The City's Latest Hirings and Retirings

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The recent news that top city leaders will be leaving for posts in President-elect Barack Obama's administration (see related story) was just the latest – albeit the biggest – in a string of changes at New York City’s public agencies this fall. To begin with, Tino Hernandez stepped down as the chairman of the New York City Housing Authority after seven and a half years on the job. Bloomberg appointed Ricardo Elias Morales, NYCHA’s general counsel, as interim chairman, then named him the permanent choice. Hernandez has accepted the position of CEO and president at Samaritan Village, a nonprofit substance abuse agency, where he will replace Richard Pruss, who served there for 43 years. Also at NYCHA, supervisor of elevator maintenance Charles Miraglia submitted his resignation on December 3rd amid widespread criticism of NYCHA’s elevators. Miraglia served at his current position since 2003. An interim supervisor, drawn from NYCHA’s elevator support services unit, will take on Miraglia’s duties until a permanent replacement is found to take on the new and expanded position of agency elevator director.

Hector Diaz raised eyebrows when he submitted his resignation as city clerk, which is widely acknowledged as a plum job with a yearly salary of over $185,000. Michael McSweeney, the first deputy city clerk, will be the acting city clerk until a replacement is found, while Diaz has moved on to a nonprofit drug program in the Bronx. Other changes saw Alan Moss take over as chair of the New York City Water Board, replacing James Tripp, who had served for four years as chairman. Tripp will continue as general counsel of the Environmental Defense Fund, where he has been for 35 years. Dr. Michael Stocker, who has worked previously as a healthcare executive, has replaced Charlynn Goins as the board chair for the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation, while Emily Lloyd stepped down as the commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection, after serving since 2005, and will become the CEO of Trinity Real Estate. First deputy commissioner Steve Lawitts is the acting commissioner until a new one is appointed.

Meanwhile, in the union world, some well-known New York leaders moved into broader roles. Roger Toussaint, the president of Transit Workers Union (TWU) Local 100, who has served as its president since 2000 and who presided over the 2005 transit strike, has become international vice president of TWU of America. Fitz Reid, who has worked as a New York City public health sanitarian for the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene for 15 years, was installed as president of Local 768, the third-largest healthcare union in New York City, replacing Darryl Ramsey, who will return to his work for the city as a rehabilitation counselor.

Several nonprofits expanded their boards recently. Charity Group, LLC, which provides information technology and marketing services to nonprofits, took Patricia Lynch onto its board of directors. Lynch serves as the president of her own organization, Patricia Lynch Associates, one of the biggest government affairs and media relations firms in New York politics. Shifts were also made at Seedco, a local nonprofit working on community and workforce development. Dr. George Pruitt, the president of Thomas Edison State College in Trenton, New Jersey, has been named chair of the Seedco board of directors. He will replace Stanley Brezenoff, the president of Continuum Health Partners, Inc., a nonprofit hospital system in New York City, which includes Beth Israel Medical Center and Roosevelt Hospital among others. Brezenoff will remain on the Seedco board. Also joining the Seedco board will be Robert Giloth, the director of family economic success at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, having served there since 1993.

Followers of the battle over the proposed Jets stadium at Hudson Yards will be interested to learn that John Raskin, who lead the battle as the director of organizing at Housing Conservation Coordinators (HCC), has become chief of staff for state Senator-elect Daniel Squadron. The position of director of organizing at HCC, which Raskin held for two years, will be filled in January by Jackie Del Valle, who previously served four years as the lead organizer at New Settlement Apartments, a Bronx-based housing and community service organization. Her position there has not yet been filled. Lizzette Dunn-Barcelona has become associate director of Sinergia, a New York-based service organization for minorities, immigrants, and the disabled. Previously, she had been executive vice president at STRIVE, leaving in Jan. 2008.

To catch up on STRIVE news, last January saw a host of changes at the East Harlem-based workforce development agency. Eric Treworgy became chief executive officer, replacing Michael Smirlock, and Angelo J. Rivera was named chief operating officer of New York operations. At the same time, STRIVE co-founder Rob Carmona assumed the new title of President of STRIVE Inc., retaining overall responsibility for the international network of STRIVE affiliates.

Citizens Housing and Planning Council lost its senior policy analyst, Jeff Otto, who has become an economic officer with the United States Foreign Service. Alexa Kasdan, former policy and research coordinator at Community Voices Heard, an advocacy organization by and for primarily low-income women, has turned the reins over to Vincent Villano, who spent two years as project coordinator for the City-Wide Task Force on Housing Court. Kasdan has since joined the Urban Justice Center's community development project as the director of policy and research. Pratt Center for Community Development Director Brad Lander has announced he will step down from that position in March, to focus on his run for City Council in Brooklyn's 39th District, the seat now held by Bill de Blasio. Lander will stay on as a fellow; no word yet about who might take the reins from him in the spring. Friends of the High Line, a nonprofit focused on the preservation and reuse of a 1.5-mile-long elevated rail structure in West Chelsea, has lost its special projects manager, Meredith Taylor, to the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, where she will serve as a manager for PlaNYC, Bloomberg’s collection of environmental goals. Her responsibilities at Friends of the High Line will be assumed by Danya Sherman, who has stepped in as the program and outreach manager, and a new director of programming position, yet to be named.

Immigration advocacy groups have also seen a series of changes this fall. Grace Jungsook Yoon has become executive director of the Korean American Family Service Center, replacing Seon Ah Ahn after her tenure of four years. Yoon recently gave up her position as development director at Korean American Community Services, where she was replaced by previous staff member Jessica You. Coalition for Asian American Children and Families has found a new policy coordinator of child welfare and education, Choua Vue, replacing Zeyen Wu who had served for one year. Vue had previously served as program director for the outreach and interpretation project at Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, where he was replaced by Ahlam Jbara.

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