Mayor de Blasio Appoints Lorelei Salas as Commissioner of the Department of Consumer Affairs

May 20, 2016

NEW YORK––Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced the appointment of Lorelei Salas as Commissioner of the Department of Consumer Affairs, the largest municipal consumer protection agency in the country. Salas in the past has been nominated by President Obama to be the Wage Hour Administrator at the U.S. Department of Labor and has long been an advocate for immigration, housing and employment services. In her new role as Commissioner, she also will oversee the Office of Labor Policy and Standards, a new division within DCA.

“Lorelei Salas is well-equipped for this position, having progressive values and being an advocate for immigration, housing and employment legal services programs,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Her skills and passion will surely be fully utilized as Commissioner of DCA, especially in regards to the new Office of Labor Policy and Standards, which will ensure that labor issues are addressed and that the rights of hard-working New Yorkers are met. I look forward to Salas’ work in DCA.”

"I thank Mayor de Blasio for giving me the chance to serve the city of New York under his administration. The Department of Consumer Affairs plays a critical role in ensuring that New Yorkers continue to flourish as business operators, consumers, and workers. I am committed to building on the Mayor's agenda of fighting inequality, and making our city a model to be followed nationwide," said Lorelei Salas.

About Lorelei Salas:
Lorelei Salas is the Director of Legal Services at Catholic Migration Services (CMS), where she oversees the immigration, housing, and employment legal services programs. Ms. Salas joined CMS in January 2015, where she engages in community-based lawyering and advocacy to increase access to justice for immigrants and refugees. Prior to her work with CMS, Ms. Salas worked at Make the Road New York directing litigation and supervising the provision of legal services in the areas of housing, immigration and employment law. From 2007 to 2012, she held several senior management positions at the New York State Department of Labor, supervising the enforcement work of three worker protection units. In 2009, President Obama nominated Ms. Salas to be the Wage and Hour Administrator at the United States Department of Labor, a division with close to 2,000 investigative staff across the nation. Ms. Salas worked as a consultant for Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis for about three months before returning to New York for family reasons. Ms. Salas also worked at the New York State Attorney General’s Office in the Litigation and Labor Bureaus, investigating businesses for violations of state and federal labor laws and representing the Department of Health in litigation. Prior to becoming an attorney, Ms. Salas worked with a global social responsibility monitoring company assisting manufacturing businesses with compliance issues in the areas of labor, health and safety, and tax law. Ms. Salas earned her J.D. from Benjamin N. Cardozo Law School in January 2004, and is admitted to practice law in New York.

About the New Office of Labor Policy and Standards:
The Office of Labor Policy and Standards is a new office to be housed within DCA that will serve as the City’s focal point for labor issues and workers in New York City, giving a dedicated voice in City government to the issues facing New York workers. The Office will be at the forefront of research and analysis around evolving and new issues impacting workers in today’s economy. The Office also will be a leader in recommending new policies and programs that put New York City workers first and ensure rules, regulations, and laws designed to improve working conditions are enforced properly, and that workers and businesses know and understand those laws. Through extensive outreach to workers and employers, research and investigation and ultimate pursuit of violators, the office will continue the enforcement of local labor laws – including Paid Sick Leave and Commuter Benefits – and work with other State and Federal agencies to ensure workers are aware of their rights at every level of government. The Office of Labor Policy and Standards was created by a bill passed by the City Council, under the leadership of Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and signed into law by Mayor de Blasio in November.

About the Department of Consumer Affairs:
The Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) is the largest municipal consumer protection agency in the country, licensing 80,000 businesses across 55 different industries. DCA inspects businesses, mediates consumer complaints, and helps New Yorkers manage and protect their money.

“Having worked with Lorelei for many years, I can think of no one better able to take on the challenges the Department of Consumer Affairs will have to tackle,” said former New York State Commissioner of Labor M. Patricia Smith. “Under her leadership, the new Office of Labor Policy and Standards will be a potent force in protecting the labor rights of all of New York City's residents.”

