FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 13, 2008
MAYOR BLOOMBERG AND SANITATION COMMISSIONER DOHERTY AWARD GOLD MEDALS OF HONOR, PROMOTE SENIOR OFFICIALS AND APPOINT 319 SANITATION WORKERS
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Department of Sanitation (DSNY ) Commissioner John J. Doherty today awarded Medals of Honor to 17 employees for acts of bravery at the Department of Sanitation’s Annual Awards Ceremony. The Mayor and Commissioner Doherty also promoted 27-year veteran Philip Marino as a new three-star Chief of the Department and 38-year veteran Harry Szarpanski as the new Deputy Commissioner of the Bureau of Long-Term Export. In addition, 319 newly hired Sanitation Workers and 43 newly hired Sanitation Enforcement Agents were administered the oath of office, a unit citation was given to the Department’s Permit and Inspection Unit, and more than 185 other workers were promoted to the ranks of General Superintendent, Sanitation Supervisor, Sanitation Police Lieutenant and Police Officer, Sanitation Enforcement Captain and Sanitation Enforcement Sergeant. The ceremony was held at the Walt Whitman Theater, located at the Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College.
“The Department of Sanitation is truly New York’s Strongest,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “The fact that the Sanitation Department holds its graduation and promotion ceremonies together is special, because it allows the men and women who are just starting out to be inspired by those reaching the top of their profession, and it allows veteran members of the Department to remember how far they’ve come. We are grateful for the monumental job the Department does every day keeping New York City clean, safe and moving.”
“I am honored to lead this Department with its long tradition of history and excellence,” said Sanitation Commissioner Doherty. “The job that the 319 newest Sanitation Workers take on and the added responsibilities of our new supervisory personnel will ensure Sanitation’s place as an efficient and effective City agency. Often the members of the Department are the eyes and ears of the communities we serve, responding to cries for help and summoning assistance. We perform a gritty but essential service that all our members of the ‘Sanitation Family’ can be proud of.”
Chief Marino joined the DSNY in 1981 as a Sanitation Worker assigned to the Manhattan 7 District Garage, which covers Manhattan Valley, the Upper West Side, and Lincoln Square. He rose steadily through the ranks to various supervisory positions covering many facets of the DSNY, including tenure as Bronx Borough Chief in charge of all refuse and recycling collections, street cleaning, and snow removal services in the borough. Chief Marino most recently was Special Assistant to First Deputy Commissioner Michael A. Bimonte. Among his many achievements, Chief Marino served as the Department’s liaison to the Office of Emergency Management following the terrorist attacks in 2001, and helped secure a 40-year agreement with Gateway National Park for the site at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn which is now home to the DSNY’s Ronald A. DeCarlo Training Center.
As Deputy Commissioner in charge of the Bureau of Long Term Export, Mr. Szarpanski continues the ongoing full implementation of the City’s Solid Waste Management Plan (SWMP), which was overwhelming adopted by the City Council and approved by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation in 2006. The SWMP provides an efficient and environmentally sound method for handling the City's waste for the next 20 years. During his tenure as Assistant Commissioner, Mr. Szarpanski was instrumental in developing and securing approvals for the SWMP. As Director of Special Projects, he managed the planning and implementation of major Departmental programs including the gas recovery and emissions control project at the Fresh Kills landfill, the Rikers Island food waste composting facility, and the Fresh Kills compost facility.
The Department’s prestigious unit citation was awarded to the Permit and Inspection Unit (PIU) for its investigation and subsequent arrest of Darren Miller who was charged with using acres of publicly owned property located in Brooklyn as a illegal dumpsite for dirt, rock, asphalt, construction and demolition debris, and derelict and stolen vehicles. Because of PIU’s investigation and teamwork with other law enforcement agencies, publicly owned property can be used to benefit New Yorkers by eliminating urban blight, strengthening the City’s tax base, and creating better neighborhoods. PIU was formed in the mid-1980s to serve as a liaison to the New York City carting industry. Since then, PIU has expanded its role to include the permitting and enforcement of solid waste transfer stations and fill material operations. The unit plays a major role in combating illegal dumping and prevents the inappropriate placement of unclean fill material at construction sites throughout New York City.
Gold Medal of Honor Recipients
Incident date: October 23, 2007
On October 23, 2007, while completing their relay duty, Sanitation Workers Folks and Mahoney were stopped at a light on Roosevelt Avenue in Queens when they observed a City bus make a left turn and hit an elderly female pedestrian who was attempting to cross the street. The crew jumped out of their truck and stopped the bus driver from moving any further. They instructed the bus driver to back up a few feet to free the woman’s leg which was trapped underneath the left front tire. SW Folks called 911. The Sanitation Workers gave first aid, saving her life.
