John J. Doherty, a long-time veteran of the Department of Sanitation, returned as the 42nd Commissioner on February 1, 2002.
Commissioner Doherty, born and raised in Staten Island, is only the fifth person in the Department of Sanitation’s history to rise through the ranks to become Commissioner.
2010 John J. Doherty
1970 Anthony T. Vaccarello
Vaccarello, a former sanitation commissioner known as the father of New York City’s ”pooper scooper” law, died of cancer Monday in New York. He was 67. Vaccarello was commissioner from 1975 to 1981. He gained national attention in the late 1970s when he declared, ”New Yorkers are slobs.
Frank J. Lucia 1960
Sanitation Commissioner Frank J. Lucia stated outright that Bedford-Stuyvesant would not
receive five-day pick-up service without changes in the Department’s budget. Lucia claimed he
needed funds to hire thirty-nine extra workers and until the city approved his new budget,
Bedford-Stuyvesant had to make-do with three-day service.
1960 Samuel Kearing
In 1967, Sanitation Commissioner Samuel Kearing Jr. warned that Freshkills would reach capacity by 1977 (Bird, 1967); however, in 1970, the Department of City Planning advocated for ‘mounding’ of garbage such that capacity could be extended to 1986 (Burks, 1970). By 1989, mounding operations had been implemented and the landfill was projected to grow to a height of 505 feet by 2005 (Severo, 1989).
1990 Kevin P. Farrell
Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani today announced the appointment of Kevin Farrell as the 41st Commissioner of the New York City Department of Sanitation in a Blue Room ceremony at City Hall. Mr. Farrell will lead the Sanitation Department after serving more than 37 years in the New York City Police Department.
On May 27, 1936, Mayor Fiorella H. LaGuardia of New York, appointed William F. Carey Commissioner of Sanitation for the City of New York. He was promised a free hand to reorganize the Department. He had many disagreements with various civic and community groups but went ahead and accomplished his mission. He built the morale of the workers by putting them in snappy white uniforms trimmed with orange. All procedures were changed from keeping the streets clean to removing snow. He developed new machines and was very successful in keeping the streets clean and plowed in the winter. Mr. Carey started a welfare fund and purchased a fancy estate on Long Island for vacations for the workers and their families. Rich families did everything to oppose this purchase. After a legal fight, they were forced to leave on a zoning technicality. They purchased an alternate in Dutchess County where they were welcomed.
William J. Powell, as Commissioner of The Department of Sanitation and as Treasurer and Trustee of the Relief and Pension Fund of The Department of Street Cleaning of the City of New York, Plaintiff.
Five years later and 10 months before Pearl Harbor, he enlisted in the Army as a private. By the end of World War II, he was a colonel and had won the Silver Star for gallantry and two Bronze Stars for meritorious achievement.
He returned to the Sanitation Department and rose quickly and steadily: Mayor Wagner appointed him commissioner in 1957. At 42, he was the department’s youngest commissioner and immediately began experimenting with such novel ideas as dog comfort stations and public ashtrays.
1950 Andrew W. Mulrain
Commissioner of Sanitation, Mulrain, introduces Sanitation Department Band and gives speech: “Cleanliness is next to godliness;” extends beyond our homes. Use litter baskets, bundle your trash, control your dog, and clean sidewalks. Mayor Impellitteri’s speech: “A clean city is a healthy city.” 58.5 million dollars have been allocated to the Sanitation Department for services improvements.
“Taxation without Sanitation is Tyranny”: Civil Rights struggles over garbage collection in Brooklyn, New York during the fall of 1962 by Brian Purnell
1970 Robert T. Groh
1895 George Waring
In 1895, New York City Mayor William Lafayette Strong appointed Waring commissioner of the city’s Department of Street Cleaning.DID YOU KNOW?
Strong’s original choice for the position—future president Theodore Roosevelt—turned the job down in favor of the higher-profile post of police commissioner. (Founded in 1881, the Department of Street Cleaning was the precursor of the New York City Department of Sanitation, now the largest of its kind in the world.)
1980 Brendan Sexton
Mr. Sexton set up a pilot program that created distinctive stickers to be placed on cars that prevented street sweepers from doing their job.
1980 Norman Steisel
1990 Steven Polen
James S. Coleman
William H. Edwards