NEWARK, NJ - Mayor Ras Baraka has tapped a high-ranking municipal housing official from Washington D.C. to lead the city's Department of Economic and Housing Development (EHD) and serve as a deputy mayor. 

Allison Ladd, deputy director of the Washington, D.C. Office of Housing and Community Development, will be in charge of managing the EHD's portfolio of $4.6 billion in projects.  She will begin her new position Aug. 1, the city announced. 

“It is an honor to be selected to join Mayor Baraka’s team,” Ladd said in a statement. “The mayor, key officials and business community have done a stellar job collaborating to promote the abundant assets of the city. I am eager to join in their efforts and am looking forward to furthering success in equitable economic growth and development.”

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The EHD consists of 75 employees. The department and its divisions handle zoning and land use regulations, housing, and rent control.  

Ladd worked as deputy director under the District of Columbia mayor for five years and previously worked as associate executive director at the District of Columbia Housing Finance Agency for about eight years. As deputy director, she oversaw 180 employees with a budget of more than $300 million, the City of Newark said in a statement. 

She was a former chief of staff of the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, director of the Maryland Governor's Housing Policy Commission and special assistant to the director in Prince George's County Department of Housing and Community Development. 

“Allison’s impressive talent, work with communities similar to Newark, and stance on approaching development from a community wealth-building perspective is why she is the right fit for us,” Baraka said in a statement. 

Ladd will be the fourth director of Newark’s EHD Department in less than two years. Chief Operating Officer Natasha Rogers has served in the role on an interim basis since March. 

A search task force was formulated that included Rogers to fill the position. The task force also consisted of Business Administrator Eric Pennington, Newark Alliance CEO Aisha Glover and Prudential Financial Vice President of Impact Investments Ommeed Sathe. 

The task force was created by the mayor to search for candidates beyond the Northeast. 

“It was an honor to work on behalf of the administration to help identify a like-minded and progressive leader with deep experience and a comfort level working within an urban environment who is equipped to advance equitable economic development,” said Glover, who once charged Newark’s bid for Amazon’s second headquarters. “We found that and more in Allison.”

Ladd earned a Masters of Community Planning from the University of Maryland, College Park. She also holds a bachelor's degree in urban planning from the University of Rhode Island. 

City council will need to approve her appointment.

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