Seven months into his administration, Mayor Bill de Blasio today named four appointments to key departments–and called for changes at two of them.
Mr. de Blasio announced that he was making Hunter College’s assistant vice president of facilities Rick Chandler commissioner of the Buildings Department, civil rights attorney Richard Emery the new chair of the Civilian Complaint Review Board and former judge Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick and former New York Appellate justice Barry Cozier the chair and vice chair of the Mayor’s Advisory Committee on the Judiciary, respectively.
The mayor said that Buildings is badly in need of a change both in its dealings with New Yorkers, and in its office atmosphere.
“We have to change the culture of the Buildings Department. There has to be a totally different sense of time and efficiency,” Mr. de Blasio said, blaming bureaucratic delays and excessive fines on internal attitudes among personnel at the agency.
Mr. Chandler was part of the Buildings Department teams that inspected structures surrounding Ground Zero following 9/11 and damaged buildings after Hurricane Sandy, and said he was up to the task of guiding the agency. He promised to cooperate with the mayor in his ambitious goals of creating and maintaining 200,000 units of affordable housing, and of refitting school buildings to accommodate universal pre-K–as well as helping everyday families with work on their homes and properties.
“New York is a world city with neighborhood issues,” said Mr. Chandler.
Mr. de Blasio also promised a more energetic and effective CCRB to handle complaints of police abuse–calling Mr. Emery the perfect man for the job.
“He will enforce the notion that no one is above the law,” the mayor said.
Mr. Emery was part of the successful 1989 lawsuit that abolished the Board of Estimate and led to the current city charter, and repeatedly successfully sued the city over strip searches of non-violent prisoners at Rikers Island. The attorney, however, highlighted his personal friendships with law enforcement leaders, and promised each case would receive a judicious hearing.
“I pledge to you I will do my best to meet the challenges of leading the CCRB, which won’t be easy,” the new chairman said. “Police officers are constantly walking a fine line of abusing their legal authority and using the tools the law allows them.”m
Ms. Beauchamp is a 20 year veteran of the New York State Court of Appeals, and Mr. Cozier has served on the Mayor’s Advisory Committee on the Judiciary since 2006. Both thanked the mayor, and promised to serve as watchdogs over the city’s court system.
“Our courts can only function fairly and efficiently when the right judges are on the bench,” said Ms. Ciparick.
Mr. de Blasio praised the new officials and defended taking so much time to appoint them.
“Everyone has observed our approach, and we’re very proud of our approach. We work very diligently to find what we want, and we don’t settle,” the mayor said.
See the full press release below:
MAYOR DE BLASIO APPOINTS COMMISSIONER OF THE DEPARTMENT OF BUILDINGS, CHAIR OF CIVILIAN COMPLAINT REVIEW BOARD, CHAIR AND VICE CHAIR OF MAYOR’S ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
Mayor de Blasio today named Rick Chandler as the Department of Buildings Commissioner, Richard Emery as Chair of the Civilian Complaint Review Board, and Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick and Barry Cozier as Chair and Vice Chair of the Mayor’s Advisory Committee on the Judiciary, respectively.
“From protecting New Yorkers inside our buildings to protecting their rights as they walk on our streets, the leaders joining our administration today have the skills and experience to deliver for the people of this city,” said Mayor de Blasio. “These folks know the city and know how things operate, are committed to serving New Yorkers in every community, and will work to build a stronger, safer, and fairer New York.”
Rick Chandler is a professional engineer and Assistant Vice-President of Facilities at Hunter College, and brings years of large-scale management experience and deep expertise in the building code and zoning resolution. He has a record of harnessing technology to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of government operations on housing-related issues. Chandler served as a Borough Commissioner of Queens, Brooklyn, and the Bronx from 1995-2002. As Commissioner, he will be tasked with ensuring the safe and lawful use of more than 975,000 buildings and properties in New York City by enforcing the Building Code, Electrical Code, Zoning Resolution, and state labor law and multiple dwelling law.
“I could not be more humbled to join Mayor de Blasio’s administration as the head of the Department of Buildings,” said incoming Department of Buildings Commissioner Rick Chandler. “The stakes of this work are incredibly high. We’re there to make sure New Yorkers’ homes and workplaces are safe. We’re there to help get more affordable housing and job-creating construction underway. We’re going to advance those priorities safely, responsibly and fairly for all New Yorkers.”
Richard Emery has had a distinguished career fighting for civil rights on behalf of New Yorkers.
As Chair of the CCRB, Emery will be responsible for leading the agency’s efforts to investigate complaints by New Yorkers against allegations of misconduct involving NYPD.
“I am honored to continue working to protect New Yorkers’ rights, ensuring everyone is treated fairly,” said incoming Chair of the Civilian Complaint Review Board Richard Emery. “We will tirelessly work to safeguard our collective values of justice and mutual respect.”
Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick is a highly respected attorney and former judge who spent nearly two decades on the bench of the New York State Court of Appeals—the highest court in the state. She is currently Counsel to the law firm of Greenberg Traurig, LLP. Barry Cozier, who has served on the Mayor’s Advisory Committee on the Judiciary since 2006, brings a similar depth of experience in New York’s judicial system as a former justice of the Appellate Division of the state’s Supreme Court. Through their combined decades of service, both Ciparick and Cozier have made major contributions to the law of New York State.
As Chair and Vice Chair of the Mayor’s Advisory Committee on the Judicary, Ciparick and Cozier will lead the committee, under the direction of Maya Wiley, Counsel to the Mayor, in its search and selection of highly qualified, diverse and effective candidates for judicial appointments to Criminal and Family Courts, as well as interim appointments to Civil Court.
“Our courts can only function fairly and efficiently when the right judges are on the bench,” said incoming Chair of the Mayor’s Advisory Committee on the Judiciary Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick. “It is an honor to be able to use my years of experience in New York’s judicial system to help select candidates who are right for the job and up to the task.”
“New York City deserves judges who are fair, balanced and committed to public service,” said incoming Vice Chair of the Mayor’s Advisory Committee on the Judiciary Barry Cozier.
“After spending eight years on the Mayor’s Advisory Committee on the Judiciary, I look forward to helping to lead this important body.”
“Rick is a decision-maker. He is a leader who can make the tough decisions to cut through the bureaucracy on a day-to-day basis and also in times of crisis. He has a deep experience of the buildings department. He successfully led Queens during his commissionship there. He is highly knowledgeable in the building code, which will allow him to be extremely effective. Also, he rose through the ranks, which means that he understands the feelings of the outsiders dealing with the department. And he will ensure that the department will deliver excellent customer service, because he understands that it can be difficult to deal with the department, and he will work to remedy that. He was in the trenches with the people inside the department and also outside, with the people dealing with the department on a day-to-day basis. He also has a great understanding of industry needs and will work within laws and regulations not to restrict the construction industry, one of the most important in the city,” said former First Deputy Commissioner at the Department of Buildings Fatma Amer.
“We commend the Mayor for selecting Rick Chandler, a person who has true hands-on experience and a wonderful reputation for identifying problems, solving them, and protecting the public interest,” said the President of the Real Estate Board of New York Steven Spinola.
“Rick is a stand-up guy who knows this business inside-out, and who has integrity and compassion and the guts to make the hard calls to keep the department moving and the city safe. He will strike the right balance between facilitating new development and safety. I think the administration will make very many people happy in the industry by making this appointment,” said former General Counsel at DOB Phyllis Arnold.
“Rick Chandler knows the construction industry and he knows the Department of Buildings inside and out. Hunter was hard hit during Sandy, especially the Brookdale Campus. Rick led his team, and he was instrumental in pulling the campus back together. He has a great ability to bring people together to build consensus and move towards a common goal. We treasured his time at CUNY—this is a great loss for us, but Rick Chandler is going to be a tremendous asset to the de Blasio administration,” said CUNY Vice Chancellor for Facilities Planning, Construction, and Management Iris Weinshall.
“Under the leadership of Mayor de Blasio, the administration continues to place competent and experienced managers in top positions, overseeing the vital operations of our city. These diverse and distinguished appointees possess the experience and expertise in a wide array of areas that will help move our city towards a stronger future,” said New York City Public Advocate Letitia James.
“Richard Emery is highly regarded within New York City’s legal community. He has a very good knowledge and understanding of local police issues and practices. The NYPD looks forward to his leadership role at CCRB,” said Police Commissioner Bill Bratton.
“With his proven dedication to public service and his seasoned experience as a litigator who has championed civil rights, Richard Emery is a valuable addition as the new chair of the Civilian Complaint Review Board,” said Council Member Vanessa L. Gibson, Chair of the Council’s Public Safety Committee. “I thank Mayor de Blasio for making such a distinguished choice and look forward to working with Mr. Emery as we improve public safety and protect the rights of all New Yorkers.”
“There is no more important choice than selecting the right person to lead the Mayor’s Advisory Committee on the Judiciary, and we have established a proud history of a terrific selection process in the City of New York. I am so pleased that this tradition will now continue under the leadership of Carmen Ciparick, whose commitment to excellence in the courts and commitment to fairness and justice is unparalleled,” said former Chief Judge of New York Judith Kaye.
“I can think of no person better qualified than Judge Cozier to screen and recommend highly qualified candidates to the NYC Judiciary. Barry has experience as a trial judge, appellate judge, and court administrator. He is intimately aware both of the need for good judges and the qualifications necessary of good judges,” said Former Chief Administrative Judge E. Leo Milonas.
