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County Executive Bellone Announces New Appointments Reflecting Commitment to Diversity and Saving Taxpayer Dollars

Rosalie Drago Nominated to be First Female Labor Commissioner in County History

 

Joe Brown, Long Island Regional Director for New York State Department of Transportation, Nominated to be Commissioner of Department of Public Works

 

Additional Appointments to Personnel Office, Real Property Tax Agency, Department of Health Services, Economic Development and Planning, and County Executive’s Office Result in More Than $60,000 in Salary Cost Savings for Taxpayers

 

 

Latest Savings Build on County Executive Announcement to Reduce His Pay below Legal Salary by $40,000 during Final Term, Saving Approximately $340,000 for Taxpayers over Tenure

 

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone today appointed Rosalie Drago as Commissioner of Suffolk County Department of Labor, Licensing, and Consumer Affairs, making her the first female to hold the position in county history. The County Executive also nominated Joe Brown, a high-ranking transportation official with the Cuomo Administration, as Commissioner of Suffolk County Department of Public Works. Brown currently serves as Long Island Regional Director for the New York State Department of Transportation.

 

Additionally, County Executive Bellone announced a number of appointments to the Personnel Office, Real Property Tax Agency, Department of Health Services, Department of Economic Development and Planning, and County Executive’s Office that will result in more than $60,000 in salary cost savings for taxpayers. These savings build upon the County Executive’s total savings by voluntarily reducing his own salary and paying into his own health care before it was required.

 

Six of the twelve appointments made by County Executive Bellone are women, and 25 percent of the new appointees are people of color following the recently signed Executive Order promoting diversity and inclusion in the county workforce and building on the previously announced appointments of Dr. Gregson Pigott, Retha Fernandez and Tahir Shamin.

 

”These new appointments continue my commitment to recruit talented individuals that make our county administration more diverse, while actually reducing the cost to taxpayers,” said County Executive Bellone. “I want to thank Frank Nardelli for his many years of service as Labor Commissioner. I congratulate both Rosalie and Joe and am excited to have them join our outstanding team.”

 

“I am humbled, proud and excited to serve in this new role,” said Rosalie Drago. “Meaningful, economically empowering employment is a birthright and is essential to the health of our communities and businesses. This is an opportunity to leverage what I have learned about the workforce ecosystem across Long Island and NYS and invest that in Suffolk County. I am grateful to County Executive Bellone for choosing me for this important role and look forward to working with his stellar team.”

 

Rosalie Drago has been appointed Commissioner of Department of Labor, Licensing and Consumer Affairs. Rosalie brings with her more than 20 years of economic development experience. As the Long Island Regional Director at the Workforce Development Institute, she worked closely with Long Island employers, employees, lawmakers and educators to promote commercial and residential interests by helping to develop a more skilled workforce. Before joining the Workforce Development Institute, Rosalie served as Vice President of Marketing and Membership for the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, where she was responsible for new member enrollment, retention of the chamber’s 1,500 member businesses and generation of new corporate sponsorships. Prior to that, as an independent Neighborhood Economic Development Specialist, Rosalie organized Brooklyn merchants and community members where she oversaw the formation of small business education programs and advocated for Kings County businesses with city and state agencies. Rosalie received her Bachelor of Arts in Humanities & Classic Civilizations from Montclair State University, and her Masters of Public Administration from New York University.

 

Rosalie replaces Frank Nardelli as Commissioner and will earn the same salary.

 

Joe Brown has been appointed Commissioner of Department of Public Works. For over 30 years, Joe has worked for the New York State Department of Transportation, where he has served in a number of specialized roles. For the last 6 years, Joe has served as the Long Island Regional Director for the New York State Department of Transportation. As the regional director, Joe was responsible for more than 850 employees, overseeing the maintenance and operation of the state’s highway system, and has managed the department’s preparation and response to more than 100 emergencies and special events throughout the region. Prior to that, Joe served as the Regional Director for the New York City Region, where he oversaw a number of critical projects, including managing the design build and selection process in the region for the Kosciuszko Bridge Construction project, and managed the department’s response to Hurricane Sandy. Joe received his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Northwestern University, and has received a number of awards over his career, including the Government Engineer of the Year from the Long Island Chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers, and the NYSDOT Commissioner’s Award of Excellence.

 

Joe, who is a professional engineer, replaces Gil Anderson, and will increase his salary by $16,804. The salary for this role was increased to allow the position to be competitive in the 2020 job market. 

 

A number of other individuals who were appointed by County Executive Bellone include:

 

·         Jason Elan was appointed Deputy County Executive for Communications and External Affairs and will earn $15,399 less than his predecessor. Jason previously served as Deputy Director of Communications for Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and Press Secretary for Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul.

·         Thomas Melito was appointed Suffolk County Acting Personnel Officer.Thomas has served as a Deputy County Executive responsible for performance management and served as an architect behind SuffolkStat. He will earn the same as his predecessor.

·         Dennis Brown was nominated as Suffolk County Director of Real Property Tax Services. Dennis has previously served as County Attorney for the Bellone Administration. He will earn the same as his predecessor.

·         Dr. Shaheda Iftikhar was appointed Deputy Commissioner of Department of Health Services and she will earn the same as her predecessor.

·         Rebecca Sinclair was appointed Deputy Commissioner of Economic Development and Planning and will earn $6,539 more than her predecessor.  

·         Derek Poppe was appointed Director of Communications and will earn $11,302 less than his predecessor.

·         Marykate Guilfoyle was appointed Deputy Director of Communications and will earn $33,773 less than her predecessor.

·         Felix Adeyeye was appointed as Assistant to the Police Commissioner and will earn $22,759 more than his predecessor.

·         Melanie Sinesi was appointed Director of Community Affairs and will earn $13,442 less than her predecessor.

·         Portia Ingram was appointed as County Executive Assistant and will earn $35,335 less than her predecessor.

 

Recently, the County Executive announced that he would voluntarily return $40,000 in salary to taxpayers over the next four years. As the largest County in the State of New York, the salary for the Suffolk County Executive has long been set as the highest in the State of New York. County Executive Bellone however, has never accepted that full salary. Since taking office in 2012 he has cut his pay significantly each year, returning more than $45,000 in legal salary to Suffolk taxpayers last year, and nearly $300,000 in salary and benefits over the course of his two terms. County Executive Bellone will become the highest paid countywide official in Suffolk County and highest paid County Executive in the state for the first time in his eight years in office in 2020. His salary of $222,124 is $35,124 more than he accepted in the prior 8 years and $10,000 less than his legal salary. County Executive Bellone has pledged to cut his pay by $10,000 a year for the remainder of his term in office.

 

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