SUFFOLK COUNTY EXECUTIVE BELLONE ANNOUNCES ADMINISTRATION APPOINTMENTS TO BOLSTER RECOVERY EFFORTS TO COVID-19
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone today appointed Lisa Black to serve as Chief Deputy County Executive. Dennis Cohen will transition to serve as County Attorney, Vanessa Baird-Streeter as Deputy County Executive for Community Recovery, and Amy Keyes as Chief of Staff. The County Executive also appointed Steve Randazzo as Assistant Deputy County Executive, Nicole Amendola as Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, and Olga El Sehamy as Director of Human Services.
The new appointments, which come during the ongoing response to the Coronavirus, will reposition existing county personnel to address the recovery efforts in the aftermath of this crisis. Each of these appointees will serve on the COVID-19 Recovery Task Force that was recently announced by County Executive Bellone. The new staffing changes will result in more than $61,000 in net savings to the taxpayers since the appointees who are filling vacancies will make the same or less than those they are replacing.
“As the administration continues its ongoing response to the Coronavirus, it is important to begin planning ahead to deal with the recovery efforts that will consume our attention,” said County Executive Bellone. “These outstanding public servants will shift to roles that will enable the county to have the most effective response possible. This is all hands on deck, and I thank each of them for stepping up to the plate to help our residents not only get through this difficult time, but come out stronger and more resilient in the end.”
To further support these efforts, the County Executive named three additional individuals to serve on the COVID-19 Recovery Task Force. Darnell Tyson has been appointed Chief Deputy Commissioner of Suffolk County Department of Public Works and will handle transportation issues. Philip Berdolt will serve as Deputy Commissioner of Suffolk County Department of Public Works and handle infrastructure matters. In addition, Jason Smagin will serve as Acting Commissioner of Suffolk County Parks Department.
Lisa Black will serve as Chief Deputy County Executive. Lisa, who recently served as Deputy County Executive and functioned in the role of Chief of Staff, brings over 20 years of experience in state and local government to the job. In that position, she was charged with overseeing the operations, managing special projects, and advocating on behalf of Suffolk County’s state and federal legislative agenda. Prior to that role, she served as Director of Intergovernmental Affairs and Senior Advisor for Transportation and Infrastructure for the New York State Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services. In that role, she led a full-scale public affairs effort to garner support for the Long Island Rail Road Expansion Project, commonly known as the Third Track Project. The project has been a major priority for Governor Andrew M. Cuomo to modernize transportation infrastructure on Long Island and across the region. She managed an operation that was responsible for building support among key constituencies and stakeholders that included the business community, state and local elected officials, organized labor, civic groups, and transportation advocates. Moreover, she oversaw a robust community engagement process to keep the public informed and solicit their input as part of the regulatory process. In the end, her efforts proved instrumental in securing final approval of the MTA Capital Plan that allowed the $2 billion dollar project to begin construction in 2018. Prior to her tenure in the Cuomo administration, Lisa held a number of senior level positions in the Bloomberg Administration at the New York City Department of Homeless Services. She began her career in the New York State Senate overseeing communications for the Senate Majority Leader and in the State Senate Media Services Office. Prior to that she was a news editor and videographer for WTEN, an ABC affiliate in Albany. Currently a resident of Smithtown and Suffolk County native, Lisa holds a Bachelor of Arts from The College of Saint Rose.
Amy Keyes will serve as Chief of Staff. Amy is a seasoned government professional with twelve years of experience in policy research and development. In her previous role as Assistant Deputy County Executive for Intergovernmental Affairs, Amy played a leading and expanded role with intergovernmental affairs at the state and federal levels. Prior to that she served as Director of Intergovernmental Relations for Suffolk County Executive Bellone. Among her many responsibilities in the position, she advocated on behalf of the County Executive’s legislative initiatives, assisted in developing policy agenda, and served as liaison between members of the County Legislature. Prior to this role, was a member of the County Executive’s Shared Services Team and instrumental in helping to craft and adopt SuffolkShare, the most comprehensive Shared Services plan across the state. She also served as Director of the Suffolk County Landbank Corporation where she managed all operations, administered grants, and led a team responsible for returning distressed and underutilized properties to the tax rolls. Amy also worked as Chief of Staff to Suffolk County Legislator Rob Calarco. Before her tenure in Suffolk County, she worked for the Town of Islip from 2007 through 2012, rising to the position of Deputy Chief of Staff to former Town Supervisor Phil Nolan. Amy received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Philosophy from Stony Brook University.
