Tag Archives: Chief of Staff

Longtime Queens borough president aide to retire


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy Dominick Totino Photography

The right-hand woman to the last two Queens borough presidents is retiring after 30 years in Borough Hall.

Alexandra Rosa, chief of staff to Borough Presidents Claire Shulman and Helen Marshall, will leave at year’s end. She plans to transition into the nonprofit sector.

“I feel that it’s time to move to the next stage of my life, and I’m happy to do that,” she said. “I’m grateful and honored to have had the opportunity to serve the borough of Queens.”

Rosa, 59, helped Marshall develop strategies for investing more than $650 million in capital budget items over a decade. She also played a key role in strengthening the public library system and expanding the borough’s cultural centers.

“So much of the borough has changed,” Rosa said. “We’ve gone through tremendous struggles. On the other hand, we’ve seen tremendous triumph.”

The top aide said Queens, like the rest of the city, was rocked by Sept.11, Superstorm Sandy, a recession and foreclosures.

But the borough came out swinging, with more senior housing, the renaissance of downtown Jamaica and new economic potential unleashed “through the power of zoning,” Rosa said, pointing to newly approved developments in Willets Point and western Queens.

On a smaller platform, the newly opened Children’s Library Discovery Center, a 14,000-square-foot hands-on science and technology-focused exhibit in Jamaica, was one of the most memorable for the outgoing aide.

“It’s something I was able to participate in from its earliest stage of an idea to opening and seeing children engage in exploring the exhibits that were there,” Rosa said. “That was a real beginning-to-end experience.”

Marshall is term-limited and will give up the seat she held since 2001 to Melinda Katz.

Earlier this month, Katz tapped Councilmember Leroy Comrie to be her deputy borough president and Jay Bond, a former longtime aide, as chief of staff.

Rosa said the new administration under Katz will take the borough to the next level and continue the path of progress.

“I’m going to miss working for some really great people. We’ve done some tremendous things together,” Rosa said. “Life is about change, and this is a new phase that I’m embracing.”

 

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Queens’ Jacob Lew named Obama’s chief of staff


| smosco@queenscourier.com

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

Hail to the chief and hail to his Queens-raised chief of staff.

Forest Hills native Jacob Lew, an orthodox Jew, was named President Barack Obama’s chief of staff in a ceremony at the White House on January 14. Lew had been serving as director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and now replaces William Daley, who will concentrate his efforts on the president’s re-election campaign.

Lew, 56, grew up on Yellowstone Boulevard and graduated from Forest Hills High School in 1972, where he returned last year to give a commencement speech. And in that speech, Lew said that growing up in Queens set him on the path to the White House.

“In each generation, people come to our five boroughs in search of a better life. They study hard and go to public high schools like Forest Hills. And by never accepting limits and always believing that there’s nothing they can’t do, they find themselves at the top of our biggest companies, filling concert halls and theaters, and – yes – sitting in the Oval Office advising presidents.”

After high school, Lew graduated from Harvard in 1978 and Georgetown University Law Center in 1983. He has two grown children with his wife Ruth and owns a home in Riverdale, the Bronx.

He is a former deputy secretary of state under Secretary Hilary Clinton and had previously served as OMB director for President Bill Clinton, where he helped design Americorps, the national service program. Before moving to the executive branch he worked for former House Speaker Tip O’Neill and Senator Paul Wellstone.

In a statement issued by the White House, President Barack Obama said that Lew, who prefers to be called Jack, has figured prominently in the president’s decision-making process for a number of years.

“Before he served at OMB for me, Jack spent two years running the extremely complex and challenging budget and operations process for Secretary Clinton at the State Department, where his portfolio also included managing the civilian operations in Iraq and Afghanistan,” the president said. “And over the last year, he has weighed in on many of the major foreign policy decisions that we’ve made.”