Councilmember Jimmy Vacca’s new chief-of-staff is no stranger to the city council or the neighborhoods he represents.
Michael Rivadeneyra, is 37-year-old Morris Park resident with almost 10 years experience working with councilmembers, including Vacca.
“This was a no brainer,” said Vacca about the hire. “He knows the district, he knows how city agencies work, and he knows how the legislature works”
Rivadeneyra first got involved with the City Council in 2003, he said, working with Brooklyn Councilmember Diana Reyna as a constituent liaison. After volunteering with Vacca during the 2005 campaign, he was hired as a district director in 2006, he said, and worked for Vacca full time for a year before transitioning to part time while attending law school. He continued working for Vacca after completing his degree before leaving to work as Councilmember Annabel Palma’s deputy-chief-of-staff for two years, then transitioning to a job as Director of Government Relations at the New York Botanical Gardens. He was recently brought back into Vacca’s office to replace longtime chief of staff Jeff Lynch.
As chief-of-staff, Rivadeneyra said he manages Vacca’s legislative and district offices.
“I oversee both offices to strategize a way we can have meaningful and substantive effects on our district first, and then rest of the city,” he said.
Rivadeneyra will also act as the face of the office throughout the district and city when Vacca cannot be present. He said he enjoys working with constituents and addressing their concerns about quality of life issues.
“I’ve enjoyed all of the direct services I’ve given to community over the years,” said Rivadeneyra.
And although the office is not always able to fix every constituent’s problem directly, he said the complaints and feedback from constituents build into ideas that form policy.
“A lot of folks appreciate knowing they triggered something that helped other people,” he said.
His strengths are listening, problem solving, and being non-reactionary, he said, in addition to the fact that he cares deeply about serving the community. His 12 years living in Morris Park, now with his wife and 14-month-old, also give him an extra level of investment in the district.
“I have a vested interest in trying to make sure quality of life is thought of, infrastructure is thought of, schools are thought of,” he said.
He is not alone in his passion for his work in the councilmember’s office, he said, and is surrounded by an energetic, vibrant staff who are willing to go above and beyond for their constituents and councilmember.
“Our staff right now is top notch,” he said. “I’m excited to be back.”