Vanessa Baird-Streeter will serve as Deputy County Executive for Community Recovery. Vanessa most recently served as Assistant Deputy County Executive for Suffolk County for Special Projects. In this role, she is responsible for Community Based Intervention initiatives, Language Access, Census 2020, Human Services and Smart Start Suffolk, an early education pilot program focused on children 0-5 years of age, their families and community. Previously she served as Executive Director of Communications for the Long Island Power Authority and Director of Communications for the Town of Babylon. Earlier in her career, Vanessa joined the Wall Street Investment Bank, Goldman Sachs, as a financial analyst. She landed a job at KLS Professional Advisors after her two years as an analyst at Goldman Sachs. She served in the capacity of Portfolio Analyst and Head Bond Buyer for KLS for 7 years. She is involved in a number of volunteer activities within her community including as director of the Venettes Cultural Workshop for the past 27 years. During Vanessa’s leadership of the Venettes, she has been able to award over $500,000 to students in the form of educational and performing arts scholarships. In addition to her commitment to the Venettes Cultural Workshop, Vanessa has served as the Director of the Ministry to Catholics of African Ancestry from 1997-2005. Vanessa has also been honored by a multitude of community, civic and educational organizations, receiving over 100 awards for her philanthropic, business and community based work. Vanessa received a Bachelor of Arts Degree with a double major in Economics and Education from Dartmouth College.
Dennis Cohen will serve as Suffolk County Attorney. Since 2013, Dennis has served as Chief Deputy Suffolk County Executive. In this role, he was responsible for managing day-to-day operations of a county government with a $3.1 billion budget and approximately 9,100 full-time employees. He was responsible for negotiating collective bargaining agreements with four law enforcement unions, the corrections officers union and the largest civilian union resulting in a new salary scale for new employees that achieved savings for the county. Among his other accomplishments include negotiating agreements and overseeing the transition of five county health centers to federally qualified health centers that resulted in millions of dollars in savings and bringing additional services to county residents. Previously, Dennis served as County Attorney, managing the operations of a law office which consisted of a staff of 89 employees including nearly 60 attorneys and a budget of over $14 million. In this capacity he advised and represented the County Executive, the County Legislature, and all employees of the County in matters including but not limited to employment discrimination, personal injury, medical malpractice, false arrest, and juvenile delinquency matters in Family Court. Prior to is employment with Suffolk County, Dennis served as a Suffolk County District Court Judge where he presided over misdemeanors and violations, arraigned defendants and rendered written decisions in all areas of criminal law and civil cases. From 2001-2007, Dennis also served as the Babylon Town Attorney, overseeing a staff of seven Assistant Town Attorneys working on litigation and drafting legislation for consideration by the Town Board. Dennis is currently an Adjunct Professor at Hofstra University School of Law where he instructs second year law students. He received his J.D. from Hofstra University and B.A. from SUNY Old Westbury.
Nicole Amendola will serve as Director of Intergovernmental Affairs. Since 2018, Nicole has served as an intergovernmental relations liaison for Suffolk County Executive Bellone, helping to interface with the County Legislature and covering a number of the legislative committees on behalf of the executive’s office. Among various other responsibilities, Nicole oversaw the County Executive’s state agenda helping to advocate for the administration’s state budget and legislative session priorities. Previously, she served as an Analyst for the New York State Assembly Standing Committee on Labor where she was the main liaison between Assembly members and staff, helping push forward legislation including workers’ compensation, minimum wage, prevailing wage, paid family leave, and workers’ rights. Prior to that she served as the Chief of Staff for Assemblymember Michelle Schimel overseeing the day-to-day operations and staff for Assemblywoman Schimel’s district office and Albany office. Nicole holds a Master of Arts for Political Science from LIU Post and received her Bachelor of Arts for Political Science from LIU Post with magna cum laude honors.
