With Mayor Bloomberg creating new city offices left and right, there’s plenty of movement in and out of City Hall – with an emphasis on “in.” Most recently, Benjamin Thomases was named food policy coordinator, a position Bloomberg first announced in November. Thomases was president of First Source Staffing, a “social purpose staffing company.” He’s already begun his new job, and First Source is looking for a replacement. A Columbia Business School graduate interested in social entrepreneurship, his duties will include expanding food stamp use and helping bodegas stock healthier foods.
Thomases probably will work closely with Veronica M. White, who was hired last month as executive director of the also newly-created Center for Economic Opportunity – an outgrowth of the Commission on Economic Opportunity (or just “the poverty commission,” as most would have it) – where she will coordinate and oversee new antipoverty initiatives. White most recently worked as a consultant specializing in strategic business planning and management. Her past positions include serving as president and CEO of the New York City Housing Partnership and chief operating officer of the Partnership for New York City (then called the New York City Partnership). She has also practiced law and worked for the city Department of Housing Preservation and Development.
Major change may be afoot at the Human Resources Administration, which will welcome a new commissioner next month. Before Eliot Spitzer’s ascendance to governor, Robert Doar was commissioner of the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance – but in a neat jump, has landed at what’s roughly the city equivalent. Outgoing HRA Commissioner Verna Eggleston is leaving Jan. 31 for a new post at the Bloomberg Family Foundation, created a few months back to facilitate the mayor’s philanthropy. Doar served as OTDA commissioner since Oct. 2003, where he was responsible for the administration of the state's cash assistance, food stamps, child support, homeless housing and disability determination programs. He previously served as OTDA executive deputy commissioner and OTDA deputy commissioner for the division of child support enforcement.
At a new office of another sort, the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement – replacing the old Office of Midtown Enforcement – Shari C. Hyman has taken the helm as director. Hyman, who had been deputy executive director for investigations at the Civilian Complaint Review Board, will be coordinating enforcement efforts across city agencies related to “notorious adult use locations, lawless clubs, trademark counterfeiting bazaars and illegal conversions of apartment buildings into hotels,” all under the Office of the Criminal Justice Coordinator. Eric Dorsch, formerly the assistant deputy executive director for investigations at CCRB, has moved up into Hyman’s former role.
As of Feb. 1, Robert C. Lieber will be a new face in an existing city role: Economic Development Corporation president. Lieber, who was managing director of the private equity division of Lehman Brothers, replaces Joshua J. Sirefman, who served as interim president but left this month to become senior vice president of development for Brookfield Financial Properties, one of the largest commercial landlords in New York. Sirefman followed Andrew Alper, a former chief operating officer of Goldman Sachs who resigned in June after four years as EDC president. As economic development chief, Lieber will oversee nearly 400 employees engaged in a wide array of economic development projects in all five boroughs. Lieber, who was named “Financier of the Year” in 2004 by Commercial Property News, is a trustee of the Urban Land Institute and led a pro bono team from Lehman Brothers that advised the city in its successful effort to work with the Port Authority and the state to renegotiate the World Trade Center site lease last year.
At the newly created Chinatown/Lower East Side Empire Zone Administrative Board, Bloomberg announced a number of appointees last month. The zone was created in 2005 to stimulate private investment, business development and job creation through financial incentives and tax credits. The new board members are Local 23-25 UNITE HERE Manager May Chen, Senior Community Development Officer of Valley National Bank Michael Fields, Project Director of “Explore Chinatown” at NYC & Co. Richard Kerekes, Professional Business College President Leon Lee, Press Secretary to the Mayor Stu Loeser, Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association President Eric Ng, Lower East Side BID Executive Director Roberto Ragone, and Chinese Chamber of Commerce President Justin Yu. Carl Hum, head of the mayor’s Office of Industrial and Manufacturing Businesses, will chair the group.
Over at the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, Deputy Commissioner of Development Rafael Cestero will be leaving next month to join nonprofit affordable housing developer Enterprise New York. Lewis Finkelman replaces Phyllis Taylor as deputy comptroller for legal affairs and general counsel under New York City Comptroller William Thompson. Finkelman had been first deputy commissioner and general counsel at the Department of Administrative Services – and Taylor left the agency to work in the private sector.
U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler announced several new hires recently: communications director Ari Goldberg, formerly senior public affairs officer at the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs; legislative assistant for the Judiciary Committee and International Relations, Carole Angel, who was a staff attorney for Legal Momentum (formerly NOW Legal Defense Fund); and in the Manhattan office, community representative Erin Drinkwater, who was Sean Patrick Maloney's policy director in his campaign for New York attorney general.
Beyond the halls of government…over at Fedcap, which provides comprehensive vocational services and employment for people with disabilities and other barriers to employment, two executives have taken positions on the boards of other nonprofits. Executive Director Susan Fonfa was recently elected to serve as chairwoman of the board of directors for New York State Industries for the Disabled. Assistant Executive Director of Program Services Maureen Bentley was recently chosen to serve on the New York State Rehabilitation Association board of directors as treasurer.
Last but hardly least, for those following appointments to the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York: Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger, president of Columbia University, has been appointed to the board as a class C director for a three-year term beginning this month.
This story has been updated.