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The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene appointed its first assistant commissioner for day care last week. Frank Cresciullo oversees the licensing and inspections of more than 9,400 child care providers in the city. Starting in 1989 as a caseworker for New York City’s Child Welfare Administration in Brooklyn, Cresciullo has devoted his career to child care. He joined the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) in 1992, and most recently served as the deputy director in OCFS’ New York City regional office. Cresciullo’s appointment is the latest effort by the DOH towards overhauling the Bureau of Day Care after the death of an infant at a Queens day care center in early 2004. Achievements during 2004 include increased weekly inspections and speeding up response time to serious complaints.

Social services veteran Joan Ohlson retired from Urban Pathways, one of the largest homeless services organizations in the city, after serving as executive director for 14 years. In her 40-year career, Ohlson has served as head for various social services organizations, including the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, the Citizens Committee for Children and the Coalition of Community Service Providers. She is also the founding board member of Women’s Survival Space, the first shelter for battered women and their children in New York. Ohlson is succeeded by Frederick Shack, a veteran in the homeless services field. His previous posts include board president of the Council on Homeless Policies and Services, an umbrella organization for homeless services agencies in New York City, and, most recently, a senior vice-president at the national organization HELP USA.

Jay Marcus joined national cooperative bank Development Corporation (NCBDC) as its first-ever director of New York programs, supervising the local operation of its national affordable cooperative homeownership program Together We Can. In his 15-year career in community development, Marcus held executive level positions in various cities, including deputy executive director of the San Jose Redevelopment Agency, the largest redevelopment agency in California, and director of housing initiatives at the Enterprise Foundation in Columbia, Maryland. Marcus’ appointment reflects NCBDC’s increasing investment in New York City. The nonprofit affiliate of National Cooperative Bank intends to expand its services in the city to include the financing of affordable assisted living and community facilities.

After a year-long search, Deborah Gallegos was named chief investment officer by New York City Comptroller William Thompson. She supervises the Bureau of Asset Management. Gallegos worked for the state of New Mexico as deputy investment officer before joining the comptroller’s office last week. She also worked for J.P Morgan Fleming Asset Management.

Former New York City Commissioner of Correction and Probation Michael Jacobson joined Vera Institute of Justice as director. Jacobson, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, took over from Christopher Stone, who left to head up the criminal justice program at Harvard University after a decade-tenure at Vera.

Lawrence Schatt, executive director of Common Ground Community, a nonprofit housing and community development group, is leaving at the end of this month for personal reasons.

Fernando Ferrer left the Drum Major Institute, a public policy think tank, where he was a president, to focus on his bid for mayor. The organization is now under the direct lead of its chair, Andrew Young.

President Bush named Mike Leavitt, head of the Environmental Protection Agency and former Utah governor, as the replacement for outgoing Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson. Like Thompson, Leavitt blazed a pioneering trail in welfare reform. Heralded as a skilled consensus-builder, Leavitt made his mark on Utah’s social safety net by blending the welfare, employment, child care and job training departments into a single uber-agency, the Department of Workforce Services, in 1996. Today, Utah’s DWS centers have gained national recognition for effectively linking clients with benefits and services in a single location. But welfare advocates also have concerns about Leavitt. As governor, he opted to place three-year time limits on welfare instead of the federal maximum of five.

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