Incident date: January 31, 2008
On January 31, 2008, while replacing litter baskets on Staten Island, Sanitation Workers Crocitto and Russo chased a suspect who had allegedly robbed a liquor store at gunpoint and stole $186. The Sanitation Workers pursued the suspect in their truck, pulled up ahead of him, jumped out, restrained the suspect, and returned the money back to the merchant. However, the suspect wriggled free but was later apprehended by police based upon the description from the Sanitation Workers. A handgun was also recovered.
Incident date: September 4, 2008
On September 4, 2008, while carpooling to work, three Sanitation Workers noticed smoke coming from an apartment building. Immediately, they stopped the vehicle, ran into the building, and pounded on the doors, shouting ‘Fire, Fire’. Sanitation Workers Matalas and Soto assisted 10 residents leave the burning building while SW Mahinka called 911. Shortly afterward, the Fire Department arrived. It took 100 firefighters to extinguish the smoky, two-alarm blaze. All three Sanitation Workers reported to work on time to complete their assigned collection duties.
Bronze Medal of Honor Recipients
Incident date: January 9, 2008
On January 9, 2008, while on patrol, Supervisor Edwards caught an assailant who had snatched a woman’s pocketbook in Brooklyn. Supervisor Edwards had heard the cries of the young woman who could not chase the assailant because she was babysitting for a friend. He chased the assailant and got him to drop the pocket book. The woman’s pocket book with all its contents intact was returned to her.
Incident date: March 20, 2008
On March 20, 2008, as Sanitation Worker Frank Ferraro was exiting his collection truck, the sandwich that he was eating became lodged in this throat causing him to choke, lose consciousness and fall to the ground injuring his face and left knee and hand. Sanitation Worker Lopez along with DCAS Maintenance Worker Kenneth Philips and Allied Barton Security Supervisor Alcides Perez, Jr. administered the Heimlich maneuver to SW Ferraro. The food was dislodged from Sanitation Worker Ferraro’s throat allowing him to breathe.
Distinguished Service Certificate Recipients
Incident date: June 5, 2007
On June 5, 2007, while on patrol in Bensonhurst for canine waste law violations, Sanitation Police Officers (SPOs) Quinlan and Slavik observed three males engaged in the illegal dumping of several white bags from a SUV. Upon checking the license plates, it was determined that the vehicle was stolen. As the SPOs were issuing the summonses, the males stated that the SUV owner was urinating against a wall. When they approached the suspect to give him a summons, he fled across the Belt Parkway and attempted to carjack a vehicle belonging to an off-duty FDNY Lieutenant who restrained the suspect until the SPOs arrived on the scene. Since the suspect claimed to be hit by a car, the FDNY EMS took him to a local hospital. While SPO Slavik was at the hospital safeguarding the suspect, he discovered among his belongings crack cocaine and a crack pipe. An NYPD detective interviewed the suspect and discovered that he had outstanding warrants for prior carjacking incidents in June 2007. After the SPOs went to the 72nd precinct to voucher the suspect’s personal belongings and arrest evidence, the case was officially turned over NYPD.
Incident date: October 2, 2007
On October 2, 2007, while heading home on Brooklyn’s Shore Parkway, Sanitation Police Officer (SPO) Grossman observed an automobile with out-of-state plates driving the wrong way on Shore Parkway almost colliding head on with Sanitation Police Officer Perrone’s car. Both cars swerved to avoid the collision. One of the occupants from the other car jumped out, opened the trunk, and threw a large black bag over a nearby fence along the Belt Parkway. As the suspect returned to his car and attempted to drive away, SPO Perrone exited from his vehicle, identified himself, and ran after him. Immediately, the suspect was pursued by an unmarked NYPD police car. The suspect stopped his car, was ordered out of the car, and handcuffed by SPO Grossman. It was later determined that the two suspects had attempted to evade police custody and had thrown the large bag of cocaine over the fence.
Incident date: December 29, 2007
On December 29, 2007, while on regular garbage collection, Sanitation Worker Lee witnessed and prevented a NYPD Traffic Field Agent from being assaulted in Brooklyn. Sanitation Worker Lee identified the suspect in the assault at the 62nd Precinct.
Incident date: April 28, 2008
On April 28, 2008, while on litter basket collection, the crew observed a little girl and her mother standing on the corner of Rockaway Boulevard. SW Israel noticed an apartment on fire. The Sanitation Workers gave their uniform coats to the mother and child and allowed them to sit in the truck cab until the Fire Department arrived to put out the fire. FDNY EMS arrived and transported the mother and children to the hospital.
Stu Loeser / Jason Post (212) 788-2958
Vito Turso (Sanitation)
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