NEWARK, NJ - The director of the city’s Department of Economic and Housing Development (EHD) is retiring after about six months on the job, and the city’s chief operations officer will replace him on an interim basis. 

John Palmieri, a deputy mayor for Newark, was appointed by the mayor to be director in August. Natasha Rogers will serve as the interim director of the EHD while also working in her current role as COO.

Palmieri will retire March 1 to focus on family and personal issues, Mayor Ras Baraka today announced. He was also serving as the city's deputy mayor of economic growth, transportation and infrastructure, a position he began in early 2018.  

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He was also appointed by former Gov. Chris Christie to head the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority in Atlantic City too. He left that job around 2016. 

Rogers is a former Goldman Sachs investment banker who has more than 15 years of experience in supply chain management, real estate law, infrastructure and project finance, and tax law, the city said in a release. 

She worked in both the private and public jobs and has underwritten nearly $3 billion in transactions throughout her career, the city said in its release. She formerly worked as a law clerk for Nixon Peabody, the federal department of Housing and Urban Development and helped draft Dodd-Frank legislation, according to the city. 

Rogers was also nominated by Gov. Phil Murphy in January to be on University Hospital's Board of Directors.  

The city credited Palmieri with helping the city move its MX-3 zone ordinance forward, working on the PATH train extension and a plan for Opportunity Zone investments. Rogers, meanwhile, was praised in a city press release for “maximizing” the municipal budget as COO.

She will now temporarily manage the city’s EHD portfolio of $4.6 billion while a task force looks for a new director.

The task force will consist of both public and private members, including  Ommeed Sathe of Prudential Financial. Newark Alliance CEO Aisha Glover will help guide improvements to the EHD’s strategies.

The scope of the task force's transitional plan will also include building a “robust capacity” to allow the city to compete for large corporate relocations and making the permitting process more easily accessible to residents and first-time entrepreneurs.

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