experience forged during 23 years in public service to counsel clients
who face difficult public policy matters or special needs in dealing
with government. I combine expertise in strategic public
policy, politics and media to devise and manage strategies to make a difference on behalf of
trade unions, trade groups, coalitions, businesses, government and
community agencies, individuals, public officials, and political
candidates. [View my resume or curriculum vitae.]
An attorney, I joined Bronx Borough President
Fernando Ferrer's staff February 1, 1999 as Legislative
Counsel. For Borough President Ferrer, my primary
responsibilities included developing issues and proposing new
initiatives, counseling the Borough President on legislation and serving
as a legal, media and policy advisor. Through April 2003, I
served Ferrer's successor, Adolfo Carrion Jr. as Director of
Planning, Policy and Budget.
Previously, I served more than 16 years as
Counsel/Chief of Staff to a northeast Queens City Council Member. Before
joining city government, I served as an Assistant to then Secretary of
State Mario Cuomo and in the Office of Bronx District Attorney Mario
From June 2003 through May 2005, I wrote a weekly column on complex public policy matters, The Public Ought to Know -- now available as an ebook at Barnes and Noble (Nook), Amazon (Kindle) and Apple iBooks (for Mac, iPhone and iPad). Since 2015, I also write a column of the same name featured in The Labor Press which includes some 30,000 subscribers in media, government, politics and business.
In addition to my practice as a Government and Public Affairs
Counsel, I serve as Policy and Political Director for Amalgamated Transit Union Locals
1056 and 1179, and for several years managed non-clinical operations of a human services agency
– Community Partnership
Referrals and Resources. I also maintain a private
practice in law.
In government service, I developed or worked on
many policy and legislative initiatives and local laws. His work
involved the environment, public safety and justice, budget and fiscal
reform, and city governance.
Environmental laws included The New York City Recycling Law (1989), The Right to Know Law
(mandating the disclosure of toxic chemicals), the Spill Bill
(covering accidental releases of hazardous substances), mandating the
purchase of alternative fuel vehicles, the ban on apartment house
incinerators and regulating the disposal of medical waste.
Public safety laws include 1993 Local Law 1 creating
an independent (of the NYPD) civilian complaint review board, the Social
Club law, the establishment of an Anti-Graffiti Task Force, empowering
police officers to summons the illegal sale of graffiti tools, mandating
the NYPD report their response times to crimes, merging the EMS into the
Fire Department, saving most of the fire boxes and requiring all
remaining boxes to be voice-activated, regulating the sale and
possession of box cutters, and prohibiting the sale or transfer of
handguns without a safety locking device.
Legislation developed include a Clean Water bill,
state and city legislation to bar the NYC Water Board from setting rates
before the City budget's adoption, Water Rate relief for seniors, and a
bill to Index SCRIE and SCHE to the cost of living.
Policy initiatives included a CCRB Reform Plan, a
Community Policing Initiative, a model Alternative to Incarceration
plan, a Strategic Clean Air Plan, an affordable housing plan and a
blueprint for fiscal and budget reform, The 2002 Bronx Strategic Policy
Statement, and Portable Science Labs for city schools.
Active in many community organizations, my
primary involvements have included the borough-wide Queens Civic Congress
[co-founder, President after serving eight years as Executive Vice
President and founding chair of its special committee on Creedmoor
(State Psychiatric Center)] and the Northeast Queens Jewish
Community Council [Chairman, Executive Committee, after serving
seven years as President].
Under my leadership the Northeast Queens Jewish
Community Council implemented a Neighborhood Development Program
including the design of the brochure You Can Have It All!, a Lay
Leadership Committee and Jewish Continuity programs.
I served on Community School Board 26 from 1989
to June 1993 and Community
Board 13 from 1980-1988 and 2001-present; I received a Community Board Service
Award from the Queens Borough President in 2010 and 2015. I
helped found the Northern Queens Health Coalition (later the Queens
Health Coalition, was its first chairman, an incorporator and wrote its
original By-Laws. During my service as Vice President (I later
served two terms as Executive Vice President) of the Queens Jewish
Community Council, my efforts kept that social services agency from
closing its doors.
