City Hall Pass: Extra provides New Yorkers with a fascinating opportunity to spend time with New York City’s most influential leaders and decision makers as they discuss their inspiring lives, and the most important issues facing our City - today and in the future. Conversations are hosted by Kapil Longani (Counsel to the Mayor), Bess Chiu (Chief of Staff), and Kate Cocklin (Deputy Counsel). Episodes are produced by the Office of the Counsel to the Mayor and Stathi Patseas (Communications Advisor) in partnership with NYC Media.
Our guest, the First Deputy Commissioner and Chief Equity Officer of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) Dr. Torian Easterling, talked about his lifelong commitment to using his voice to promote health equity, DOHMH’s work to get all New Yorkers vaccinated, his approach to mental health and family medicine, and much more.
Our guest, New York City Sheriff Joe Fucito, spoke about his decades of service to our city, the unprecedented work of the Sheriff’s office enforcing COVID-19 rules, some of his most memorable investigations, his vision for the future of the office, and much more.
Our guest, Senior Advisor to the Mayor for Recovery Lorraine Grillo, talked about her work leading our City’s recovery from COVID-19, her leadership of the School Construction Authority (SCA), the impact of outdoor dining and Open Restaurants, and much more.
Aloysee Heredia Jarmoszuk
Our guest, Chair and Commissioner of the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) Aloysee Heredia Jarmoszuk, talked about her vision for the TLC and its drivers, the future of the fleet and the agency’s efforts to become more sustainable, her love for New York City.
Our guest, NYC Small Business Services (SBS) Commissioner Jonnel Doris, talked about SBS' efforts to support our small businesses through COVID-19, outlined resources for entrepreneurs, shared his passion for public service, and much more.
Our guest, Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives J. Phillip Thompson, spoke to us about his unique upbringing as the son of an influential preacher, his lifelong commitment to fighting for racial justice, his vision for future of our City, and much more.
Our guest, Chair of the Racial Justice Commission, and the New York City Board of Corrections Jennifer Jones Austin, shared about her family’s deep roots in activism and civil rights, talked about the critical work of the Racial Justice Commission, the affect COVID has had on communities of color, and much more.
Our guest, NYPD’s Chief of Patrol Juanita Holmes, detailed her inspiring rise to leadership in the NYPD, shared her vision for the department and NYPD officers as Chief, her approach to police reform during this critical time, talked about why she loved NYC, and much more.
Our guest, NYPD's Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence & Counterterrorism John Miller, spoke about his decorated career as a journalist and his time covering the mob, his famous 1998 interview with Osama bin Laden, the vivid memories he has of 9/11, his commitment to keeping New Yorkers safe as a senior NYPD official, and much more.
Our guest, Senior Public Health Advisor to the Mayor Dr. Jay Varma, shared insights into the genesis of the COVID-19 crisis from his unique perspective, his distinguished career combatting disease threats at the CDC, where we might be headed at this stage in the City’s COVID response, and much more.
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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.