By Rich Bockmann
Borough President-elect Melinda Katz has tapped City Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans), a term-limited lawmaker from southeast Queens and her former Democratic primary rival, as her deputy borough president.
Katz, who succeeds three-term Borough President Helen Marshall, made the announcement early Tuesday and also named Jay Bond, her policy adviser from back when she served in the Council, as her chief of staff.
“From the beginning this campaign was about empowering working families and making life better for every Queens resident,” Katz said. “In order to make that vision a reality, Borough Hall needs the best public servants from across our city — and I’m confident we can find them. Jay’s years of experience in the public and private sectors and Leroy’s long history of leadership in Queens will be essential as we build the most open, inclusive and transparent transition in Queens history.”
Comrie leads the borough’s Council delegation and chairs the powerful Land Use Committee, but he struggled to raise funds and pick up key endorsements in his bid for Borough Hall. Katz also led the Land Use Committee during her tenure in the Council from 2002 to 2009.
Both the county Democratic Party and the Rev. Floyd Flake, a political power broker in southeast Queens, backed Katz, before Comrie came out with some disappointing fund-raising numbers. He dropped out of the race in July.
Political observers speculated Comrie would be offered the deputy spot for stepping down and clearing the way for Katz, who went on to defeat term-limited Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) in the primary and Republican Tony Arcabascio in the general election.
“Now more than ever, Queens needs Melinda’s vision for a more prosperous and equitable borough,” Comrie said. “Over the 20 years I’ve spent working with her, Melinda has proven herself a tireless and honest public servant with a real plan to move our borough forward. That’s why I’m thrilled to assist her administration and work tirelessly over the coming weeks to ensure Queens residents are represented by the best possible team in Borough Hall.”
The incoming chief of staff most recently worked as a policy director for the New York chapter of the American Institute of Architects.
“For years, Melinda Katz has served our borough with distinction and achieved tangible results on the issues working families care about,” Bond said. “I’m excited to build on that progress by helping Melinda assemble the most qualified team possible from every walk of life and every corner of our city. With their help, and with Melinda’s leadership, Borough Hall will fight for better schools, expanded health care and a more robust business environment throughout Queens.”
Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4574.