News of Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s resignation has everyone with a stake in New York government contemplating the future. Though not as dramatic, the citywide personnel scene continues to change, with recent moves around city government and nonprofits. Spitzer's exit apparently has echoed locally, however, with the Empire State Development Corporation's downstate chairman, Patrick Foye, resigning over the weekend. Former attorney Foye was appointed by Spitzer to oversee major developments like expanding the Javits Center. With that and other big projects in limbo and the boss leaving in disgrace, Foye is saying goodbye, though he'll stay on through at least some of the transition to an as-yet-unnamed new chair.
The city Department of Small Business Services last week announced it has a new deputy commissioner of the Division of Financial and Economic Opportunity in Anne Rascon, who will lead the city's minority and women-owned business enterprise (M/WBE) program. Rascon, previously the director of planning at the New York City District Council of Carpenters Labor Technical College – and before that the president and CEO of Nontraditional Employment for Women – replaces Kerri Jew, who led the M/WBE effort since 2005 but has left SBS.
In Democratic politics, an inter-borough fissure widened. A fight between Brooklyn and Bronx party leaders over choice patronage positions forced Speaker Christine Quinn to take a side. Though the storm appears to have subsided, the rift could be a factor if the speaker runs for mayor, as is widely expected. First the Bronx and Brooklyn City Council delegations tussled over the city clerkship, a $185,700 per year job vacated by former Brooklyn Councilmember Victor Robles, who retired in August. Bronx Democrats, led by Assemblyman Jose Rivera, favored Bronx County Clerk Hector Diaz, while the Brooklyn delegation, with the backing of Assemblyman Vito Lopez, pushed to keep the job in Brooklyn’s hands. Quinn sided with the Bronx delegation, helping to secure a veto-proof majority for Diaz. Though Diaz was confirmed by a 34-16 City Council vote, the entire Brooklyn delegation opposed the appointment. Diaz began the job in February.
The two delegations clashed again over the deputy director position at the Board of Elections. In mid-January, Lopez engineered a successful effort to prevent the appointment of Rivera nominee Maria Baez, a Bronx councilmember who is term-limited in 2009. The two sides did agree on the nomination of Marcus Cederqvist, head of the Manhattan Republican Party. Cederqvist was unanimously selected as the next executive director of the Board of Elections, replacing John A. Ravitz, who resigned in October to serve as chief executive of the Westchester County American Red Cross.
Layoffs have hit Community Media LLC, publisher of a number of lower Manhattan weeklies. In late January, Larry Lerner, editor of Chelsea Now, Wickham Boyle, editor of Thrive, and Brett Vermilyea, arts and production director, were all laid off, as was Nicole Davis, arts editor for The Villager, Downtown Express, Chelsea Now, and a contributor to Gay City News. Although some editorial staffers were dismayed by the cuts, publisher John Sutter says that when new hires are counted, the editorial department has experienced a net loss of just one-and-a-half full-time equivalents. Meanwhile the company has added four new staffers in the ads department. Sutter describes the move as an effort to “make more efficient use of the editorial staff we have” and to put “an emphasis on quality over quantity” as Community Media grows.
In the nonprofit world, the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law School announced that its Economic Justice Project has spun off and merged with the National Employment Law Project (NELP) to become a nationwide research and advocacy organization addressing challenges facing the 21st-century American labor market. Former Brennan Center senior staffer Paul Sonn has become NELP legal co-director, along with current NELP employee Cathy Ruckelshaus. Brennan's Annette Bernhardt becomes NELP’s policy co-director, sharing the title with current NELP employee Maurice Emsellem.
The city’s community and economic development universe saw some big changes. Mayor Bloomberg appointed Marc Jahr (a former member of the board of City Futures, Inc., City Limits' parent nonprofit) as the new president of the New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC), replacing Emily Youssouf, who left HDC in October to start an affordable housing finance division at JPMorgan Chase. Jahr comes from the private sector, where he led Citibank’s metropolitan area community financing. Leslie Ramos has left her post as assistant commissioner at the Department of Housing and Preservation to assume leadership at the Mayor’s Office of Industrial and Manufacturing Businesses, promoting job growth in industrial and manufacturing sectors across the city. She raplaces Carl Hum, who became president and CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce.
Over at the Partnership for New York City, Lloyd Blankfein, Chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs, was named co-chair. Blankfein, Fortune’s third most powerful businessperson in the world in 2007, replaces outgoing co-chair Charles Prince, the former chairman and CEO of Citigroup who left the financial services company in November.
Habitat for Humanity-New York City has appointed Rachel Hyman as chief operating officer. She replaces Josh Lockwood, who becomes permanent executive director after serving in an interim capacity since last May. Previously Hyman served as senior vice president in the Bank of America’s community development real estate group. The Community Preservation Corporation, a nonprofit that finances housing and community development in low-income neighborhoods, appointed Annie F. Pollack, former senior vice president and chief investment officer at New York Life Insurance Company, as its new chair. Seedco Financial hired Robert Espaillat as its executive vice president and chief operating officer, a new position. Espaillat comes from Accion New York, where he was CEO.
C. Virgina Fields, former Manhattan borough president and mayoral candidate, takes over as president/CEO of the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS, Inc. (NBLCA), replacing Debra Fraser-Howze. Fraser-Howze has accepted the post of vice president of government and external affairs with OraSure Technologies. Sister Judy Garson has retired from Little Sisters of the Assumption, a Harlem health and counseling ministry where she served as executive director for 24 years. After 13 years with Housing Works, Michael Kink has left his position as legislative counsel to serve as director of policy and special counsel to the Democratic party in the state Senate.
In other housing news, Salvador Uy has become the first associate director of operations for Goddard Riverside Community Center, which provides assistance to families in need in Harlem and the Upper West Side. Uy comes from Safe Horizons, Inc. where he was senior vice president. United Neighborhood Houses of New York, a membership organization of settlement houses and community centers across the city, has named Jessica Ziegler as its director of development. Ziegler previously served as the director of development and communications at Housing and Services, Inc.
The statewide advocacy group Tenants & Neighbors announced several new hires. Andr