2013 Sloan Public Service Award Winners

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PHILLIP GLEASON

Assistant Commissioner Waste Management Engineering, Bureau of Waste Disposal, Department of Sanitation

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CHERYL HODGE

Traffic Manager Level 1, Traffic Enforcement Division, New York City Police Department

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JOSEPH LAZARUS

Deputy Director of Facilities, Division of School Facilities, Department of Education

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LINDA PANTAGES

Director of Payments, Contract Agency Financial Division, Department of Youth and Community Development

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STANLEE RICHARDS

Director of Nursing, Coler-Goldwater Specialty Hospital and Nursing Facility, New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation

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JEANINE THOMAS-CROSS

Manager, Mott Haven Branch (The Bronx), New York Public Library

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PHILLIP GLEASON

Assistant Commissioner Waste Management Engineering, Bureau of Waste Disposal, Department of Sanitation

Phillip Gleason is responsible for all aspects of New York City's landfills, including operations, regulatory compliance, closure, end-use, and post closure maintenance and monitoring. In a city that generates 12,000 tons of refuse every single day, it's a responsibility of nearly unfathomable importance. Gleason brings to his work a breadth of scientific and technical know-how,including expertise in geology,landfill engineering,chemical engineering, and water management. "I've rarely seen anyone who has such an in-depth grasp of so many details—engineering, environmental, and regulatory," says one colleague. In addition, operating and closing a landfill can span 30 years and must meet scores of complex environmental regulations, a Herculean task that involves an intricate three-decade timeline and requires an exhaustive knowledge of regulatory interpretation, accounting, and budgetary procedures. Gleason has been

involved with the successful closure of five city landfills, including Freshkills Landfill, the largest landfill in the world, which at its peak received all the city's solid waste, some 24,000 tons per day, including commercial waste. Gleason was also instrumental in the successfully closing Edgemere Landfill, a singular achievement since Edgemere, opened in 1938, had to be closed in accordance with environmental regulations it was never designed to meet. Phil is renowned not just for his technical and managerial acumen, but for his deep concern for city residents, designing landfill operating procedures in ways that minimize its impact on nearby residents. Says John Doherty, Commissioner of Sanitation, "Phil sees what needs to be done, and he sees eight steps ahead of anyone.We can't do without him."

CHERYL HODGE

Traffic Manager Level 1, Traffic Enforcement Division, New York City Police Department

Cheryl Hodge is the person in charge whenever there's a development that has the potential to disrupt traffic in any of the city's five boroughs. When it comes to New York traffic, opportunities for disruption are everywhere: 53,000 taxis and other for-hire vehicles, 7,000 city buses, one million cars and trucks, thousands of bicyclists, millions of pedestrians, fire trucks, ambulances and police cars all have to co-exist on the city's 5,800 miles of streets and sidewalks.Armed with unparalleled managerial skills, the ability to multi-task, and an encyclopedic knowledge of the streets of New York, Hodge keeps the city moving.With over 25 years in traffic enforcement and now in charge of six commands and 365 agents, Hodge rises to meet whatever challenge the city throws at her, whether it's a presidential visit, the opening of the United Nations, a car accident, a fire, a water main break, or the New

York City marathon.When a blizzard shut down the city 2010, Hodge worked tirelessly to ensure that routes were cleared into and out of affected areas. Her service in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks, working six months of 14-hour days to clear paths around the wreckage, earned her a commendation from the city. One of her traffic agents comments, "She is an amazing leader. She helps us understand how important the work we do is, even if no one else recognizes it." Her undeniable competence, no-nonsense attitude, and composure in times of crisis have earned her the respect of subordinates and superiors alike. Says one police captain, "Most communication is over our radio frequency. Her voice is recognized and everyone responds when she makes a call."

JOSEPH LAZARUS

Deputy Director of Facilities, Division of School Facilities, Department of Education

As Deputy Director of Facilities for Community School District 3, Joseph Lazarus oversees 50 Manhattan public schools located in 30 different buildings to ensure that 4 million square feet of school space is safe, clean and warm for teachers and students. Facilities is the department responsible for making schools run: garbage, recycling, heat and air conditioning, sanitation, refrigeration, electrical work, repair, asbestos abatement, playgrounds, yard maintenance, and security measures like cameras and metal detectors. If it's connected to a school, Lazarus is involved. It's a job he's meticulous about. Each month he visits every school, walks every floor of every building, meets with every principal. "I want the principals to focus on curriculum, not on facilities," says Lazarus.Taking out trash and keeping boilers working isn't the most glamorous part of education, but teachers, principals and

students alike recognize its vital importance. "The physical space creates the culture," says one principal. Lazarus is praised for his diligence, his attention to detail, and his ability to get things done. "He does rapid response," one of his cleaners says. "Whereas the typical time-frame for maintenance is months or even years, Joe thinks in terms of days and weeks." A wellspring of innovation, Lazarus is leading the drive to make schools more energy efficient and through his initiatives, his schools are on track to achieve a 30 percent reduction in electricity use by 2017. He's also at the fore- front of sustainability programs, engaging students in recycling programs and launching a groundbreaking composting program so successful it's been rolled out to more than 50 schools. Says one school principal, "I've seen a lot of facilities people in 15 years. Joe is the best."

