Padavan’s example should be followed

With Senator Frank Padavan conceding to Tony Avella on Monday, the former City Councilmember prepares to take over the seat held by Padavan since 1973. Avella would be well served to follow the example the Senator has set over the last 38 years on how to be a great State Senator.

I had the privilege of working for Frank Padavan as a legislative aide in constituent services for three years. There are many people who have known and served him much longer than I have who would be in a better position to write this. However, the following is some of what Avella and any aspiring legislator could learn from Padavan’s legendary tenure:

First, get to your district office long before your staff in the morning and stay long after they leave. Read every piece of constituent correspondence that comes in and personally sign and review every communication your staff sends out. Know the issues in the community and Albany better than anyone, so you can recall instantaneously the status of a particular case and what you have done regarding the matter.

Second, hire great people who care about our neighborhoods and our state. People like Angela Fristachi, Virgina Salow, Alice Rinaldi, Erica Goldstein, Joe Dubowski and Barbara Tabita in the district office. Loyal and highly capable staff in Albany like John Googas, Linda Lanthier, Bryan Gorman, Charlie Assini, and Sue McMahon. Former aides such as Kevin Webb and Sandi Calhoun. Community representatives like Jack Fried, Joe Papillo, Morris Lee, Ruchika Chauhan, and Sunny Hahn. Past staffers including Joan Vogt, Dot and Randy Newton, Rita Hesse and Doug Brigandi. There are so many others.

Third, do what is in the best interest of the community, without regard to partisanship. Buck your party’s leadership when they are wrong and reach across the aisle when the other side is right.

Finally, be a leader on environmental, preservation and humane issues. From Alley Pond, to Udall’s Cove, to the Queens Farm Museum, to the Bayside Historical Society, Padavan has led the effort to establish or continue to support these vital institutions that make northeast Queens such a unique place to live.

Clearly, Padavan has distinguished himself as a statesman who has left an indelible mark on our community, city and state.


On a personal note, this is my last column, as commitments and responsibilities with my new job will not permit me to continue. Many thanks to Vicki Schneps, Lou Parajos and Pete Davis for their professionalism and giving me this opportunity over the last year.

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