By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
How does Ambassador Markowitz sound? It has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?
Marty Markowitz has to give up his title of borough president at the end of the year, but Brooklyn’s term-limited chief cheerleader will trade his current job for another role, as an ambassador, if two City Council members get their way.
Councilwoman Letitia James (D-Fort Greene-Clinton Hill), who is the public advocate-elect, and Councilman David Greenfield (D-Borough Park-Midwood-Bensonhurst) are calling on Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio to name Markowitz as commissioner of the Mayor’s Office for International Affairs and to rename the position as Ambassador for New York City.
The appointment of Markowitz to the position and the renaming of the position would be fitting in light of his role as Brooklyn borough president over the past 12 years, according to James and Greenfield. Markowitz served as one of the biggest boosters and supporters of New York City while representing his home borough at countless public events, the two lawmakers said.
Prior to coming to Borough Hall, Markowitz served for 23 years as a state senator. He has held elected office in Brooklyn and advocated on behalf of local residents for more than half his life, the council members said.
“It would be a great loss to the City of New York—specifically the borough of Brooklyn which loves Marty Markowitz—to lose his influence and expertise in the city sector. There are few more dedicated public officials than Mr. Markowitz, and it would be fitting for him to represent the City of New York as Ambassador,” James said.
The Mayor’s Office for International Affairs was originally created by then-Mayor Robert Wagner in 1962 as the New York City Commissioner for the United Nations, at the suggestion of U.S. Ambassador Adlai Stevenson, to serve as a liaison between the diplomatic community and local residents, businesses and government in New York City.
It was renamed in 2012 by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The duties of the office include serving as official liaison with foreign governments, the United Nations and the U.S Department of State; advising city agencies on diplomatic and consular matters; responding to diplomatic incidents and situations; aiding foreign-owned companies in accessing information about operating in New York City; overseeing the city’s relationships with its “sister cities” around the world and administering the diplomatic and consular parking programs.
“Marty Markowitz has dedicated his life and career to fighting on behalf of his beloved borough and city and making life here better for everyone,” Greenfield said.
“There is no question that we are losing an invaluable asset who possesses institutional knowledge about municipal and civic matters when Mr. Markowitz leaves office at the end of the year. With that in mind, I can think of no better person to serve as Ambassador for New York City, both out of recognition for his incredible commitment to the people of this city and to ensure that the city does not lose this great public servant at a very important time for our future,” Greenfield said.
And what does Markowitz think of all of this?
“It is flattering that two of my colleagues in government would think of me in such esteem,” he said in a statement released by his office.
“I look forward to whatever role I may take in continuing to serve to my borough and my city in the next chapter of my life,” Markowitz stated.