As prepared for delivery
Commissioner Brann’s remarks from today’s Promotions & Appointments Ceremony
October 30, 2020
It is my honor to welcome you today to the Promotion and Appointments
While this certainly is a joyous occasion, I would like to take a moment to
remember the BOLDEST family members we’ve lost this year. Their service to
this City and to DOC will not be forgotten and hopefully, the loss that we feel will
be lessened by happy memories of the time we spent with them that we
carry close to our hearts each and every day.
This year, despite the unprecedented challenges faced, and there have been
many, the Department of Correction celebrates 125 years of service to New York
City. Throughout our existence, we have had the good fortune to employ
trailblazers and thought-leaders who, like those seated before you, were ready,
willing and able to go above and beyond the call of duty.
When I began my career in law enforcement 40 years ago, I
could never have imagined the journey I was about to embark upon. But I
remained committed, worked hard, stayed true to my basic beliefs and heeded
the advice given to me by a few of my mentors, some of which I’d like to share
with you now.
First, this work is full of challenges as well as opportunities. Prepare yourself by
performing whatever role you are in, to the best of your abilities. There is
no task beneath you and every assignment is important, not only to your success
but to that of your team and the agency.
We probably have all had those moments, especially when we feel like we’re the
only ones putting in the hard work when we ask, “just exactly what does – and
you can insert any name or title here- DO? I encourage you to be curious. Learn
what those above and around you do and how their duties not only affect what
you do, but how they contribute to the effective operations of the agency. This
will not only provide you with a broader view of the agency and the prevailing
issues, but it will certainly help you guide your staff as well as prepare you to
continue to advance in your career. Every day in Corrections is different, with a
variety of challenges, things to do, problems to solve, and successes to celebrate.
You should never experience a lack of meaningful work.
Next, be a person of character. Always act with competence and integrity. You
must encourage it, if not demand it from others. Model what you want to see in
those around you. Set the bar of performance high and help others reach for
success. This will develop your reputation and help earn the trust of
your colleagues, supervisors, subordinates and those in our custody. Build a
team and be in the game every day. In the words of Chief Stukes, “On your way
home each day, ask yourself- Did I make a difference? Did I fulfill my purpose?”
And finally, try to maintain a sense of balance in your lives. Stay grounded in
family, friends, faith, community and those things that bring you joy. This work
can become all-consuming if you allow it…I know. But we don’t expect it and it is
not healthy, either mentally or physically. We need you to be at your best- every
day. To that end, we have invested in your well-being through the Wellness
Center where you can access both physical and mental health support services
and our amazing C.A.R.E. staff.
These are a few ingredients in a recipe for success. Easily said, but not always
so easily done.
Each journey is unique and personal. The staff being recognized here today have
been firmly invested in their success through diligent preparation and training,
coupled with the support of their peers, colleagues, family and friends. They will
become the change agents needed to take us into the future while maintaining
our standing as leaders in Correctional reform and best practices.
Today, we not only honor the men and women who are taking the next step in
their careers at DOC, but I also personally celebrate and appreciate each- and-
every person in this room. Throughout the past few years and most definitely
during the long months of 2020, each of you have demonstrated just how
committed you are to making our city a safer place even under the most
challenging circumstances and uncertain times.
You ALL represent DOC’s success. When you come to work each day, you renew
your commitment to uphold the vision, mission and values of the organization.
Congratulations again to each of our promotees and appointees. I
wish you good health, happiness and long successful careers.
In closing, I’d like to leave you with this quote from Vince Lombardi, the
legendary coach of the Green Bay Packers. “Perfection is not attainable, but if we
chase perfection, we can catch excellence.”