From the Mayor’s Office:
Mayor Taveras Names Rubén Flores-Marzán Planning and Urban Development Director
State Planning Director for Puerto Rico brings visionary leadership to Providence development
PROVIDENCE, RI – Providence Mayor Angel Taveras has named Rubén Flores-Marzán to the position of Planning and Urban Development Director to lead the City’s Planning Department.
“I am very pleased to announce Rubén Flores-Marzán as the City’s new Planning and Urban Development Director,” said Mayor Taveras. “Mr. Flores-Marzán brings an impressive portfolio of large-scale planning and development projects with him to Providence. I am confident he will serve a vital role in making Providence a better place to live and work.”
Flores-Marzán will begin work in Providence on February 11. As Planning and Urban Development Director for the City of Providence, Flores-Marzán will execute the Mayor’s vision for a livable, sustainable city that encourages economic growth and community development. He will be responsible for the City’s medium- and long-range development strategies on issues ranging from economic growth to historic preservation. The Director of Planning and Urban Development manages a team of about 25 professionals and reports to the City’s Economic Development Director, James S. Bennett.
“I am thrilled to join Mayor Taveras’ administration and look forward to working with Team Providence in achieving our shared aspirations for a more creative, inclusive, prosperous and sustainable City,” said Flores-Marzán.
Flores-Marzán previously served as the State Planning Director for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, where he led the Puerto Rico Planning Board – the island’s central planning agency. While serving as the State Planning Director for Puerto Rico, Flores-Marzán implemented a comprehensive development plan across the island.
In 2011, Flores-Marzán coordinated the policy development, approval and implementation of solar and wind energy projects worth over $350 million. He processed development applications worth more than $3.1 billion with an expected employment potential of more than 35,000 jobs. Flores-Marzán championed market-oriented land use, boosting investor confidence and forging partnerships between local government and private enterprise.
Previous to his tenure in Puerto Rico, Flores-Marzán served as a planner for the cities of Cape Coral and Tampa, Florida. He also worked as a planning consultant with CPH Engineers, a Florida-based engineering and planning firm.
Flores-Marzán is licensed by the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) and speaks both English and Spanish fluently. He holds Master of Arts degrees in Urban Planning and Geography from the University of Akron and a Bachelor of Arts in Geography from the University of Puerto Rico.
“We are delighted to bring Mr. Flores-Marzán’s expertise into the Office of Economic Development. His deep understanding of how we can leverage Providence’s assets with international markets is forward-thinking and very exciting,” said James Bennett, Director of Economic Development. “And his experience in multimodal transportation, serving millions of people, will inform our work with the Port of Providence, our highways and our rail service.”
Mayor Taveras selected Flores-Marzán following a nationwide search that attracted 18 candidates. He was among five finalists recommended to the Mayor for consideration.
I asked Bob Azar, who has been Acting Director of Planning since April after former director Thom Deller left to take a new position in Hartford about the new appointment, Azar said: “I will be moving back to my former position, director of current planning. I am grateful to Mayor Taveras and Jim Bennett for the opportunity to serve as acting director for the past nine months, and am looking forward to working with the new director.”
What else is Bob going to say about having been passed over? Who wants to place bets on how long it will be until he leaves?
The city’s department of planning and development has been seriously mismanaged for years. Let’s hope the new Director brings with him the professionalism, transparency, honesty, fiscal efficiency, and simple respect for the city’s residents and their neighborhoods that have been glaringly missing for so long. A tall order in a city where cronyism, undisclosed conflicts of interest, and every other form of corruption and incompetence run rampant.
Let’s also hope the new Director cleans house of those remaining staffers who would seek to maintain the status quo.