“The Department of Consumer Affairs has a crucial role guaranteeing fairness in our local economy, enforcing our laws, and protecting New Yorkers,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “I welcome Commissioner Salas and look forward to working with her.”

“I applaud Mayor de Blasio for his selection of Lorelei Salas as the next Commissioner of the Department of Consumer Affairs and look forward to working with her to advance the efficiency and mission of the agency,” said Council Member Rafael L. Espinal, Jr., Chair of the New York City Council’s Consumer Affairs Committee. “While Commissioner Salas has big shoes to fill, given her extensive background working on legal matters related to immigration, labor, and business regulatory issues, I am sure that she will be able to successfully lead the agency as it continues to implement a variety of reforms that will improve the quality of life for both consumers and small business owners in the city. I congratulate Commissioner Salas on her appointment and look forward to collaborating with her to reduce burdensome regulations and excessive fines on small businesses and implement common-sense regulations that make sense for consumers and businesses alike.”

“I am pleased to welcome Commissioner Salas in her new role as the head of one of the most robust and proactive consumer protection agencies in the country,” said State Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, Chair of the New York State Assembly Committee on Consumer Affairs and Protection. “Ms. Salas’ diverse background in government and in the nonprofit sector render her prepared to ensure that New York City is a place where consumers and businesses alike feel protected and supported. I look forward to working with DCA and Ms. Salas to promote strong consumer protections in both New York City and the State.”

“Lorelei Salas brings with her tremendous experience in labor law and advocating for the rights of workers. We are very pleased to have her lead the Department of Consumer Affairs and the new Office of Labor Policy and Standards to enforce New York City's local laws and ensure workers, consumers, and businesses are all protected,” said Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, Chair of the New York City Council Finance Committee.

“I look forward to working with Commissioner Salas in protecting the interests of consumers and all residents of New York City," said Council Member Karen Koslowitz, former Chair of the New York City Council Consumer Protection Committee.

“I congratulate Lorelei Salas on this well-deserved appointment, and I thank Mayor de Blasio for further solidifying his administration's commitment to workers with the creation of the new Office of Labor Policy and Standards,” said Council Member Margaret Chin.  “I look forward to working with Commissioner Salas on ways that we can better address employee issues and enforce laws to protect hardworking New Yorkers.”

“Lorelei Salas has readied herself for this position her whole career. An experienced and proven leader during her time at the New York State Department of Labor, Make the Road New York and Catholic Migration Services, Lorelei has had her finger on the pulse of consumer issues that affect our working families, immigrants and commerce,” said Council Member Vincent Gentile. “Her skills and knowledge will greatly benefit the shaping of the new Office of Labor Policy and Standards. I look forward to her work and vision coming to fruition as the Commissioner of the Department of Consumer Affairs.”

“Lorelei Salas' many years of legal experience and strong track record serving workers, from handling employment cases to complex litigation matters, make her an outstanding fit to lead the Department of Consumer Affairs. Her appointment and the creation of the new Office of Labor Policy & Standards will certainly bolster DCA's role in supporting workers and their rights. I applaud Speaker Mark-Viverito for spearheading the creation of the Office of Labor Policy & Standards, and understanding the necessity for an office focusing on labor issues and enforcement of labor laws crucial to the success of workers across the City,” said Council Member Ritchie Torres.

“We are proud to partner with the Department of Consumer Affairs to provide free financial empowerment services at the Mexican Consulate through our Ventanilla program. The Mexican community in New York City had seen first-hand the benefits of these services. We extend our warmest congratulations to Lorelei Salas, and we look forward to working with her in her new role as Commissioner,” said Francisco Tovar, Consul for Economic Affairs at the Consulate General of Mexico in New York.

