Borough President-Elect Melinda Katz has tapped a longtime associate and a former rival for key positions in Borough Hall come January.
Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans), who dropped out of the borough president race this past summer, will serve as deputy borough president, while Jay Bond, a former policy advisor to Katz during her tenure on the City Council and in the state Assembly, will be brought on board as chief of staff.
Katz, in a telephone interview on Tuesday, said both men have knowledge and experience vital to the effective operation of Borough Hall.
She said Bond’s responsibilities will include coordinating a staff of more than 50.
“Also important to me is that he worked with me in land use when I was chair of the Council’s Land Use Committee,” Katz said. “Since the Borough President’s Office has a lot to do with land use, that expertise is important.”
Bond most recently worked as policy director for the New York Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.
Comrie, the deputy majority leader in the City Council and leader of the Queens delegation, is being forced out of office by term limits after 12 years in City Hall.
He had been rumored as a possible deputy ever since shutting down his own campaign for the borough’s top slot.
Katz said Comrie had an eclectic background in Queens public service long before joining the Council, including posts as chief of staff to former Councilman Archie Spigner and on his local school board in the former District 29 prior to the establishment of the city’s community education councils.
“And the expertise he brings as chairman of the Finance Committee for the last four years also will play an important part,” she said.
While Katz said Comrie’s duties will be more clearly defined in the coming weeks, she said they will not necessarily include supervision of Queens community boards.
Those now are overseen by current Deputy Borough President Barry Grodenchik.
“I might appoint someone to that,” said Katz, who herself had the task under one of her mentors, Claire Shulman, though there also was a deputy borough president.
Both men were upbeat in a statement issued by Katz’s transition team on Tuesday morning.
“Now, more than ever, Queens needs Melinda’s vision for a more prosperous and equitable borough,” Comrie said. “Over the 20 years I have worked with her, Melinda has proven herself a tireless and honest public servant with a real plan to move our borough forward.”
Bond said the borough president-elect has shown tangible results during her career of public service.
“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,” he said.