Four new members join the Borough Hall team
Borough President Vito J. Fossella is pleased to announce the addition of four members to his staff. William Beale will serve as Director of Emergency Management, Public Safety & Veterans Affairs; Daniel Master will serve as Legal Counsel; Dr. Ram Raju will serve in a voluntary position as Senior Advisor of Intergovernmental Affairs and Health; Sia Sipp will serve as Special Assistant to the Borough President.
“As a retired NYPD sergeant, William will be instrumental in responding to public safety issues, as well as act in support of our U.S. service men and women. Sia will bring a depth of knowledge on local issues, having worked with me in our Congressional office,” said Borough President Fossella. “Dan Master returns to Borough Hall and brings his vast experience both in legal matters and Staten Island affairs. For example, Dan was instrumental in the closing of the Fresh Kills Landfill. I’m also proud to bring on Dr. Ram Raju who will be helping to advise me on all healthcare issues and quality of life matters on Staten Island.”
William Beale joined the New York City Police Department in 1991 and retired as Sergeant in 2011. As a retired police officer, his role within the Borough President’s office will allow him to address issues of public safety that come through the office, and serve as a liaison to the borough’s Veterans. Upon his retirement, he returned to school where he earned his certification from The Christ Hospital School of Radiography and is now certified in both X-Ray and Computerized Tomography. William, a Brooklyn native, lives in Great Kills with his wife Kera and three children.
Daniel Master returns to the role of Legal Counsel to the Borough President, a position he held under former Borough Presidents Guy V. Molinari and James P. Molinaro. He has also served the Borough as Chief Assistant District Attorney and Acting District Attorney, Richmond County. Dan holds law degrees from Georgetown Law Center and Columbia Law School and a graduate degree in Criminology from the University of Cambridge. He was a litigation Associate at the law firm of Shea & Gould and has served on the full-time law faculties at NYU School of Law, UC Berkeley School of Law, and Boston College Law School. Dan and his wife Angie have two children, Emma and Trip, currently at Stanford University.
“I enjoyed my time in local government working on projects such as closing the Fresh Kills Landfill and bringing minor league baseball to Staten Island. Improving the quality of life for all Staten Islanders is my lodestar,” said Master. “I was fortunate to have Borough Presidents Jim Molinaro and Guy Molinari as my mentors, and I’m thankful to Borough President Fossella for affording me this opportunity to reprise my role as Borough Hall Counsel.”
Beginning his medical career at Lutheran Medical Center in Brooklyn, Dr. Ram Raju has a 40-year career as a healthcare provider, teacher, researcher and community organizer. He formerly held executive positions at Northwell Health, NYC Health and Hospitals, and the Cook County Health System in Chicago, and will now serve as Senior Advisor of Intergovernmental Affairs and Health to BP Fossella. Among his many accomplishments include improving population health at Northwell by finding ways to meet the needs of its most vulnerable communities through public/private partnerships, and turning the financial status of the Cook County healthcare system around that expanded healthcare coverage to thousands of its residents. He attended Madras Medical College for his medical diploma and Master of Surgery degree and underwent further training in England. Dr. Raju is also a physician executive, having obtained an MBA from the University of Tennessee and CPE from the American College of Physician Executives. He was also president-elect of Asian HealthCare Leaders Association (AHCLA), board trustee of the NYS Office of Professional Conduct, and serves as a member of Community Board 2 and the Iron Hills Civic Association. Dr. Raju says he is excited to work with BP Fossella to improve the quality of life for all Staten Islanders.
A graduate of Fordham University, Sia Sipp earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communications, and proceeded to work in advertising sales at Blair Television in Manhattan until she left in 1997 when BP Fossella was first elected to Congress. She was an Executive Assistant in his Congressional office throughout his entire term, working on the Readers Are Leaders Program, and working closely with the Congressman’s United States Service Academy Selection Committee. After leaving Fossella’s office, Sia stayed home and raised her three children. Sia will report directly to Borough President Fossella and provide guidance on administrative, staff and policy decisions, advise the borough president on government and community issues, and serve as confidential assistant and manager of the borough president’s daily schedule. She looks forward to working for him again as he continues to serve the people of Staten Island. She lives in Randall Manor with her husband Thomas Sipp and their three children.
These staff changes are effective immediately.
BP Fossella, SI Chamber encourage Staten Islanders to support local eateries this weekend for a second chance at New Year’s Eve
Patrons are asked to dine in or take out on Jan. 29th
Borough President Vito J. Fossella and Staten Island Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Linda Baran want to remind Staten Islanders to support their favorite local bar or restaurant this Saturday, January 29th for a New Year’s Eve Part II.
Diners who take a photo of their table/food and tag @sichamber and the restaurant on Instagram will be entered to win one of the prizes listed below. There will be 12 different winners. All tagged posts/stories must be posted and submitted by 11:59pm on Saturday, January 29th.
