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Marty’s number two steps aside - Deputy Borough President Yvonne Graham says she’s resigning post

Deputy Brooklyn Bo-rough President Yvonne Graham resigned her position this week, paving the way for her to enter the borough president race. While resigning, Graham was also appointed as a special assistant to Borough President Marty Markowitz, pending approval by the city’s Conflict of Interest Board. “The Borough President has accepted my request to be reassigned from deputy borough president to the position of assistant to the president,” Graham said in a statement. “In the near future, I hope to set up an exploratory committee to determine my viability as a candidate for the office of Brooklyn Borough President,” she added. Markowitz spokesperson Mark Zustovich said the office is looking at whether a new deputy mayor appointment is necessary. “Although our office is still gathering information regarding directives of the city charter, it is our understanding that the borough president is not bound to appoint a deputy borough president,” said Zustovich. Markowitz said in a telephone interview that Graham will essentially serve in the same capacity as his special assistant that she did as deputy borough president, but with a lower, as-yet-to-be determined salary. As deputy borough president, Graham was paid $138,000 annually. Markowitz said as deputy borough president, Graham handles human services and health care initiatives as well as “having her fingers and voice in anything and everything done in borough hall.” The resignation allows her to maximize the choice of what she wants to do next without the constraints of public policy requirements, said Markowitz. “Yvonne Graham was the best choice I could have made as borough president and has lived up to expectations and then some,” said Markowitz. “This [resignation] allows here to decide what she wants to do. I hope she makes the decision to become a candidate for borough president and if she does, I will be fully supportive and absolutely support her for borough president,” he added. Born and raised in Jamaica, West Indies, Graham moved to New York in 1979, where she became a registered nurse and worked in the emergency room of Brookdale Hospital. In addition to being an RN, she holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Admini-stration and Community Health from St. Joseph’s College and a Master’s Degree in Public Health from Hunter College. Graham also completed the executive program in business administration at Columbia University School of Business, and recently an Honorary Doctor of Law degree was conferred on her by her alma mater St. Joseph’s College. Before coming into office, Graham founded and was executive director of the Caribbean Women’s Health Association (CWHA), which provides comprehensive, culturally-sensitive health care, immigration, and social support services to diverse communities. If she decides to enter the 2009 borough president race, Graham will join City Council members Bill de Blasio and Charles Barron.

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