By Alex Robinson
After he was term-limited out of office at the end of the year, former City Councilman James Gennaro wasted little time finding a new job.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced last week he would be appointing Gennaro to the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
“I am pleased to have Mr. Gennaro join our team at DEC, where he will bring his many years of environmental experience to help protect and prepare New York City for extreme weather,” Cuomo said.
Gennaro’s new job will be the deputy commissioner for New York City sustainability and resiliency. In the new position, Gennaro will be working to make the city better prepared for future storms and other challenges associated with climate change.
“Superstorm Sandy, which heavily impacted New York City, made clear that we have much to do to fortify the community for the future,” Cuomo said. “Mr. Gennaro will be a valuable leader in those efforts, and I look forward to working with him.”
Gennaro was first elected to the Council in 2002 to represent District 24, which covers Fresh Meadows and parts of Flushing as well as Jamaica, for three terms. He served as chairman of the Council’s Environmental Protection Committee during his 12 years in power.
As a councilman, he introduced and sponsored a long list of legislation that involved pollution, environmental conservation and greenhouse gas emissions. Gennaro has also been a vocal opponent of fracking in upstate New York for years.
In 2010, he was awarded the Distinguished Lifetime Service Award from the New York City Brownfield Partnership, a program that offers incentives to developers to clean up contaminated former industrial sites. Gennaro sponsored legislation that year that created the first municipally-run brownfields program in the country.
After Hurricane Sandy struck, he sponsored several pieces of legislation to combat climate change.
He recently won the 2013 Environmental Quality Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The award recognizes achievements that have improved environmental quality.
“Jim’s demonstrated passion for improving the environment and his leading role in shaping environmental policies to protect New Yorkers make him a natural fit for the DEC,” said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens. “Jim’s breadth of experience will be put to good use as he works to ensure New York City is equipped to face future storm events.”
Reach reporter Alex Robinson by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.