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Grodenchik out of office but not political scene

By Cynthia Koons

It was the day he closed the doors on a two-year stint as state assemblyman and a 20-year career working for Queens elected officials.It was also the day he became a private citizen, affording him new opportunities, ones more lucrative than the jobs he held as a public servant.The former Flushing Democratic assemblyman stepped out of the public eye quietly and began a new job this month as vice president of Parkside Group, a government lobbying and political consulting firm founded by three other ex-Queens politicos.”My office remained open until the end. We were still working on constituent cases until the very end,” Grodenchik said. “We were there for two years and we tried to do the best job we could.”He protested little after he was defeated in the Democratic primary in September by Chinese businessman Jimmy Meng, who went on to win Grodenchik's seat.Although he was backed by all of the area's elected Democrats in the primary, he was soundly defeated by the Chinese immigrant for the seat that serves the predominantly Asian neighborhood of downtown Flushing.”I got a lot of very nice phone calls after I lost. (The Parkside Group) seemed to be the best fit for me,” he said. “I've been in government almost 20 years – I think I bring a lot to offer them as well.”Evan Stavisky, son of state Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky (D-Whitestone), who replaced her husband Leonard Stavisky when he died in office, is one of three founding partners of the firm, which was formed in 1999.”We're all veterans of Queens government and politics,” Evan Stavisky said. “We're excited because Barry Grodenchik brings with him 20 years of experience in government at the city and state level.”Grodenchik worked as a top aide to borough presidents Claire Shulman and Helen Marshall as well as for state Assemblywoman Nettie Mayersohn (D-Fresh Meadows) and Gov. Mario Cuomo.The Parkside Group partner Harry Giannoulis also worked for Cuomo as the governor's Queens representative. William Driscoll, the third partner, is a veteran of government who worked as a lawyer at the city, state and federal levels, most notably for former U.S. Rep. Thomas Manton, now head of the Queens Democratic Party.The firm helps design political campaigns and creates strategies for candidates seeking office.Grodenchik is going to work as a lobbyist, representing organizations in the City Council. Some of Parkside Group's clients include Queens College, Met Life and Flushing Town Hall.In his first few days of work he has been going to meet-and-greet events and attending council meetings for his clients.He has one important task left.”Making a lot of phone calls to let people know where I am,” he said.Reach reporter Cynthia Koons by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 141.

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