on who will replace him.

Commissioner Rob Walsh, who was appointed by former Mayor Mike Bloomberg in 2002, will officially vacate the post after his final day
tomorrow, according to an S.B.S. spokesperson.

Walsh is joining the faculty at Baruch College, where he will teach courses in urban economic development, the spokesperson said.

From 1989 to 1997, Walsh led the 14th St.-Union Square business improvement district, playing a key role in the neighborhood’s revitalization.

Amid de Blasio’s overall slow pace in making new agency appointments, it’s unclear who will be stepping in to take over at S.B.S, which, among things, oversees a vital loan-and-grant program
for businesses recovering from the impact of Hurricane Sandy.

The S.B.S. spokesperson said her agency still hasn’t heard anything from de Blasio’s office about a new appointment, and added that there’s been no explanation from the new mayor about what to do in the interim if a replacement isn’t announced tomorrow.

The spokesperson also said she wasn’t sure if de Blasio’s team is actually aware that tomorrow will be Walsh’s final day.

The Mayor’s Office didn’t immediately return a request for comment.

But speaking at a press conference today alongside new Police Commissioner William Bratton, the mayor seemed comfortable with the pace of his transition efforts so far.

“In the first days of an administration a lot has to happen very quickly, but we’re very proud of the fact that everyone is at their station doing their work and everything is functioning smoothly,” de Blasio said.

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