LINDA PANTAGES

Director of Payments, Contract Agency Financial Division, Department of Youth and Community Development

Linda Pantages is that rare individual who combines a genuine passion for social welfare, an accountant's sharp eye for numbers, and a commitment to making government work. Pantages is the Director of Payments for the Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD), a city agency that provides funding to 1300 community-based organizations (CBOs) to provide services for children, youth and families in a wide range of areas. Prompt, efficient, well-timed payment is often a matter of stability or survival for the community-based organizations that get funding through the DYCD. Over her more than three decades of dedicated service to the DYCD, Pantages has been consistently praised by co-workers and CBOs alike for her professionalism, her objectivity,her encyclopedic knowledge of government accounting rules, and her willingness to help. Faced with a complex maze of regulations and procedures that must be successfully navigated

to ensure payment on a government contract, CBOs turn to Pantages to help them navigate the process so they can focus on what's important: helping the community. "Linda makes what we do possible", says one CBO staffer. Pantages is constantly striving to improve the services DYCD provides to the CBOs it contracts with. She oversaw the transition of the DYCD's contracts and payments process from a paper-based system to a fully electronic one, developed a standardized comprehensive set of payment protocols, and spearheaded the creation of a help desk that receives 4,000 calls per year. Says one CBO officer, "We refer to Linda, without exaggeration, as the miracle worker."

STANLEE RICHARDS

Director of Nursing, Coler-Goldwater Specialty Hospital and Nursing Facility, New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation

Coler-Goldwater Specialty Hospital and Nursing Facility is a 2,016-bed, two-campus, long-term acute care hospital and nursing facility located on Roosevelt Island.  As part of the NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation, it serves as a safety net facility providing care to individuals with chronic, debilitating conditions. 

Over the past 45 years, starting as a Nurse's Aide in 1967 and rising steadily to become Director of Nursing, Stanlee Richards has devoted her career to a single purpose: ensuring that the patients at Coler-Goldwater receive the highest standards of care and treatment in a nurturing environment in which they can live their lives to their fullest potential. Ms. Richards oversaw the evaluation and overhaul of nursing practices at the hospital and spearheaded efforts to expand services. Her emphasis on training and excellence have led to marked, measured increases in the quality of care delivered to patients in a number of key areas, such as infection control, ulcer rates, and the incidence of ventilator-associated pneumonia. Dr. Keerthipotti Vasudevaraju, Chief of Medicine at Coler-Goldwater, notes, "Stanlee is an extraordinary professional. She understands the field and infuses it with compassion."

Ms. Richards is currently in the process of managing the relocation of operations and services to the new Henry J. Carter Specialty Hospital and Nursing Facility in Harlem, NY, scheduled to open in October 2013.  Says Coler-Goldwater's Executive Director Robert K. Hughes, "Stanlee is a true embodiment of exemplary service to our health care system and our city."

JEANINE THOMAS-CROSS

Manager, Mott Haven Branch (The Bronx), New York Public Library

Jeanine Thomas-Cross is no ordinary librarian.The library she runs, Mott Haven branch on East 140th Street is located in one of the poorest Congressional districts in the country and sits amidst several homeless shelters and public housing projects. It's a community with access to few resources, and under Thomas- Cross's pioneering leadership, the Mott Haven Library has stepped into the gap. Serving 175,000 visitors per year, Mott Haven has become a model for what the modern 21st century library can be: a center of education, skills-building and community development.The nearly one thousand programs and community events held at Mott Haven each year target every demographic, age group, and educational level, and include adult literacy classes, computer instruction in English and Spanish, GED preparation, and arts programming for children of all ages. Thomas-Cross spearheaded the redesign of the library to make

it more welcoming and opened the Community Room to all comers, hosting services that include family counseling and free HIV testing.A passionate and tireless advocate for community engagement, she constantly pushes to raise the profile of the library's services inside the community. Be it school assemblies, community events, or local health fairs, everywhere the community gathers, Thomas-Cross is there. As one colleague re- marks, "Jeanine takes the lead in creating programs...Then she goes and sells them—door to door if that's what it takes." Co-workers and library patrons alike are awed by her vision of what a library can be. Says one colleague, "In a neighborhood with so few resources, what she has been able to accomplish is really spectacular. She is one of New York's unsung heroes."

 
 

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