Lander Names Executive Leadership Team at Incoming Comptroller Office

City Comptroller-elect Brad Lander (Photo by Tsubasa Berg)

New York City Comptroller-Elect Brad Lander announced on Dec. 6 the appointment of his executive leadership team including two deputy comptrollers, his general counsel and his chief of staff.

The four appointees, who will assume their duties on January 1, 2022, will help lead the work of the comptroller’s office to fulfil its charter-mandated responsibilities as the City’s budget watchdog, long-term fiduciary, and chief accountability officer.

“This is a first-rate team of talented progressive leaders who know New York City’s budget and operations inside-and-out. They are committed to building a city that uplifts and serves all its residents, and a city government that delivers on its promises. This team will be a strong asset to NYC as we work towards a just recovery that secures our city’s financial well-being, better shares economic opportunity in all our neighborhoods, and keeps a sharp eye on our collective future,” said Lander.

The executive leadership team includes Sandra Abeles and Francesco Brindisi as executive deputy comptrollers;  Justina K. Rivera as general counsel; and Rachel Goodman as chief of staff.

Abeles’ role is to lead the comptroller’s office work to improve the operations of city government through oversight, transparency, and accountability. She will oversee the Bureaus of Audits and Investigations, Contracts and Procurement, and Administration, and serve as the First Deputy to the Comptroller. Abeles currently serves as First Deputy Commissioner of the New York City Department of Consumer and Worker Protection.

Prior to her work at DCWP, Abeles served as the Assistant Deputy Commissioner for Worker Protection at the New York State Department of Labor, and prior to that as an Assistant Attorney General in the New York State Attorney General’s office where she enforced labor standards and combatted immigration services fraud. Abeles is a graduate of New York University School of Law, and holds a Masters in Social Work from Columbia University.

Brindisi will advise the comptroller’s work as budget watchdog, economic forecaster, and public financier. He will oversee the Bureaus of Accountancy, Budget, and Public Finance. Dr. Brindisi currently serves as Senior Deputy Director for Revenues, Economics, and Policy at the Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget, where he oversees City revenues, economic analysis, and policy design and evaluation.

Previously, Dr. Brindisi was the Chief Economist at the NYC Economic Development Corporation. Dr. Brindisi is an Adjunct Associate Professor of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University, where he teaches classes in urban and public economics, political economy, and macroeconomics. Dr. Brindisi holds a Ph.D. in economics from Columbia University and a laurea summa cum laude from the University of Rome “Tor Vergata.”

Rivera will oversee all legal issues that come before the office and affect its operations to safeguard the fiscal health of the City, and the assets of the City’s five public pension systems. Rivera currently serves as Acting General Counsel and Deputy Comptroller for Legal Affairs at the Office of the New York City Comptroller, where she oversees the Comptroller’s Bureau of Law & Adjustment, the Bureau of Engineering, and the Bureau of Labor Law.

Rivera previously held the position of senior associate at Harris Beach LLC, and prior to that as Assistant Borough Chief, Senior Counsel, and trial attorney at the NYC Law Department. Justina is a graduate of Fordham University School of Law, where she is also a former Adjunct Professor, and holds a Bachelor’s degree, summa cum laude, from St. Francis College. Justina currently serves as the Vice President of Membership of the Metropolitan Black Bar Association and is a member of the Dominican Bar Association, the Hispanic National Bar Association, the NYC City Bar Association, and the Association of Black Women Attorneys.

Goodman will manage the day-to-day functions and responsibilities of the Comptroller’s Office, overseeing the Bureaus of Public Affairs, Policy, and Communications. Goodman has served as Chief of Staff to Brad Lander throughout his three terms in the City Council and served as Senior Adviser to his campaign for Comptroller. A graduate of New York University, Goodman will provide senior policy and administrative support to the Comptroller.

While Lander is staffing up, Mayor-elect Eric Adams has named a transition team but has yet to announce any administration appointments. At a press conference on Nov. 29, he told PoliticsNY he was taking a trip to Africa and is expected to make back-to-back-to-back announcements of administration appointments upon his return.