New Orleans’s Department of Sanitation, which leads compliance for the city’s garbage collection, disposal, recycling and street cleaning, started the year under new leadership. Matt Torri took the helm as Director of the department after the retirement of Cynthia M. Sylvain-Lear.
“For more than a quarter century, Cynthia Sylvain-Lear has served the City of New Orleans, first leading the Department of Parks and Parkways and more recently for the past decade leading our Department of Sanitation. She will remembered for forging partnerships with organizations such as The Green Project that innovated the recycling of reusable latex and black and white enamel paint,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell. “She has led the department through countless emergencies, operated an extremely high- functioning department, in a city known for its street parades and festivals, its persistent rain events. We will be forever grateful for her leadership in this administration’s CleanUpNOLA efforts, as well. I am also excited to welcome Matt Torri as the new Director of Sanitation and continue our momentum to keep our city clean and safe.”
“Cynthia Sylvain-Lear helped lead this city during its darkest moments of Hurricane Katrina and the years thereafter. During my service to the city, I have often turned to Cynthia for her thoughtful, experienced and ethical view on critical issues. Her reputation is one of professionalism, steady leadership, and an unwavering commitment to improving waste collection and recycling. One clear sign of leadership is the act of empowering a team, and Cynthia demonstrated this as she mentored our new Sanitation Director, Matt Torri, over the last several years,” said Ramsey Green, Deputy CAO of Infrastructure.
Cynthia Sylvain-Lear served the City of New Orleans since 1996. She led the Department of Parks and Parkways and served as the Deputy CAO before assuming her role as Director of Sanitation in 2010. In 2018 Keep Louisiana Beautiful honored Sylvain-Lear with the Golden Can Award, an award recognizing public servants who show a commitment to the mission of keeping the state beautiful. “It has been a very rewarding experience to work for the City of New Orleans in a number of leadership positions. I am grateful to have the opportunity to work with residents in every neighborhood along with a number of dedicated City employees to improve the quality of life in our City,” said Cynthia Sylvain-Lear.
Matt Torri, mentored by Sylvain-Lear as her successor, has been with the City of New Orleans since 2012. He has served in the capacity of Deputy Director of Sanitation since 2014, supporting his predecessor as well as working side by side with members of the Sanitation team. Torri has been instrumental in growing the Sanitation workforce by partnering with varying workforce development initiatives, including Job1. The collaboration with Job1 has allowed more than 50 re-entry opportunities since 2014.
Torri works closely with Mayor Cantrell’s office on the CleanUpNOLA campaign, in addition to working with City Council and 311 to streamline Sanitation’s response time to community concerns. “I could not have asked for a better mentor over the past six years. Working alongside Cynthia Sylvain-Lear has provided me with the vast knowledge and experience to lead the Department of Sanitation forward,” said Torri. “It is an honor to be entrusted with leading the dedicated men and women of the Department of Sanitation. I look forward to focusing the department’s efforts on enhanced service delivery and quality of life for all New Orleans residents.”
“Matt is as ready for this challenging role as anyone could be and he is committed to delivering effective, cost-conscious sanitation services to our residents. Matt has made a career of solving complicated operational problems in the private and public sectors while being comfortable wearing rubber boots standing in the middle of a pile of Mardi Gras refuse on the side of Basin Street. Matt is committed to keeping our city clean no matter the challenge,” said Green. “I look forward to the exciting direction he leads the Sanitation Department and I wish Cynthia all the best as she enters retirement. Thank you for your superior service, Director Sylvain-Lear, and best of luck, Director Torri.”