Other community involvements include the Executive
Board, Treasurer (2015-17) and since April 2017 as Board Chair of SNAP (Services Now for
Adult Persons), the North Bellerose Civic
Association [Past-President and Newsletter editor], Temple Sholom of Eastern Queens
[Delegate to Queens and Northeast Queens JCCs, Vice President,
1986-1988, and Brotherhood President, 1984-1986]. Other recent
accomplishments include founding director of the Flushing Meadows Corona Park
Conservancy and founding Co-Chair of the Eastern Queens NORC-WOW
(naturally occurring retirement community without walls).
My activities extend to the charitable and fraternal
Order Knights of Pythias where I serve the Grand Lodge of the State of New York as a Grand Tribune (member of a panel that moderates
legal issues within the order). Executive Secretary to the
Grand Chancellor and webmaster. During 2012-13 I served as Executive Secretary to the
Grand Chancellor, Chair of the Technology Committee, member of the
Youth Commission. In 2011-12, I served as
an Assistant to the Chief
Deputy Grand Chancellor, Executive Secretary to the
Grand Chancellor and co-Chair of the Technology Committee. He has edited Pythian Knight Magazine since 2015. My
(subordinate) lodge, FDR Lodge #613, honored me with Life
Membership in 2012; I serve FDR as a Past Chancellor,
Secretary, Editor of its newsletter, The Beam and as a member of the boards of its affiliated Benevolent Association and Foundation (President since 2015). In
2011, I earned the Supreme Chancellor's Certificate of Honor for volunteer service in the community. In 2007, the Knights of Pythias
presented me with a Certificate of Recognition for Outstanding Service
within the Pythian Order, and awards for Excellence in Journalism
and Fraternalism (2006-2007) and as Man of the
Year, Order Knights of Pythias, Grand Lodge Domain of New
An active networker, Gotham City Networking, Inc.®
recognized me as Networker
of the Year in 2011.
GOtham GREEN®, Brooklyn Power Breakfast Group and Staten Island Gotham, and is a member of Gotham's
Long Island Legal and
Gotham Towers groups. I also served on the Board of Directors of
the Hofstra University School of Law Alumni
Association. I have managed or coached teams in the Glen Oaks Little
League from 1992 through 2004, including three district champions.
In 2016, I received The Spirit of Theresa Award from The Theresa Foundation. In 2009, the TimesLedger Newspaper/Community
Newspaper Group presented me with its Community Service Impact
Award. In 2008, Queens Region Hadassah presented me with
its Myrtle Wreath Award. The Queens Courier profiled me as a Star of Queens the previous year (2007). In 2003, Congressman Gregory W. Meeks presented me with a Community Commitment Award.
In 1998, the Northeast
Queens Jewish Community Council honored me with its
Outstanding Service to the Northeast Community Award.
Congresswoman Nita Lowey presented me with a Congressional
Certificate of Merit and Assembly Members Mark Weprin and Ann
Margaret Carrozza also presented a New York State Assembly
Citation for me. In 1997, I received the Community
Service Award from the Young Israel of New Hyde Park and
Citation of Honor from Queens Borough President Claire
Born in Forest Hills, I attended P.S. 191, J.H.S.
172, Martin Van Buren High School and earned a B.A. in Political Science
and J.D. at Hofstra. I resident with my wife, the former Rachelle Confino,
in Bellerose. Our son, Jonathan, a University Scholar, City
University of New York Macaulay Honors College at Queens, earned his doctorate in Sociology at NYU's
Graduate School of Arts &
Sciences on an IES (Institute of Education Sciences) fellowship
administered by NYU's interdisciplinary Institute of Human Development
and Social Change (IHDSC). Our daughter, Marisa, graduated The Conservatory of Theatre Arts and Film at
SUNY-Purchase and pursues a career in dramatic writing.
Read a friend's
Tribute at my Homecoming at FDR Lodge #613 Knights of Pythias (March 23, 2012).
Download my biography in third person format.