“I want to commend Mayor de Blasio on his appointments of Judges Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick and Barry Cozier. These appointments clearly reflect the Mayor’s understanding of how fundamental the quality of the New York Judiciary is to the well-being of our city,” said New York State Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman. “Judge Ciparick’s spectacular 19-year career on the Court of Appeals and 34 years on the bench overwhelmingly demonstrate her commitment to the judicial system in our state and the public we serve. I have the greatest respect for Judge Cozier, and his legal acumen and judgment will provide a vital role in the work of the committee.”
About Rick Chandler
Rick Chandler is a professional engineer and Assistant Vice-President of Facilities at Hunter College. In this capacity, Chandler supervises 300 employees and controls daily facility operations for 10 million square feet, including 13 buildings on seven Manhattan campuses, eight separate schools of higher education, a 2,500-student K-12 public school, 660 dorm rooms, and multiple athletic facilities. Following Hurricane Sandy, Chandler led emergency response at Hunter College, which entailed coordinating recovery and re-occupancy of three high-rise buildings.
Previously, Chandler served as Assistant Commissioner for Housing and Placement at the Department of Homeless Services and as Borough Commissioner at the Department of Buildings for Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx. During his time at DOB, Chandler was responsible for managing large teams of architects and engineers in reviewing construction plans for code compliance, as well as directing inspections for regulatory compliance and sign-off. At DHS, Chandler is credited for restructuring the Office of Rehousing, resulting in increased productivity of more than 50 percent in two successive years.
Chandler received an MSCE from Columbia University in 1990, and a BCSE from the University of Nebraska in 1984.
About Richard Emery
Richard Emery is a founding partner at Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady LLP, a litigation boutique that handles a variety of civil rights, commercial and criminal matters, including many against the City. Prior to starting his own firm in 1995, he was in private practice as both counsel and partner at Lankenau Kovner & Bickford. From approximately 1977 until 1987, Emery was a staff attorney at the New York Civil Liberties Union.
Prior to joining the NYCLU, Emery worked for various not-for-profit legal services organizations in the Seattle, Washington area, including founding the Institutional Legal Services Project, which represented persons held in juvenile, prison, and mental health facilities. Immediately after law school, Emery clerked for the Honorable Gus J. Solomon of the U.S. District Court for the District of Washington.
Emery is currently a member of the Commission on Judicial Conduct and the City Club of New York. He is also the president of the West End Preservation Society, a non-profit dedicated to preserving the character of West End Avenue. Previously, he served on the Commission on Public Integrity (2007-2011), the Commission on Government Integrity (1987-1990) and the Children’s Rights Board of Directors. Emery graduated from Brown University with a B.A. in 1967 and earned a J.D. from Columbia University in 1970.
About Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick
A former Senior Associate Judge of the New York State Court of Appeals, Judge Ciparick is currently Counsel to the law firm of Greenberg Traurig, LLP, where she advises clients on appellate matters and litigation strategy. Maintaining her dedication to public service, she was recently appointed to co-chair the New York Justice Task Force—which examines the causes of wrongful convictions—as well as serving on the Chief Judge’s Task Force to Expand Access to Civil Legal Services, the New York State/Federal Judicial Council, and the Institute on Professionalism and the Law.
After beginning her career as a staff attorney at the Legal Aid Society in New York City, Ciparick went on to serve as Assistant Counsel for the Judicial Conference of the State of New York, the Chief Law Assistant of the Criminal Court of the City of New York, and Counsel in the Office of the New York City Administrative Judge before being appointed Judge of the Criminal Court of the City of New York in 1978. Four years later, she was elected to the New York State Supreme Court, and in 1993 she was appointed to the New York State Court of Appeals by Governor Mario Cuomo. Ciparick grew up in Washington Heights, the daughter of Puerto Rican parents. She received a B.A. from Hunter College and a J.D. from St. John’s University School of Law.
About Barry Cozier
Judge Cozier, who was first appointed to the Mayor’s Advisory Committee on the Judiciary in 2006, and is currently a partner at the law firm LeClairRyan where he represents individuals and institutions in complex business and commercial litigation, employment law litigation, and federal and state appeals. Previously, he spent two decades as a member of the New York State judiciary, most recently serving as an Associate Justice of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, in the Second Judicial Department, where he presided over civil and criminal appeals.
Prior to his judicial service, Cozier held various public sector legal positions, gaining experience in a diverse range of issues, including general corporate matters, real estate transactions, administrative and estate proceedings, family law, and immigration issues.
Cozier has remained committed to public service and increasing diversity, as a founding member of the Black, Latino, Asian Pacific American Law Alumni Association at New York University School of Law and serving on the board of the Metropolitan Black Bar Association. He has also served on a number of other boards and committees including the Executive Committee of the New York City Bar Association, the Board of Trustees of the Center for Employment Opportunities, and chaired the New York State Continuing Legal Education Board. Cozier earned a B.A. from S.U.N.Y. at Stonybrook and a J.D. from New York University School of Law.
Updated to include further comment by Mr. de Blasio and remarks from Mr. Chandler, Mr. Emery, and Ms. Ciparick.