Barely three months after stepping down from the City Council, Peter Vallone Jr. is back, this time working under Gov. Cuomo as a special assistant to the commissioner of the state Department of Corrections.
“I’m very excited about it,” Vallone said. “I posted on Facebook right away. I’m excited for the opportunity to serve the public again.”
The position suits Vallone, who partners with his father and brother at their law firm in Astoria, worked as an assistant district attorney, chaired the Public Safety Committee for 12 out of the 12 years he was in office and is rumored to want to run for Queens District Attorney when Richard Brown steps down.
“I’m bringing my public safety background and experience to address some of the problems Corrections is facing now,” Vallone said. “The experience I have is definitely going to be very helpful. We have to make sure that the people who deserve to be kept from society are kept away and the people who deserve to be in society are.”
One of the first projects he said he will work on is developing a procedure to safely release sex offenders back into society once they serve their jail time.
Eventually, Vallone would also like to address solitary confinement and a whole list of issues.
“A lot of people don’t know this but I was a defense attorney for 10 years and I had to make sure my clients got the time they needed,” he said. “In addition, I’ve overseen the DA’s offices and I have very good relationships with all the district attorneys and they’ve been helpful to me throughout my career.”
For fans of Vallone who fear they will no longer see him cruising the streets of Astoria on his motorcycle, fear not. Vallone’s office will be in Long Island City.
“I’ll still be around, I’ll always be around,” he said. “Now I get to take my bike up to Albany sometimes but don’t worry, you’ll still hear the low grumble around Astoria.”
Motorcycles aside, Vallone said he thought seriously before accepting the position.
“I had a few offers and there’s the law firm but in the end, I love working in public service,” he said. “I’ve been a councilman for 12 years. Yes, this is a different kind of public service but it’s a new opportunity and I’m excited for what’s in store.”
Vallone’s new gig is one of many additions Cuomo announced, including a new chief operating officer for New York State Homes and Community Renewal, deputy director of the Division of Veterans Affairs and deputy director of the Community, Opportunity & Reinvestment Initiative.
“I’m really looking forward to jumping right in,” Vallone said. “I have public service in my blood.”