“We applaud Mayor de Blasio's decision to appoint Lorelei Salas to lead the Department of Consumer Affairs," said 32-BJ SEIU President Hector Figueroa. "Lorelei has been a true champion for immigrants, low-wage workers, and all of the hard-working people of our city who just want a fair chance to earn a living and take care of our families. She will be an excellent watchdog for consumers and workers in our city and a great leader at DCA.”

“Lorelei Salas brings a clear, strong voice to the Department of Consumer Affairs. She has sought to level the playing field for immigrants and those in need of housing assistance and legal assistance in the workplace. Her skills and commitment are well suited for her new role and we look forward to working with her,” said Henry Garrido, Executive Director of DC-37.

“The nurses and caregivers of 1199-SEIU welcome the appointment of Lorelei Salas as Commissioner of the Department of Consumer Affairs and applaud the creation of the new Office of Labor Policy and Standards. Commissioner Salas has the experience and progressive values to effectively advocate for workers and consumer and will ensure our city is a place where all New Yorkers can thrive,” said George Gresham, President of 1199-SEIU United Healthcare Workers East.

“Just a few years ago, UFCW 1500 and Lorelei Salas together recovered $1.5 million in lost wages for workers at Amish Market, just steps away from City Hall. We are so proud to see she is Mayor de Blasio's choice to take the reins of the Department of Consumer Affairs,” said UFCW Local 1500 President Anthony Speelman. “Lorelei is a proven advocate for workers, their collective bargaining rights, and their overall wellbeing. She exemplifies tenets we hold in high regard and we look forward to working with her in her role as Commissioner of DCA.”

George Miranda, Teamsters Joint Council 16, said, "We congratulate Lorelei Salas and look forward to working with her and the Department of Consumer Affairs to protect New York City's workers, consumers, and small businesses."

“We are thrilled that Mayor de Blasio has announced the establishment of the Office of Labor Policy and Standards and the appointment of Lorelei Salas, the best possible leader for the Department of Consumer Affairs,” said Make the Road co-Executive Directors Javier Valdes and Deb Axt. “In her work, Ms. Salas has shown tremendous intelligence, strategic thinking, and deep compassion for New Yorkers facing exploitation. Her leadership of the Low Wage Task Force at the New York State Department of Labor under many governors set the national standard for effective workers' rights enforcement and as Make the Road New York’s Legal Director, Ms. Salas effectively used the law to defend the rights of working-class and low-income New Yorkers and immigrants. This appointment and the establishment of the city's Office of Labor Policy and Standards is an historic moment and sends a clear message about Mayor de Blasio's commitment to ending worker exploitation in New York City.”

“As a member of the Department of Consumer Affairs Paid Sick Leave Advisory Council, I applaud Mayor de Blasio's appointment of Lorelei Salas to be the next DCA Commissioner. We look forward to working with her on further collaboration on the continued implementation and enforcement of NYC's Paid Sick Time Law," said Donna Dolan, Executive Director of the New York Paid Leave Coalition.

“Commissioner Salas has long been a champion for workers and consumers and we couldn't be more thrilled to see her take the reins at the Department of Consumer Affairs,” said Center for Popular Democracy co-Executive Director Andrew Friedman. “We are also encouraged to see the agency taking an ever closer eye at labor issues across the city. While workers have successfully won higher wages and the right to paid sick leave in recent years, simply enacting these changes into law isn't enough without dedicated enforcement. Workers will benefit from this appointment and we hope it acts as a model for other cities around the country.”

“A Better Balance applauds the appointment of Lorelei Salas as Commissioner of the Department of Consumer Affairs and looks forward to working together to insure that the new Office of Labor Policy and Standards provides the strongest possible enforcement of labor standards for workers in New York City.  We believe that this appointment of a dedicated labor advocate and the commitment of this Administration will make this office a national model for municipal enforcement of labor rights,” said Sherry Leiwant, co-President of A Better Balance

“Lorelei Salas has extensive experience advocating for low wage workers and immigrants, and is an inspired choice to lead the agency charged with protecting New York’s workers and consumers,” said Paul Sonn, General Counsel of the National Employment Law Project.

