Editors Note: Soon after this story was published, Michael Hurwitz withdrew from the post of Deputy Borough President after a controversy over his tweets about Israel, first reported by the Queens Daily Eagle.
Queens Borough President Donovan Richards announced on Monday the first round of appointments for the Office of Queens Borough President.
Franck D. Joseph II will serve as Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor, Rhonda Binda and Michael Hurwitz were both chosen as Deputy Borough Presidents, and Breeana Mulligan was tapped to be the Director of Communications, the release said.
“Throughout their careers, Franck Joseph, Rhonda Binda, Michael Hurwitz, and Breeana Mulligan have demonstrated both exemplary talent and tireless dedication to the people of New York City, and I am confident they will bring the same energy to Queens residents and families,” said Richards in the press release announcing the appointments. “I am proud to add these hardworking public servants to my staff, some of whom represent the best of our borough, especially as we quickly move to tackle the ongoing public health and economic crises.”
More appointments will be announced later this month, the release said.
As Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor, Joseph will be responsible for overseeing the Office of Queens Borough President, advising the Borough President on policy matters and constituent concerns, ensuring Borough President Richards’ plans and decisions are implemented, and setting forth the overall agenda for the Office of Queens Borough President.
Before joining Richards’ administration, Franck was the Deputy Commissioner for the NYC Commission on Human Rights, where he oversaw the agency’s Community Relations Bureau, bias response team, public education efforts, and programming – all focused on informing New Yorkers of their rights and combating discrimination in housing, employment, and public places.
“Queens is the most diverse county in the United States, something we celebrate, but it was impacted [in] unimaginable ways due to the COVID-19 pandemic, rising housing costs, inequity in our education system, strain on our business communities, racial tension, and other issues,” said Franck. “Despite these struggles, I know Queens will lead the way out of our current crisis, and I look forward to standing with all its residents and workers to make this a more equitable borough.”
As Deputy Borough Presidents, Binda and Hurwitz will focus on specific policy areas of the office such as land use, technology, food insecurity, criminal justice reform, parks and transportation.
Binda is an attorney and activist. She was the Executive Director for the Jamaica BID and is the chairwoman of South Asian American Voice, and Vice President of the Guyanese Girls Rock Foundation.
“As a woman of color, it is also important to me that Queens Borough President Richards is committed to ensuring that women continue to have a strong voice in our government and community, and that in his appointments he has sought to honor the great progress made by the last four Borough Presidents, all women who led and moved our communities forward,” said Binda.
Hurwitz is leaving his post as the Director of Food Access and Agriculture at GrowNYC to join Richards’ administration.
“I’m thrilled to join Borough President Richards and work to achieve his vision for a more resilient and robust Queens,” said Hurwitz “He brings a fierce commitment to building a more equitable and accessible Borough, from expanding affordable housing, to addressing the root causes of food insecurity, to supporting the people and businesses disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.”
As the Director of Communications, Mulligan will be charge of the development and execution of effective external outreach strategies, managing relationships with members of the news media, including Queens’ expansive array of ethnic media, and building public confidence in the Office of the Queens Borough President’s ability to effectuate positive change in communities across the borough.
“During these challenging times, it is imperative to have strong leadership in Borough Hall, and Queens Borough President Richards has already demonstrated this in his first few weeks in office, said Mulligan. “I am thrilled to join the team, lead in building the communications strategy for the Queens Borough President’s office and work on behalf of the over two million people who call the World’s Borough home.”
Before her appointment to the Office of the Queens Borough President Mulligan was First Deputy Press Secretary under Speaker Corey Johnson in the New York City Council.