Press Clips: ‘Men Need Not Apply’ Alleged

Staff Turnover at Senator Biaggi’s Office

By Robert Press

State Senator Alessandra Biaggi took office less than six months ago, and has already seen a larger than normal staff turnover. First, it was junior staffers who were replaced in the first few months of her tenure. The Riverdale Press first reported on the staff shake up that saw her lose her chief of staff and the ouster of the deputy chief this week.

Then-challenger Alessandra Biaggi addressing the Ben Franklin Independent Democratic Club in 2018. Credit: Bob Press

Then, midway in the month of May, her chief of staff Andrew Mutnick resigned. Deputy Chief of Staff Christian Amato was promoted to the vacant post. On Friday May 31, Amato told a few friends that he was fired — a story later confirmed by Biaggi’s office on Monday, June 3rd.

“I was fired,” Amato told The Riverdale Press. “I wasn’t given any reason,” he added. The Press noted that Biaggi, a Senate human resources official and a senate lawyer were present when Amato, an “at-will” employee, was fired. It remains unclear as to what was Amato’s transgression.

That now leaves Senator Biaggi’s office with no full-time male staffer. Only David Neustat, a press aide during the campaign, has a part-time role.

Last year, Mr. Neustat told me that he would not be staying on after the campaign, but has been in a part-time role helping new press people for Senator Biaggi with the most recent addition of Maya Moskowitz in that capacity. 

Screen grab (Facebook)

When asked about who was hiring staff, Mr. Amato responded that he was. When asked why so few men were working for the Senator, he said that the only men Biaggi wanted were him and Andrew Mutnick, the former chief of staff. Amato indicated that all of the other people who would be hired were to be women.

This perception can’t be good for the freshman senator, who recently co-chaired joint legislative public hearings on sexual harassment in the workplace.

The news of the staff turnover has generated a a different reaction among, at least, one former Biaggi supporter on Facebook. That ex-supporter, Cynthia Prisco alleged in a FB post that “Alessandra aburptly fired her chief of staff and deputy chief of staff.” “There are accounts coming out from other office staff that [Biaggi’s] been verbally abusive and is preventing staff from taking off, even in instances of family necessity,” claimed Ms. Prisco.

Prisco goes on to state her disappointment: “Just five month into this new term and Alessandra is already showing some unsavory stripes. No presence in the community, no clear direction, and she’s becoming the exact monster we fought so hard to take down.” She closes her post saying, “I am not disheartened. Our communities are awake, and aware, and ready to mobilize.”

We don’t know if other constituents in the senate district feel the same as Ms. Prisco but we’ll keep our ear to the ground. Meanwhile, it looks like we are going to have to wait and see if a ‘Men Need Not Apply’ sign will continue to hang at Senator Biaggi’s district office.

NOTE: By publication time, Sen. Biaggi’s office had not responded to requests for comment.

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