City Hall Pass

City Hall Pass Podcast

The City Hall Pass podcast hosted by the Counsel to the Mayor Kapil Longani, along with Chief of Staff Bess Chiu, and Deputy Counsel Kate Cocklin. This podcast provides a unique window into the decision-making process at the highest level of New York City Government as told by the trailblazing leaders who made them. Guests have included numerous Deputy Mayors and Agency Commissioners, along with leaders NYC outside of government, such as Lin-Manuel Miranda, Danny Meyer, Clive Davis, and more.

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About Us

Kapil LonganiKapil Longani, Host
Bess ChiuBess Chiu, Host
Kate CocklinKate Cocklin, Host
Stathi PatseasStathi Patseas, Executive Producer

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Kapil Longani Bio

Kapil has had a distinguished career in public service, which he attributes to his immigrant parents who instilled in him a strong belief in the power of government to improve lives. His deep commitment to justice, fairness, and equity has taken him around the globe, from implementing South Africa's post-Apartheid Constitution to serving 8.6 million New Yorkers as Chief Counsel to the Mayor of New York City.

As Mayor de Blasio's solutions czar and top lawyer, Kapil advises the Mayor and City Hall on high profile and sensitive legal matters affecting the City, including public health/hospitals, schools, law enforcement, criminal justice, union negotiations, economic development, immigration, affordable housing, ethics, and EEO/personnel matters.

Kapil also played a central role in the Administration's legal response to the historic issues confronting New York City during the COVID-19 crisis, including shutting down and reopening the City, reopening schools safely, establishing the Outdoor Dining program, launching the vaccine command center and the largest testing and tracing operation in the country, and serving as the primary legal conduit with New York State.

In addition to his legal duties, Kapil oversees key City agencies, including the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB), the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH), and the Mayor's Office of Information Privacy (MOIP).

Mayor de Blasio has also appointed Kapil to several key roles, including Senior Advisor to the Racial Justice & Charter Revision Commission, where he advises the Commission on how to amend the NYC Charter to increase equity for all New Yorkers; the Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors; and the Queens Public Library Board.

Kapil's leadership fundamentally changed the role of the Office of the Counsel to the Mayor both inside and outside City government. For example, the office now serves as a primary channel for communicating relevant legal information to the public through a podcast, website, Twitter, and monthly newsletter. Kapil's work has been recognized across the state, including being named to City & State's annual statewide Law Power 100 list in 2020 and 2021.

Before joining the de Blasio administration, Kapil served as Senior Counsel to Ranking Member Elijah E. Cummings for the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in the U.S. House of Representatives. Kapil was the Democratic staff's lead investigator for the Committee's most high profile and significant investigations, including the Flint water crisis, the Trump Administration's response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, contractor fraud at the Department of Defense, the Department of State's rejection of the Keystone Pipeline application, and the Environmental Protection Agency's Waters of the United States rulemaking process.

Prior to his work in Congress, Kapil served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, where he prosecuted cases involving sexual assault, homicide, robbery, narcotics, and illegal firearms. He previously worked as a litigator in New York City at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, and served as a law clerk to the Honorable Judge Roger L. Gregory of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and the Honorable Judge Richard Smoak of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida.

Kapil holds an undergraduate degree from Cornell University and legal degrees from the University of Florida, Yale, and Oxford University.

Kapil also serves as an adjunct professor of law at Brooklyn Law School.

Bess Chiu Bio

Bess Chiu serves as Chief of Staff to the Counsel to the Mayor. In this role, she works with senior policymakers in City Hall and across City government to provide oversight of and guidance to critical projects.

Bess played a key role in the City's response to the 2019 measles outbreak and has worked on vital issues during the COVID-19 pandemic, including the momentous task of shutting down the City, and the subsequent task of determining how to safely reopen the City. Bess has also led on some of the Administration's equity-focused policies, including: the salary history ban and the creation of the Office of Minority and Women Business Enterprises (M/WBE). Bess serves as a member of the City's Safe Reopening Task Force, Chair of the Franchise and Concession Review Committee, and as an Equal Employment Opportunity Officer for the Mayor's Office.

A lifelong New Yorker, Bess is proud to co-host the City Hall Pass podcast, which provides New Yorkers with a behind the scenes look into the decision-making process of City government's most influential leaders. She has represented the City on various panels for legal and non-legal audiences, including City & State, the New York State Bar and the Queens Public Library. Bess also produced and moderated a Stop Asian Hate panel with elected officials and City agencies focused on combatting anti-Asian violence.     

A committed and experienced public interest lawyer, Bess joined the Administration in 2014 and previously served as Associate Counsel to the Mayor and Managing Counsel. She has also served as an attorney with the City's Administration for Children's Services, where she prosecuted child abuse and neglect cases.

The daughter of immigrants from Hong Kong, Bess has a deep passion for exploring different cultures. She has visited over 20 countries and 39 of the 50 US States. She is a graduate of Wellesley College and Cardozo School of Law.

Kate Cocklin Bio

As a senior team member for the Counsel to the Mayor, Kate advises the Mayor's Office on the most sensitive legal issues that face the City of New York and works to develop and advance policy proposals by coordinating across multiple agencies.

Kate was a significant architect to the City's legal response to the global pandemic. From the onset of the pandemic, she worked tirelessly on many high-profile issues, including developing the legal framework for the City's outdoor dining program, the nation's first vaccine mandate for businesses, NYC's Homecoming Week event, the nation's largest contract tracing program, Citywide checkpoints, the City's shutdown, the rush to acquire PPE, and finding solutions to many other "insurmountable" issues.

In 2020, Kate received the Mayor's Office Legal Innovator award for her creative thinking during the pandemic. Among her ideas that came to fruition was the "Counsel's Corner" video series, where staff shared the latest information on the COVID response such as travel guidance and cluster zones. Additionally, she established a working group consisting general counsel to mayors across US cities meeting to discuss issues facing their cities and find creative solutions together. Kate has also overseen the development and production of City Hall Pass the first podcast of its kind to provide New Yorkers with an unprecedented look inside City Hall. Kate and her cohosts discuss key issues with City Hall and New York City's most influential leaders and decision makers. She has represented the City on various panels for legal and non-legal audiences, including City & State, the New York State Bar, and Queens Public Library.

Prior to joining the Mayor's Office in 2016, Kate was an Associate at Levitt LLP, where she worked on commercial litigation and resolving business disputes. She also served as a Fellow at the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor where she represented the Commission in administrative matters and coordinated with New York and New Jersey law enforcement. Kate holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Pittsburgh and a J.D. from Hofstra Law.

Kate lives in downtown Manhattan with her husband and their golden-doodle Charlie, who is prominently featured on the Counsel to the Mayor Twitter account: @NYCMayorCounsel.

Stathi Patseas Bio

Stathi Patseas is the Communications Advisor to the Counsel to the Mayor, managing all team communications. Prior to joining the Mayor's Office, Stathi worked as a political campaign consultant, campaign manager, and grassroots organizer, working to elect progressive candidates across the country. He holds degrees from the University of Nebraska and Georgetown University.