It's been a lively spring across city and state agencies and throughout nonprofits.
Two months later, Eliot Spitzer’s resignation continues to reverberate across the state. Following the departure of Patrick Foye from the Empire State Development Corporation, Tony Shorris resigned as executive director of the Port Authority, the lead agency in the redevelopment at Ground Zero. To replace Shorris, Governor David Paterson nominated Christopher O. Ward, commissioner of the city’s Department of Environmental Protection from 2002 to 2005 and a former Port Authority executive. (New York’s governor traditionally appoints the Port Authority director, while New Jersey’s governor appoints the board chair.)
Governor Paterson accepted the resignations of several of Spitzer’s more embattled appointees. Inspector General Kristine Hamann, who came under intense criticism from State Senate Republicans for what they saw as her politicized investigations into the “Troopergate” scandal, resigned last month. Deputy Dennis E. Martin was named acting inspector general. Paterson also accepted the resignation of Kumiki Gibson, the controversial commissioner of the New York State Division of Human Rights. Gibson, who is African-American, was accused of age and racial discrimination in a federal lawsuit filed in March 2007. The governor has yet to name Gibson’s replacement.
In other state news, Dave Pollak stepped down from his post as co-chair of the New York State Democratic Party. As a party superdelegate and Hillary Clinton supporter, Pollak’s resignation caused a momentary ripple in the Democratic presidential primary—until the party selected his replacement, Reginald Lafayette, who also backs Clinton.
The state Board of Regents, the body that oversees all public education matters, has two new representatives on the 16-member committee. Dr. Lester Young, a professor at Long Island University and a former teacher, principal, and superintendent, will serve the last two years of a five-year term previously held by Adelaide L. Sanford. Dr. Betty A. Rosa, also a former principal and school district superintendent, will serve until 2013.
In city government, the highest-profile resignation was of Patricia Lancaster, who left her post as head of the Department of Buildings in the midst of a spike in construction-related deaths, including a crane collapse that killed seven people. Robert LiMandri, Lancaster’s first deputy commissioner, is serving as Lancaster’s interim replacement.
The Center for NYC Neighborhoods (CNYCN) has found its first executive director, Michael Hickey. Hickey, who served as vice president of community development for Deutsche Bank since 1998, will oversee efforts by the new city-funded nonprofit to prevent and address subprime lending and mortgage foreclosures across the city. CNYCN is an independent, nonprofit entity launched by Mayor Bloomberg in December to deal with increasing foreclosures in the city.
The Council nonprofit funding scandal has also shaken things up. Speaker Christine Quinn appointed Preston Niblack to replace Mike Keogh as Council finance director. Previously, Niblack served as deputy director at the Independent Budget Office for eight years.
The Department of Small Business Services has undergone more leadership changes. Angie Kamath replaces Scott Zucker as deputy commissioner for workforce development, a position dedicated to creating employment opportunities in fast-growing sectors and helping to meet the hiring and training needs of city businesses. Prior to this appointment, Kamath served as assistant commissioner for program design and development, leading the agency’s poverty reduction work.
Kamal Bherwani becomes the first executive director of HHS-Connect, a Health and Human Services initiative to share information across a dozen city agencies and create an integrated client case file without compromising confidentiality. Bherwani formerly served as chief information officer and associate commissioner for the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
Also in housing, news from Washington that echoes throughout the five boroughs came with the resignation of HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson, who left amid charges of cronyism. President Bush named Steve Preston, head of the Small Business Administration, to fill the cabinet post. Preston’s confirmation hearings are pending.
Safe Horizon, a major national victim assistance organization headquartered in New York, has found its new chief executive officer, Ariel Zwang. Zwang come from the executive directorship at New York Cares, where she helped build the organization into the city’s largest volunteer organization in the course of her seven years there. Previously, Zwang served as a special assistant to then-HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo. Safe Horizon’s upcoming priorities include enhancing services to victims of child abuse and expanding services in Harlem.
In other nonprofit news, Joyce S. Johnson has been named president and CEO of the Black Equity Alliance, a coalition of human service, business, faith, cultural and philanthropic communities working to improve living and working conditions for blacks in New York. Prior to this position, Johnson served as New York State Field Director for the Obama presidential campaign. A former two-term chair of Community Board 7, Johnson replaces Melba Butler, who served for nine months in an interim capacity.
At Girls for Gender Equity, associate director Mandy Van Deven has stepped down. She is moving to Calcutta. Her replacement has not yet been identified. Women in Need, one of the largest providers of shelters and supportive family housing in the city, has named Eric Rosenbaum as chief operating officer, a new position. Rosenbaum comes from the Hartz Mountain Corporation, where he managed purchasing. He has a long career in volunteerism, including extensive work with LGBT youth.
Jennifer Ching is the new director of Appleseed’s New York office. Appleseed works for legal, legislative and market-based reform around issues such as immigrants’ rights, healthcare, financial access, education policy and criminal justice reform. Ching comes from the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, where her work included pro bono representation of Guant