This year’s Sloan Public Service Award winners, and the 302 winners from the previous 48 years, were selected from among more than 325,000 eligible workers. All employees of mayoral agencies, NYC Health + Hospitals, the Transit and Housing Authorities, public libraries, District Attorneys’ offices, the City University of New York, the Comptroller’s Office, Community Boards and public libraries are eligible for consideration for a Sloan Public Service Award. Nominations are submitted through an online application from the public, co-workers in other agencies, colleagues within the same agency, subordinates, supervisors, and past nominees. The emphasis is on individuals who have made a career of public service.
After a preliminary process of screening the nominations, those who emerge with strong recommendations are discreetly and carefully reviewed by Fund staff who check with people both inside and outside government who are familiar with the nominee’s work. Once this process is completed, detailed profiles of the 10 to 12 most promising candidates are prepared. These are typically five to six single-spaced pages that describe the nominee’s agency, current job, career in public service, his or her outstanding accomplishments and observations by those who know the nominee’s work first-hand. These profiles are then sent to the Selection Panel, which is comprised of distinguished New Yorkers and this year was chaired by Georgia Boothe, Executive Vice President of Child Welfare & Family Services at the Children’s Aid Society.
We were grateful to be joined on the selection panel deliberations by Joshua M. Greenberg, Sloan Foundation Program Director, and at the day-long workplace ceremonies by Sloan Foundation President Adam F. Falk.
The following is a brief look at what makes the 2021 Sloan Public Service Award winners extraordinary:
Tara Boirard is the Senior Deputy Director for Housing and Economic Development, Infrastructure, Value Engineering, and Community Development at the New York City Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget. Her 22-year career in service to the City has been dedicated to ensuring that every New Yorker has safe and affordable housing. Ms. Boirard currently oversees and coordinates all aspects of budgeting and financial management for all New York City agencies that fall under the auspices of housing and economic development.
“Tara has an incredible seriousness of purpose with her work. She never underestimates the importance of being a steward of public funds and how transformational her work can be for the well-being of our city. I cannot think of a better arbiter between City Hall and agencies than Tara Boirard, because she always finds the best solution for both, always.”
“Tara Boirard is the single best hire I have ever made in my entire public service career. She performs flawlessly when being asked to step up and address major issues, maintains strong networks and relationships and has a tireless commitment to the City of New York and the agencies she supports.”
Steven Cubero works for the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) as the Plant Chief of the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Facility. His 21 year-long career began in his freshman year of college as an electrician’s helper for the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA). Mr. Cubero worked there for 13 years before beginning his career at the DEP, where he is now in charge of one of the five largest wastewater treatment plants in the United States. The $5 billion facility sits on 53 acres in Greenpoint, Brooklyn and can process up to 720,000,000 gallons of water in a single day, treating the wastewater and sewage of a service area that covers nearly one million people.
“If I were building a team to tackle some gigantic problem that the city faced, Steven Cubero would be my first draft pick. He’s someone who always seeks out and faces the challenges that come with public service. You never have to ask him to do something, because he’s always proactive and on top of his duties.”
“He is very diligent in his work. His work ethic is incredibly strong and he is someone that is always willing to take on any task. It could be the middle of the night and in a torrential rainstorm; you’re not stopping Steve Cubero from doing what needs to be done.”
Paula Evans works for the New York City Health + Hospitals Corporation as the Director of Utilization & Care Management at Metropolitan Hospital. She began her career by serving as a medic nurse for the Guyanese National Service, fulfilling her country’s mandatory military service requirement. She later moved to the United States and began her career at Metropolitan, where she has held a variety of roles that range from NICU nurse to Head Nurse and Director of the Utilization Management Department. She is deeply committed to high-quality patient care at Metropolitan Hospital, which has over 390,000 total outpatient annual visits.
“I cannot think of a person more dedicated to their work than Ms. Paula Evans. She is a creative innovator and a person who embodies every characteristic you would want to have in your emergency room and your hospital.”
“I wish I could clone Paula. It does not matter what crisis is thrown at her; she only views it through the lens of action and finding a solution. Her essence and her soul is that of an ideal nurse.”
David Guzman works for the New York City Health + Hospitals Corporation as the Deputy Executive Director / Chief Operating Officer at Elmhurst Hospital. He manages a $600 million budget for one of New York City’s busiest and most visited hospitals. With over 300 employees falling under Mr. Guzman’s purview, he works closely with almost every department to find ways to increase efficiency and revenue for the hospital to allow its patients to receive high quality care.
“David is someone you do not want to lose if you work in a public hospital in New York City. His ingenuity is invaluable and rare; he can parse through data and point out problems long before they ever arrive. He is a model for anyone working in the finance realm of public hospitals. Or, really any realm of public hospitals.”
“He’s incredibly meticulous, smart, and thinks through every challenge from all angles. And when he proposes a solution, there is a ‘wow’ effect from everyone in the room. He is also team-focused and will go the extra mile to deliver whatever is needed for the hospital and its patients.”
Lynette Parker works for the NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development as the Supervising Attorney in the Manhattan Housing Litigation Division of the Office of Enforcement and Neighborhood Services. She is responsible for supervising all Manhattan-based cases that come through the Housing Litigation Division, with Manhattan being New York City’s most heavily litigated borough. Her responsibilities include the litigation of all 7-A administrator cases (considered to be the most extreme cases of landlord malfeasance) across New York City.
“She embodies all of the qualities needed to be a real leader. She’s intelligent and offers a wealth of information, she is supportive and knows how to motivate the attorneys that report to her and she is driven by the mission of assuring safe housing for New Yorkers. She may be my direct report, but I lean on her constantly.”
“I worked in HPD for 34 years. I can count on one hand the number of individuals I have worked with that have the tenacity and ability to get things done like Lynette Parker. I can think of no better partner to work with when a most difficult case comes up.”
Darryl Rattray is the Associate Commissioner of Youth Services and Strategic Partnerships for the
New York City Department of Youth and Community Development. He manages a multitude of youth development programs and centers in the city, including 92 Beacon school-based community centers, 99 Cornerstone centers in New York City Housing Authority developments, and oversees almost all of DYCD’s recreational and event offerings for New York City youth. Additionally, Mr. Rattray supervises the Runaway and Homeless Youth programs.
“Darryl is youth development in New York City. Any positive breakthrough for young people has happened because of Darryl’s involvement. His story and background mean he understands the importance of youth development better than most working in that field.”
“I have only worked with a handful of people that possess the level of accountability, creativity, and innovation that Darryl does. He has a rare ability to inspire and motivate others in the pursuit of creating new resources for young people.”