Jason D. Smagin will serve as Acting Commissioner of the Suffolk County Parks Department. Jason recently served as Director of Real Estate for Suffolk County where he represented Suffolk County in all stages of real estate transactions, administered the County’s New York State General Municipal transfer program and affordable housing grants funds, and worked with developers of qualified projects for the acquisition of land for workforce housing or for infrastructure improvements. Previously, he was a Senior Assistant County Attorney where he drafted and negotiated all forms of municipal and vendor agreements, as well as advised Commissioners and departments on legal matters. Prior to his service with Suffolk County, Jason held a number of positions in the private sector including Associate General Counsel with St. George’s University and an Attorney in the Employment and Litigation Department of Adecco. Jason is a Board Member to the Suffolk County Landbank Corporation, and received his Juris Doctor from Touro College Jacob D. Fuschberg Law Center and Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Hartford.
Steve Randazzo will serve as Assistant Deputy County Executive. Steve recently served as Deputy Director for Performance Management. In this role, he led and oversaw County Executive Bellone’s major policy and government reform initiatives including procurement reform, campaign finance reform, the Child Protective Services External Task Force, SALT Cap response plan, cybersecurity improvement, revenue contract negotiations, and opioid policy reform. He also helped to lead the design, implementation and oversight of Suffolk 311. He was also appointed Chair of the Suffolk County Deferred Compensation Board. Prior to his tenure with the county, Steve worked for more than two years at Price Waterhouse Coopers, LLC where he focused on policy analysis, performance and project management, quantitative analysis, and cybersecurity. Steve grew up in Lindenhurst and serves as a First Lieutenant in the New York Army National Guard, 187th Signal Company. Steve holds a Masters of Public Policy from Harvard University, Masters of Education from Fordham University, and Bachelor of Arts from Boston College.
Olga El Sehamy will serve as will serve as Director of Human Services. She recently served as Deputy Director of The Youth Bureau on a part-time basis opposite Director Roderick Pearson, who also serves part-time. Olga also served as a key member of the county’s Community Based Intervention Working Group where she will work with the team, effectively leveraging county resources and creating public-private partnerships to strengthen communities and reduce costs for taxpayers. Olga recently served as Executive Director of Adelante of Suffolk County, Inc., a nonprofit organization that provides a range of services to diverse people including youth empowerment, people with special needs, and senior citizens. Prior to her work in the nonprofit sector, Olga worked in the aerospace industry as a Program Manager at Ametek Aerospace, a leading global manufacturer of electronic instruments and electromechanical devices, and before that as a Program Manager at Parker Aerospace. Olga received her Masters of Business Administration from Dowling College and aCertification in Project Management from the University of California, Irvine.
Darnell Tyson was appointed Chief Deputy Commissioner of Suffolk County Department of Public Works. Darnell recently served as Acting Commissioner of Suffolk County Department of Public Works in which he spearheaded critical public works projects, blueprints for capital projects, hiring and transition plans, among other tasks. He represented the Department at County Legislature meetings to inform lawmakers of priority projects, interact with stakeholders, and coordinate Department response efforts for snow and extreme weather events. Prior to this, he was Deputy Commissioner of Suffolk County Department of Public Works. He helped design and implement the TransLoc Rider real-time bus tracking application and the Suffolk FastFare mobile fare payment application in efforts to improve the local bus system and build ridership. Before his tenure with Suffolk County, Darnell was Manager for Long Range Bus Planning at MTA-New York City Transit and Principal Transportation Planner. He began his career in the private sector as a Traffic Operations Engineers with Dunn Engineering Associates/Parsons Brinckerhoff in Ronkonkoma. Darnell received a M.S. in Transportation Planning & Engineering from Polytechnic University and a B.S. in Civil Engineering in Polytechnic University.
Philip Berdolt will serve as Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Public Works. Phil has served in a number of high-level positions within the Administration as well as in local government outside of Suffolk County. Recently, Phil served as Commissioner of Suffolk County Department of Parks, Recreation, and Conservation in which he managed operations and maintenance for all County Parks that span over 55,000 acres of parkland. Phil also oversaw personnel and payroll for over 100 full-time employees, including more than 300 seasonal employees on a part-time basis. Prior to this role, Phil served as Deputy Commissioner for Suffolk County Department of Public Works. Before his tenure in County government, Phil was the Commissioner of Department of Public Works for the Town of Babylon in which he managed construction and maintenance of over 500 miles of Town roads, snow removal operations, stormwater management, and 80 full-time employees.