Due to a large number of patrons canceling their reservations last New Year’s Eve, Staten Island restaurants were faced with an over-order of food supply, loss of wages for workers, and overall loss of revenue for their establishment. That was the impetus for BP Fossella and the SI Chamber of Commerce to create New Year’s Eve Part II.
To enter the contest, Instagram accounts will need to be set to public (not private) in order for entries to be accepted. On Monday, January 31st, the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce will enter all of the entrants’ Instagram handles into a randomizer to pick the winner, who will be notified through Instagram direct message.
"Governor Kathy Hochul has extended the mandate that masks be worn in all indoor spaces except your home, or where proof of vaccination is already required, until February 1, 2022.
The governor has left the responsibility of enforcement of this mandate to the individual counties, and I agree with this approach. The time for masks and mandates has passed. Accordingly, on Staten Island, the use of masks should be made entirely optional. Only by making this a personal decision are we respecting our individual freedoms, and trusting ourselves and our neighbors, to carry out these responsibilities with common sense.
Not only do we have limited resources, but also possess freewill. Staten Island has much better uses for our limited resources than citing individuals who are exercising their personal rights and beliefs.
Business owners, too, should not be punished for making choices of their own free will, or if they fail to follow seemingly arbitrary and ever-changing government mandates. They should be able to exercise their right to make common sense decisions, do whatever they believe is best for their businesses, and trust that customers will make their own personal choices.
Masks and a myriad of COVID restrictions have taken a toll on too many businesses and families, including school children. Children who have not been vaccinated have been and will be denied the opportunity to play indoor sports, or use their local athletic centers, community centers, and more. Some are being made to spend many days home from school learning remotely, if they are learning at all. I am convinced that such severity is not only unjustified by “the science” and statistics, but also harmful in ways we are already seeing, and which will continue to manifest themselves later.
Should these mandates continue, the toll taken on everyday life and the mental health of many will be significant. There needs to be a better balance. That balance should be determined by each of us individually.
A Statement from SI Borough President Vito Fossella Concerning Supreme Court Ruling on Vaccine Mandates
"Finally, there is a little dose of sanity coming out of Washington with the Supreme Court's ruling today striking down the Biden Administration's vaccine mandate for most private employers. This is the refreshing change of pace that we've been waiting for. The vaccine mandate was a clear overreach by the Administration. The Court's decision brings a level of common sense to this issue. I hope it's a bellwether for things to come.
Some people who make health policy declarations have to understand the disastrous impact their rules have on business and the economy, and that when they make healthcare policies, they are, often, simultaneously making economic policy."
BP Fossella, SI Chamber announce initiative in support of local eateries that lost revenue from NYE celebrations
Staten Islanders are encouraged to dine in or take out from a local restaurant Jan. 29th
Borough President Vito J. Fossella, along with Staten Island Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Linda Baran and other elected officials, announced yesterday a new initiative that will support local restaurants which suffered a financial loss during the New Year’s Eve 2022 holiday. Due to a large number of patrons canceling their reservations, Staten Island restaurants were faced with an over-order of food supply, loss of wages for workers, and overall loss of revenue for their establishment.
This initiative, New Year’s Eve Part II, encourages residents to patronize local Staten Island restaurants on Saturday, January 29th by dining in or taking out. Diners who take a photo of their table/food and tag @sibpvito, @sichamber, and the restaurant on Instagram will be entered to win various prizes. Details of prizes will follow.
“We are here for the restaurant owners, we are here for the small business owners, we are here for the bar owners, we are here for the tavern owners, we are here for the catering halls who suffered and perhaps felt like they didn’t have a voice for the last couple of years,” said BP Fossella to a room of over 20 restaurant owners. “But, we’re here to say you have a voice and we want to be supportive of you. We want to be there for you. The New Year’s Eve that came and went was hurtful for many of you. It’s typically a big day for restaurant owners."
BP Fossella offered these words to Staten Islanders.
"Please think about showing your support by going to your favorite bar or restaurant, and if you want to say thanks for sticking it out these last couple of years, come out on Jan. 29," he said. "It’s a fun way to say New Year’s Eve came and went, but we can do it again.”
“I want to acknowledge the many restaurants in the room today that for the last two years have been experiencing one thing after another, adapting to closures, mandates, outdoor dining and more,” said Linda Baran, President & CEO of the SI Chamber of Commerce. “It’s really important that we all support our community and we support people that risk their livelihoods to stay in business, and the workers who really need these jobs. Let’s all come out on Jan. 29 and let’s celebrate New Year’s Eve.”
“We stuck it through and we came together as a community,” said Max Calicchio, owner of Max’s Es-Ca, who described the challenges restaurateurs faced as they tried to navigate the changing regulations. “When one of us was down, we went to help them. And that’s the way we survived -- and I think we’re stronger for it.”
To enter the contest, Instagram accounts will need to be set to public (not private) in order for Borough Hall to accept entries. On Monday, January 31st, we will enter all of the entrants Instagram handles into a randomizer to pick the winner, who will be notified through Instagram direct message.
"In light of non-citizen voting now becoming law, I have filed a lawsuit today in New York State Supreme Court, Richmond County, seeking to declare that the law violates the New York State Constitution.
