New York City’s Department of Environmental Protection employs 6,000 workers who reduce pollution, manage stormwater, and deliver one billion gallons of drinking water to the City’s nine million residents each day. To better serve New Yorkers and enhance the City’s ability to combat the effects of climate change, the Department is launching a Project Management Office that will increase operating efficiency and effectiveness across a wide array of functional areas. The FUSE Executive Fellow will help develop and launch this new office.

Fellowship Dates: April 22, 2024 – April 21, 2025

Salary: Executive Fellows are FUSE employees and receive an annual salary of $80,000. Fellows can also access various health, dental, and vision insurance benefits. Compensation for this year of public service is not intended to represent market-rate compensation for the experienced professionals in our program.

ABOUT THE FUSE EXECUTIVE FELLOWSHIP

FUSE is a national nonprofit working to expand social and economic opportunities, particularly for communities that have been limited by a history of systemic and institutionalized racism. FUSE partners with local governments and communities to more effectively address pressing challenges by placing experienced professionals within city and county agencies. These FUSE Executive Fellows lead strategic projects designed to advance racial equity and accelerate systems change. Since 2012, FUSE has led over 250 projects in 40 governments across 20 states, impacting the lives of 25 million people.

When designing each fellowship project, FUSE works closely with government partners and local stakeholders to define a scope of work that will achieve substantive progress toward regional priorities. FUSE then conducts an individualized search for each project to ensure that the selected candidate has at least 15 years of professional experience, the required competencies for the role, and deep connections to the communities being served. They are data-driven and results-oriented and can effectively manage complex projects by developing actionable roadmaps and monitoring progress to completion.

Executive Fellows are hired as FUSE employees and embedded in government agencies for at least one year of full-time work. They receive training, coaching, and professional support from FUSE throughout their fellowships to help achieve their project goals. FUSE Executive Fellows bring diverse perspectives and new approaches to their projects. They build strong relationships with diverse arrays of stakeholders, foster alignment within and across various layers of government, and build partnerships between governments and communities.

PROJECT CONTEXT

New York City residents face immediate risks associated with climate change including coastal surge flooding, chronic tidal flooding, extreme rainfall, and extreme heat. With 520 miles of coastline and numerous neighborhoods susceptible to flooding, many New Yorkers are at risk for climate change impacts. These risks are compounded among vulnerable communities such as lower-income and older residents, with significant racial disparities evident when evaluating the current and potential future impacts of climate change.

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) works to help mitigate and cope with climate change. Its mission is to “Enrich the environment and protect public health for all New Yorkers by providing high-quality drinking water, managing wastewater and stormwater, and reducing air, noise, and hazardous materials pollution.” To help achieve that mission more efficiently and effectively, DEP is in the process of creating a new Project Management Office (PMO) that aims to promote continuous improvement and increased performance.

With 6,000 employees, a more streamlined and effective operation would be a powerful force for climate change mitigation and resilience. Simplified and more effective operations are especially critical as the Department manages significant federal funding opportunities to improve water management and pollution reduction efforts. Responsible budgeting, procurement, hiring and management, and other operating functions are essential to ensure that federal funds are efficiently translated into tangible progress to address climate change.

New York City will partner with FUSE to design and launch a Project Management Office within the Department of Environmental Protection. The FUSE Executive Fellow will conduct a scan to identify opportunities to improve efficiency in DEP’s internal support offices, identify a PMO structure appropriate to DEP’s needs and goals, and begin implementing the new structure. As a result of this work, DEP will become a more agile and effective agency, making it better equipped to respond to climate change in New York City.

PROJECT SUMMARY & POTENTIAL DELIVERABLES

The following provides a general overview of the proposed fellowship project. This project summary and the potential deliverables will be collaboratively revisited by the host agency, the fellow, and FUSE staff during the first few months of the fellowship.

Starting in April 2024, the FUSE Executive Fellow will build deep relationships with crucial stakeholders, including DEP leaders (e.g., Chief Performance Officer, Chief Information Officer, Strategic Planning Office), managers, and frontline workers to understand the strengths, needs, opportunities, and aspirations these partners have for building a culture of performance improvement. At the same time, the FUSE Executive Fellow will conduct an extensive review to identify best practices and innovative approaches to instituting a Project Management Office and supporting change management throughout complex government organizations like DEP.

Next, the FUSE Executive Fellow will conduct a horizon scan to identify opportunities to build efficiency and improve performance in DEP’s cost centers. This effort will focus specifically on opportunities within IT, human resources, procurement, payments, and budgeting. DEP is particularly interested in identifying opportunities to improve contractor and vendor payment cycle times.

In parallel, the FUSE Executive Fellow will identify the appropriate structure for a Project Management Office. In designing the PMO, they should ensure the participation of team members from existing administrative and support units and identify additional staffing and financial resource needs to operationalize the new office. The FUSE Executive Fellow will also consider how the PMO will conduct its operations and gain buy-in from other bureaus and offices on performance improvement efforts.

Finally, the FUSE Executive Fellow will initiate progress on one or more of the highest-priority efficiency opportunities they identified in the horizon scan. In pursuing these improvements, the FUSE Executive Fellow will aim to institutionalize this new way of doing business at DEP and embed a culture of positive change. If successful, the Executive Fellow will build the foundation upon which the newly created PMO will operate going forward and generate the necessary buy-in from across the Department to participate in performance improvement.

By April 2025, the FUSE Executive Fellow will have overseen the following:

  • Conduct a Stakeholder Listening Tour – Develop relationships with stakeholders in DEP, ranging from senior leadership to frontline workers. In addition, conduct a literature review of best practices on how to build a PMO in government organizations similar to DEP.
  • Horizon Scan – Identify opportunities to improve performance in DEP’s human resources, procurement, payments, and budgeting teams.
  • Design the PMO Structure – Map out how the PMO does business at DEP. Create the PMO team, including new hires and contributors from other operating units, and calculate necessary funding levels.
  • Stand Up the PMO – Operationalize the PMO by pursuing the efficiency opportunities identified in the horizon scan.

KEY STAKEHOLDERS

  • Executive Sponsor – Rohit Aggarwala, Chief Climate Officer and Commissioner; Department of Environmental Protection
  • Project Supervisor – Nerissa Moray, Senior Advisor and Chief Performance Officer; Department of Environmental Protection, Office of the Commissioner

QUALIFICATIONS

In addition to the qualifications listed below, a background in a project management, information and data management, and internal consulting is strongly preferred for this project.

  • Synthesizes complex information into clear and concise recommendations and action-oriented implementation plans.
  • Develops and effectively implements both strategic and operational project management plans.
  • Generates innovative, data-driven, and result-oriented solutions to complex challenges.
  • Responds quickly to changing ideas, responsibilities, expectations, trends, strategies, and other processes.
  • Communicates effectively both verbally and in writing and excels in both active listening and conversing.
  • Fosters collaboration across multiple constituencies to support more effective decision-making.
  • Establishes and maintains strong relationships with diverse stakeholders, both inside and outside of government, particularly community-based relationships.
  • Embraces differing viewpoints and implements strategies to find common ground.
  • Demonstrates confidence and professional diplomacy while effectively interacting with individuals at all levels of various organizations.
  • Experience with Six Sigma or other continuous performance improvement methodologies.

FUSE is an equal opportunity employer with diversity, equity, and inclusion core values. We encourage candidates from all backgrounds to apply for this position.