“Our warmest congratulations to Commissioner Salas on being selected to serve such a vitally important role at the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs,” said Bob Annibale, Global Director of Citi Community Development and Inclusive Finance. “Citi looks forward to continuing our close collaboration with DCA and the Office of Financial Empowerment under her leadership, working together to build a more inclusive city for financially vulnerable New Yorkers.”

“We proudly support Commissioner Salas' appointment and her efforts to increase easy, accessible and affordable banking,” said Keith Mestrich, President and CEO of Amalgamated Bank. “The Mayor has chosen a leader who we believe will make accessible banking a priority and who will proudly serves all of the people of New York. We look forward to working with the Commissioner to help provide access to banking and financial security to more New Yorkers.”

“On behalf of the New York Women’s Chamber of Commerce, I congratulate Lorelei Salas on her appointment as Commissioner of the Department of Consumer Affairs. I applaud Mayor de Blasio’s decision to hire a not only a qualified Latina, but also someone who has demonstrated a tremendous commitment to immigrants and human rights. As a partner of DCA’s, I look forward to continue working with the agency and its new leadership to provide education and information to women entrepreneurs and the small businesses community at large,” said Quenia Abreu, President of New York Women's Chamber of Commerce.

“Congratulations to Lorelei Salas on her appointment as Commissioner of the Department of Consumer Affairs. We look forward to working with her to advocate on behalf of our city’s small businesses while addressing consumer concerns,” said Linda Baran, President of the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce.

“As the most diverse county in America, Queens welcomes the appointment of Commissioner Salas. I am personally looking forward to working with her to ensure our small businesses can operate efficiently and are successful,” said Thomas J. Grech, Executive Director Queens Chamber of Commerce.

“The Brooklyn Hispanic Chamber of Commerce applauds the appointment of Lorelei Salas as the new Commissioner of the Department of Consumer Affairs. Her significant expertise in labor-related issues renders her uniquely qualified to lead the agency, as it will now house the Office of Labor Policy and Standards. I am confident that Brooklyn and the City of New York will welcome Lorelai Salas in her new position and we are dedicated to working with her in Brooklyn on consumer issues,” said Rick Miranda, President and CEO of the Brooklyn Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

“The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce congratulates Lorelei Salas on her appointment as the new Commissioner of the Department of Consumer Affairs. Given her tremendous work at Catholic Migration Services and Make the Road, as well as her experience at the New York State Department of Labor, there’s no doubt she will be highly successful in managing the newOffice of Labor and Policy Standards, as well as ensuring that consumers are protected and small businesses are supported,” said Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Carlo Scisurra.  “We have been proud to work closely with DCA to ensure that our small businesses have all the tools necessary to comply with the City’s laws and we look forward to continuing and strengthening that partnership with Commissioner Salas.”

“Lorelei Salas' background of advancing fairness and justice throughout her career indicate she is someone the business community can work with. She is the perfect choice to sustain the city’s reduction of excessive fines and punitive mandates on small business," said Jessica Walker, President of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce. 

“Our experience working with the Department of Consumer Affairs under Mayor de Blasio has been truly excellent; the agency has been very responsive and helpful and we look forward to continue to work with DCA under Commissioner Salas,” said Ralph Bombardiere, Executive Director of the Gasoline and Automotive Service Dealers.

“The Department of Consumer Affairs plays a vital role in New York City’s economy, protecting consumers while assisting small businesses understand applicable local laws and regulations. We fully support Lorelei Salas at the helm of DCA and encourage her to build on the administration's successes reducing burdensome fees and fines which have historically plagued the independent supermarket industry,” said Rudy Fuertes, President of the National Supermarket Association. 