More specifically, the new law violates Article II, Section 1 of the New York State Constitution which clearly states the three necessary “qualifications of voters.” These include citizenship, to be at least 18 years of age, and to have residency in the state for at least 30 days.
As the lead plaintiff of this lawsuit, I seek to prohibit the Board of Elections from implementing the new law. The new law will require the creation of two different ballots for municipal races to prevent non-citizen voters from participating in federal and state elections, which in reality, opens the door for error. Potentially adding 800,000 new non-citizen voters to a system that has been made more complex by rank choice voting will increase concerns over fraud, and undermine faith in the system while diluting the voice of our citizens in selecting their local leaders.
One of the great privileges of being a United States citizen is the right to vote. To extend that right to non-citizens is unconstitutional and simultaneously dilutes the votes of and devalues what it means to be a citizen of New York State.
While the provisions of the new law would first be implemented in the 2023 elections, the time is now to protect the rights of all New York citizens, including those Staten Islanders who elected me to be their Borough President."
Sites will help mitigate historically long COVID-testing wait times
Borough President Vito J. Fossella, in partnership with NYC Health + Hospitals, has announced an additional testing site at Great Kills Park which builds on the other three sites secured earlier this week. All mobile vans will be able to serve 250 to 300 people a day and are open from 8a.m. - 7p.m.
Here are the locations and schedules for next week as the sites will rotate:
From Monday through Wednesday, the vans will be at Great Kills, Conference House, and Wolfe’s Pond Park. From Thursday through Sunday, the vans will be at Brookfield Park, Charleston Shopping Center and Wolfe’s Pond Park.
BP Vito Fossella & Assemblymember Mike Cusick Call for No Discussions on Citi Bike Expansion Until Staten Island is Included in the Program
Ask that no discussions be held with Citi Bike on electrifying docking stations until S.I. Gets Service
Borough President Vito J. Fossella and Assemblymember Michael Cusick have requested that the New York City Department of Transportation and Con Edison cease any further discussions with Citi Bike about electrifying docking stations and expanding service until Staten Island can be included in the program.
Recently, DOT and Citi Bike have been discussing ways to connect Citi Bike docking stations to the City’s electrical grid. This would be an expansion of the Citi Bike service.
“How can a program be called “Citi Bike” when only four/fifths of the City is served by the Citi Bike program?” Borough President Fossella and Assemblyman Cusick asked.
“This is a matter of equity and it troubles me to see Staten Island excluded from such a positive city-wide transportation program,” said Borough President Fossella. “By requesting that the DOT and Con Edison stop any further conversations with Citi Bike, we hope to trigger an action plan to bring Citi Bike service to this borough. I thank Assemblymember Mike Cusick for recognizing the importance of this issue and supporting this endeavor for Staten Island.”
“Staten Island is just as much a part of this city as every other borough. There is no reason why Staten Island should be excluded from the Citi Bike program while the rest of the city gets to enjoy the benefits,” said Assemblymember Cusick. “As the borough with the least transportation alternatives, the Citi Bike program would be especially beneficial for Staten Island. I am glad to be working with Borough President Fossella to bring Citi Bikes to Staten Island.”
“We would greatly appreciate DOT and Con Edison’s support in this matter. It’s time that Citi Bike lives up to its moniker and includes all five boroughs of the City in its service area,” said Fossella and Cusick.
Several previous attempts have been made to bring dockless bike share to Staten Island. The companies Jump and Lime, now owned by Uber, proved successful in the spring of 2019 but the program was discontinued by the end of that year. Beryl, a UK-based company, was expected to launch a dockless bike share program in 2020 but pulled out of the deal due to logistical complications and other considerations relating to COVID-19. Citi Bike, established in 2013, has never been offered on Staten Island.
A Statement from Borough President Fossella on Mayor Adams' “Small Business Forward” Executive Order
I commend Mayor Eric Adams for his recent executive order. He is now requiring city agencies to scale back on what might be described as the unnecessary harassment of New York’s small businesses. It is refreshing to know that our city is moving in the right direction by aiding these hard-working men and women. Too many businesses have been unexpectedly hit with fines so excessive, often for innocent mistakes, that they have been forced to close their doors.
Announcements of this nature are what our small business owners want and need to hear. For too many years they have been burdened by overly aggressive enforcement. By reducing fines, issuing warnings, and allowing for cure periods, our city will no longer impose anti-business rules and regulations. This will allow us to show support of small businesses, not present, as the mayor said, “an obstacle.”
As Staten Island Borough President, I will take this opportunity to assist the mayor by having my staff compile data from our borough’s small businesses about some of the fines they have received. It is my hope that these examples will underscore the importance of these efforts.
In closing, I am so pleased that Mayor Adams has taken such an important step. He believes, as I do, that we should promote and support small businesses. This executive order represents a refreshing policy change and a new era of cooperation.
The mayor is modifying a policy that not only drained them of their dollars, but drained their spirit as well.