Borough President-elect Antonio Reynoso unveiled the membership of his transition committee on Wednesday, which will work through the end of the month to ensure the outgoing councilmember has a smooth move into Brooklyn’s top elected office as he takes the reins from current Beep and Mayor-elect Eric Adams.
The 40-member committee includes pols, advocates, academics, and leaders in business, culture, labor, and religion, among others. It features three co-chairs: former Borough President Marty Markowitz, former Central Brooklyn Councilmember Una Clarke, and Make The Road New York Co-Executive Director Arlenis Morel.
District Leader Kristina Naplatarski will serve as chair of the inauguration committee, which will prepare for Reynoso’s swearing-in on Jan. 1.
“I’m proud to bring together this experienced group of leaders from all walks of life to ensure that we’re ready on day one to implement our vision of a Brooklyn that works for all of us,” the Beep-to-be said in a statement. “Our transition committee represents so much of the diversity and talent of our borough, with leaders from labor unions, cultural institutions, and community organizations, and everyday Brooklynites.”
The committee is filled with Brooklynites not only from all walks of life, but also people who are experts in a variety of fields relevant to city politics. For educational matters, there’s Brooklyn College president Michelle Anderson, Zakiyah Shaakir of the Alliance for Quality Education, and Gabe Gallucci of the American Federation of School Administrators union, plus Reynoso’s own fourth grade teacher Lorraine DeAngelis. On environmental matters, he’s got Eddie Bautista of the NYC Environmental Justice Alliance and Eric Goldstein of the Natural Resources Defense Council.
On health care, the committee boasts Woodhull Hospital CEO Gregory Calliste, as well as Helena Grant, Woodhull’s Director of Midwifery, and mental health advocate Christina Sparrock. On transportation, he’s enlisted Shabazz Stuart, CEO of the bike parking startup Oonee. On combatting food insecurity, he’ll be helped by Melony Samuels of the Campaign Against Hunger. And on relations with Brooklyn’s business community, Reynoso will be advised in his transition by Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce President CEO Randy Peers and Downtown Brooklyn Partnership president Regina Myer.
In today’s world, the borough presidency is a largely ceremonial position, and lots of the job consists of boosting Brooklyn’s profile and advocating for its residents from a high-profile political perch. But the beepage does still have some formal powers, including issuing non-binding recommendations in land-use decisions, appointing community board members, and introducing legislation.
The Beep-elect has plenty of folks on the committee to help him on land use matters. There’s Carlo Scissura of the New York Building Congress, a trade group for real estate industry players. There’s affordable housing developers as well, including Michael Rochford of the St. Nicks Alliance, Scott Short of the RiseBoro Community Partnership, and Michelle Neugebauer of the Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation, as well as affordable housing advocate Rob Solano of CUFFH.
Reynoso, who has served as a City Councilmember representing Williamsburg and Bushwick along with Ridgewood, Queens since 2014, won a crowded primary in June to become the Democratic nominee for the borough president’s race, beating out fellow Councilmembers Robert Cornegy and Mathieu Eugene and Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon, among several others.
He easily beat Republican challenger Menachem Raitport in the November general election.
On the Council, Reynoso chaired the Sanitation Committee, and arguably his most significant accomplishment in City Hall was shepherding the reform of the notoriously dangerous private trash-hauling industry. Reynoso also was one-half of the duo which passed the Right to Know Act; his section of the bill requires police officers to inform those they stop of their right to refuse a search. He also developed a framework for rezoning Bushwick, the Bushwick Community Plan, which was crafted for years in concert with community members, but the plan was aborted after the city refused to consider the framework.
Reynoso has developed a reputation as a reform-minded pol: he came into office after defeating the late, disgraced former Brooklyn Democratic boss Vito Lopez in the 2013 primary, which he described as a blow to the Brooklyn machine. More recently he joined other Brooklyn electeds to denounce incumbent Kings County Democratic chair Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn, after her husband, District Leader Edu Hermelyn, allegedly said a slur in Spanish to Assemblymember Maritza Davila.
There’s plenty of things Reynoso wants to shake up as well as Beep, as he told Brooklyn Paper in an interview back in August. Some of his priorities in exercising the Borough Presidency’s powers include bringing on diverse “new blood” to community boards, developing a comprehensive land use plan for Brooklyn, pursuing upzonings in wealthier and whiter neighborhoods, and getting out of the “YIMBY, NIMBY doom loop” that comes with every rezoning in order to build new housing in the borough.
On his transition committee, Reynoso said Wednesday, “I look forward to working with them over the coming weeks to prepare for a smooth transition, get input from our communities, and recruit the best and brightest for our team at Borough Hall. With their help, I’ll be ready to hit the ground running in January to move Brooklyn forward.”
The full list of transition committee members is as follows, according to Reynoso’s campaign:
- Adam Friedman, Director, Pratt Center for Community Development
- Ahsan Chughtai
- Amelia Adams, Chair, 21 in ‘21
- Andrew Gounardes, NYS Senator
- Anne Pasternak, Director, Brooklyn Museum
- Anthonine Pierre, Deputy Director, Brooklyn Movement Center
- Arlenis Morel, Executive Director, Make the Road (Co-Chair)
- Betsy Maclean, Co-Executive Director, Hester Street
- Bhav Tibrewal, Political Director, Hotel Trades Council
- Carlo Scissura, President and CEO, New York Building Congress
- Christina Sparrock, Mental Health Advocate
- Coco Killingsworth, Co-Interim President, BAM
- Colvin Grannum, President and CEO, BedStuy Restoration
- Rabbi David Niederman, Executive Director, United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg
- Dorothy Siegel, NYU
- Eddie Bautista, Executive Director, NYC Environmental Justice Alliance
- Eric Goldstein, New York City Environment Director, NRDC
- Floyd Rumohr, CEO, Brooklyn Community Pride Center
- Gabe Gallucci, National Director of Governmental and Political Affairs, American Federation of School Administrators
- Gregory Calliste, CEO, NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull
- Helena Grant, Director of Midwifery, Woodhull Medical Center
- Jocelyn Rainey, President and CEO, Brooklyn Community Foundation
- Jonathan Westin, Director, New York Communities for Change
- Kevin Elkins, Political Director, NYC District Council of Carpenters
- Marty Markowitz, former Brooklyn Borough President (Co-Chair)
- Matt Chartrand, Ironworkers Local 361
- Dr. Melony Samuels, Founder and Executive Director, Bed-Stuy Campaign Against Hunger
- Michael Rochford, Executive Director, St. Nicks Alliance
- Michelle Anderson, President of Brooklyn College
- Michelle Neugebauer, Executive Director, Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation
- Rabbi Moishe Indig
- Ms. Lorraine DeAngelis, Antonio’s 4th grade teacher
- Noel Hidalgo, Executive Director, BetaNYC
- Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez
- Randy Peers, President and CEO, Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce
- Reggie Nance, Associate State Director- Multicultural Engagement, AARP
- Regina Myer, President, Downtown Brooklyn Partnership
- Rob Solano, Co-Founder and Executive Director, CUFFH
- Scott Short, CEO, RiseBoro Community Partnership
- Shabazz Stuart, CEO, Oonee
- Teresa Gonzalez
- Una Clarke, Former City Councilmember (Co-Chair)
- Ya-Ting Liu
- Zakiyah Shaakir, Advocacy Director, New York State Alliance for Quality Education
- Zellnor Myrie, NYS Senator