Mineola, NY – The Nassau County Legislature last night voted to confirm County Executive Curran’s nominees, Nancy Nunziata and Lionel J. Chitty, to lead the County Department of Social Services (DSS) and the County Office of Minority Affairs (OMA), respectively.
Nancy Nunziata succeeds John Imhof, who served as DSS Commissioner for 13 years and Paul Broderick, who has been serving as acting commissioner and will now return to his role as deputy commissioner. Nunziata since 1991 has held senior leadership positions at HELP USA, which provides housing and other assistance to those in need in regions such as Nassau, Suffolk and New York City.
“Nancy Nunziata is a renowned leader in the social services field, and I’m thrilled that she’ll be taking the reins of an agency that performs such vital services for our residents,” said Nassau County Executive Laura Curran. “Nancy has demonstrated a commitment to serving the public and will join an outstanding staff who do an extraordinary job each day, consistently improving outcomes for our most vulnerable residents.”
Lionel Chitty, who most recently served as Executive Director of the Hicksville Chamber of Commerce, succeeds acting Executive Director Regina Williams.
“I am pleased that the County Legislature has voted to confirm Lionel Chitty as Executive Director of the Nassau County Office of Minority Affairs, which plays a key role in carrying out my Administration’s commitment to creating a new standard for inclusiveness in Nassau County’s business community,” said County Executive Curran. “Lionel is a dynamic leader who will bring his deep experience and involvement in the community to public service, and I look forward to working together to expand economic opportunity for all our residents.”
Nunziata most recently served as senior vice president, family transitional and supportive housing social services for HELP USA, overseeing programs whose budget exceeded $20 million. Prior to that, she was the group’s vice president of training and national social services and vice president and executive director of HELP Suffolk, doing work in Suffolk and Nassau Counties.
Nunziata was an honoree at the 2012 Glamour Women of the Year Awards and obtained recognition from the New York State Assembly and Suffolk County Legislature in 2007 for her work on homelessness and domestic violence. In 2007 she won the Maxine Postal Award for Human Dignity from the Suffolk Community Council and in 2003 won the Congressional Award for Outstanding Technology Leadership in the Community for her work at Help Horizons. Nunziata also in 2003 won an Outstanding Service and Commitment to Seniors award from the East New York Interagency Council for the Aging and in 2001 won the Outstanding Early Childhood Award from the New York State Education Department.
The Nassau County Department of Social Services has won several special grants and accolades for its work providing children’s services, protecting at-risk adults, processing public assistance applications, and providing shelter for the homeless and help for victims of domestic violence.
As of the end of 2018, the department housed nearly 1,500 residents in its emergency housing system, including nearly 580 children. It in 2018 provided day care services to an average of 5,600 children and 4,100 working families a month and in that year handled nearly 58,000 Medicaid cases for nearly 65,000 individuals.
DSS investigated and assessed just under 6,300 reports of child abuse and neglect and helped more than 30,000 families obtain and retain child support. It helped 31,000 families obtain Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program/SNAP (formerly Food Stamps) support and 21,000 obtain HEAP/Home Energy Assistance Program benefits.
And it has obtained stellar audit findings from state and federal oversight agencies charged with overseeing it. In 2018, the agency uncovered welfare waste, fraud and abuses, saving about $13.8 million in 2018, providing help, while seeking to protect against fraud.
“I’m honored to be confirmed by the Legislature to lead an agency that carries out a critical mission for the people of Nassau County,” said Commissioner of Social Services Nancy Nunziata. “I thank County Executive Curran for entrusting me in this role. I will bring the knowledge and experience gained from my life’s work to this position, and I look forward to working alongside the dedicated staff of the Department of Social Services. The County DSS has a developed a reputation as one of the top social services agencies in NY, and I look forward to building on that reputation.”
Lionel Chitty was most recently Executive Director of the Hicksville Chamber of Commerce and part-time employee at the Town of Oyster Bay Department of Planning, where his focus was on community and business outreach, and special projects including the Hicksville Downtown Revitalization Initiative.
Chitty is credited with resurrecting the Downtown Revitalization Committee in Hicksville, successfully bringing together community volunteer organizations, elected officials, planners, and other stakeholders to gain consensus and an execute a strategic plan to bring the area back to growth.
Chitty is an experienced professional with over 18 years experience in corporate sales, client management, one-to-one networking. and relationship building. He has extensive leadership experience, having supervised teams of up to 30 staff members in diverse business environments.
The Office of Minority Affairs (OMA) was created by the Nassau County Legislature and is administered by the Office of the Nassau County Executive.
Its mandated mission is to serve as a partner to the citizens of Nassau County in strengthening and building communities through programs which promote the development, advancement, and betterment of economic, employment, business, and cultural opportunities for the minority residents of the county and the improvement and stabilization of economically deprived areas in the County.
“I’m grateful to the County Executive for selecting me to serve in this esteemed role, and am thankful to the Legislature for confirming my nomination,” said Lionel Chitty, Executive Director of the Nassau County Office of Minority Affairs. “I look forward to getting to work to expand opportunity for the minority community and support the advancement of minority-owned businesses in Nassau County.”