“We look forward to working closely with Commissioner Salas,” said Jessica Lappin, President of the Alliance for Downtown New York. “Her long and varied experience protecting New Yorkers rights will serve us all well as she steps into this new role.”

“The Department of Consumer Affairs has always played an essential role when it comes to ensuring that consumers are being treated fairly. The Bodega Association knows that Commissioner Lorelei Salas will lead this department to pursue the issues which impact the daily lives of all New York City consumers and immigrant small-business owners throughout the five boroughs. We are looking forward to continue working with DCA under the guidance of our new Commissioner so that immigrant-owned businesses will continue to grow and prosper in every neighborhood across New York City,” said Ramon Murphy, Bodega Association of the United States.

“Over the last two years, the New York City Hospitality Alliance has been proud to partner with the Department of Consumer Affairs on conducting broad and extensive outreach to restaurants and bars across the five boroughs about Paid Sick Leave and other important laws and rules. We applaud Mayor de Blasio’s and the agency’s commitment to reducing onerous burdens and fines on small businesses and look forward to working closely with Commissioner Salas to ensure that our businesses have the tools and information they need to thrive,” said Andrew Rigie, Executive Director of the New York City Hospitality Alliance.

“We extend our congratulations to Lorelei Salas on her appointment as the Commissioner of the Department of Consumer Affairs,” said Lana Seidman, Executive Director of the Staten Island Chapter of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry. “We have worked closely with DCA for more than three decades to protect the interest of homeowners, particularly in ensuring that New Yorkers understand the value of hiring of licensed home improvement contractors. We look forward to our continued partnership with DCA under Commissioner Salas.”

“We applaud Mayor de Blasio for supporting diversity in leadership roles throughout New York City. We are confident that Ms. Salas will champion the businesses that make up the fabric of our community,” said Elizabeth Velez, President of the Velez Organization.

“DCA has an established history of innovation which is evidenced by their many effective programs that help vulnerable families achieve greater financial stability,” said Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation President and CEO Colvin W. Grannum. “Restoration has enjoyed a longstanding partnership with DCA on a number of initiatives ranging from financial counseling and tax preparation to overall neighborhood financial health and we look forward to continuing this partnership with Commissioner Salas.”

“At Phipps Neighborhoods, we provide children, youth, and families in low-income neighborhoods the opportunities they need to thrive through comprehensive education and career programs and access to community services. We are excited to welcome Commissioner Salas and continue our partnership with the Department of Consumer Affairs to serve over 3,000 individuals through our Financial Empowerment Center, improving and strengthening the financial stability of residents in the South Bronx,” said Phipps Neighborhoods Executive Director Dianne Morales.

“Food Bank for New York City is proud to have the Department of Consumer Affairs' partnership and support to bring tax and financial services, resources, and tools to New Yorkers in some of the poorest communities across our five boroughs. We welcome Lorelei Salas as DCA's new Commissioner and look forward to working with her to strengthen our collective efforts to address poverty and hunger in our city,” said Margarette Purvis, President and CEO of Food Bank for New York City.

“Neighborhood Trust Financial Partners congratulates the Department of Consumer Affairs on the appointment of its new Commissioner, Lorelei Salas. As a long-time partner in New York City's Financial Empowerment Centers, overseen by DCA's Office of Financial Empowerment, we have witnessed the powerful influence of DCA in promoting financial justice for our City's hard-working families and communities,” said Justine Zinkin, CEO of Neighborhood Trust. “We are thrilled that the Mayor is bringing in a tireless advocate with such a strong track record helping families realize their full economic potential. We look forward to working together to build on DCA's successful programs, ensuring that all New Yorkers are financially empowered,” she added. 

“Lorelei Salas' masterful and diverse career experiences proves that Mayor de Blasio is serious about creating an administration that looks to address, connect with, and reflect the concerns and dreams of all New Yorkers,” said Luis Garden Acosta, President and Founder of El Puente.

