Word leaking out might have precipitated the unusual Saturday announcement, just a day after news that Department of Buildings Commissioner Rick Chandler will retire Feb. 1.
While the mayor praised Joshi in his announcement, her departure comes on the heels of their disagreement over the state's passage of congestion surcharge for taxis and for-hire vehicles in Manhattan. Joshi publicly expressed concern about the effect that the fee would have on the taxi industry, while the mayor supported the charge as a means to speed up traffic.
Since Uber's rise in 2014, the yellow-cab industry has been wracked by an 80% decline in the value of medallions, the metal placards that each taxi must have to operate. Joshi has been trying to stabilize the industry, which has also been devastated by eight driver suicides within the past year and a half.
"Commissioner Joshi’s tenure was marked by such progressive innovations as the protection and enhancement of driver earnings, citywide access to for-hire services for persons with disabilities, a 50% reduction of fatalities in crashes involving taxis and for-hire vehicles in the last year, [and] significant advances in consumer protections," the mayor's press release Saturday said.
It also credited her with creating the first "pathway to the effective management of congestion and environmental impact relating to TLC-licensed services."
"In this unprecedented period of growth, Meera has brought about equally unprecedented and vital change that will serve as a model for cities throughout the nation and the world," de Blasio said in the statement. "Under her leadership New Yorkers who use wheelchairs can get service, passengers are assured that every driver and vehicle is safe, our city has detailed records of the 1 million daily trips and New York City is the only place where app drivers have pay protection. She will leave an unparalleled legacy and has raised the bar for good government. I am grateful for her service."