“Congratulations to Lorelei Salas. I cannot think of a better candidate to protect New Yorkers than someone who had devoted her career to advocacy and the fighting for the rights of underserved communities.  Her experience makes her uniquely qualified to ensure that all communities have a seat at the table.  All of us at CHCF look forward to working with her,” said Grace C. Bonilla, President and CEO of The Committee for Hispanic Children & Families, Inc.

“We are very pleased that Lorelei Salas, a respected community leader with a tremendous knowledge base and relationship with our communities, is taking the helm of the City’s Department of Consumer Affairs. From fighting against rampant immigration services scams to combating fraudulent employment agencies that prey on our communities, New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE) has worked with DCA to bring justice to immigrant consumers. We commend Mayor de Blasio on his decision to appoint Ms. Salas and we look forward to working with her in this important position,” said Manuel Castro, Executive Director of New Immigrant Community Empowerment. 

“I can't think of a more qualified person to become Commissioner of the Department of Consumer Affairs than Lorelei Salas.  Her expertise as a labor and immigrants' rights attorney will ensure that access to justice and dignity will be provided to the most vulnerable New Yorkers,” said Angela Fernandez, Executive Director of Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights.

 “The Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies (FPWA) is thrilled to welcome Lorelei Salas, a longtime fighter for the rights of lower-income New Yorkers, into the position of Commissioner of the Department of Consumer Affairs” said Jennifer Jones Austin, CEO of the FPWA. “From incredibly robust outreach to community-based organizations and clergy around its implementation of Paid Sick Leave to providing free tax prep services for more than 150,000 New Yorkers across the five boroughs each year, DCA under Mayor de Blasio has proven that it is committed to serving the needs of our hard-working millions, and I look forward to our continued collaboration with the agency under Commissioner Salas' leadership.”

“The Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York looks forward to working with Lorelei Salas and her team at the Department of Consumer Affairs as they build on the agency's strong history of financial empowerment, asset development, and consumer protection throughout all of New York City’s neighborhoods,” said Jennifer March, Executive Director of Citizens' Committee for Children of New York.

“On behalf of all of Adhikaar’s staff and members, I would like to congratulate Lorelei Salas on her appointment as the new Commissioner of the Department of Consumer Affairs,” said Luna Ranjit, Executive Director of Adhikaar. “We have partnered with DCA on extensive outreach regarding New York City’s Paid Sick Leave Law and have also had the pleasure of working with Commissioner Salas her previous capacities. We look forward to strengthening our partnership with DCA to ensure that New Yorkers, particularly new immigrants, are knowledgeable of and can fully exercise their rights under the law.”

“With transit riders relying on the Department of Consumer Affairs to effectively implement the city's new commuter benefits law, the agency’s work is more vital than ever,” said John Raskin, Executive Director of the Riders Alliance. “Through DCA’s robust outreach and effective enforcement of this law, as many as 450,000 more commuters will be able to save hundreds of dollars a year, an important step toward keeping New York affordable for working and middle-class families.  We look forward to working with Commissioner Salas to guarantee that the commuter benefits law can bring savings to a wide variety of commuters and participating businesses.”

“The Department of Consumer Affairs has been a valued partner in our efforts to shift environmental priorities, such as energy conservation achieved by stores keeping their doors closed while the air conditioning is running and the federal government eliminating dangerous chemicals from children's products. We look forward to continuing this partnership under Commissioner Salas' leadership,” said Marcia Bystryn, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters. 

“Having worked with the Department of Consumer Affairs on efforts to protect New York City’s most vulnerable residents from toxic chemicals, the Center for Environmental Health welcomes the announcement of Lorelei Salas as the new Commissioner of DCA,” said Center for Environmental Health's Eastern States Director Ansje Miller. “Her distinguished background will lend critical expertise and attention to the important issue of devastating health problems related to exposures to edangerous chemicals in workplaces.”


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