Public Service Spotlight
CFO and Deputy Commissioner, New York City's Department of Transportation
Over a decade ago, when Joseph Jarrin was studying for his MPA at Wagner, he was an intern in the budget office at New York City’s Department of Transportation (DOT). Although he didn’t stay at the agency after his internship, his career has come full circle. Jarrin is now the Chief Financial Officer and Deputy Commissioner for Finance, Contracting, and Program Management at DOT.
While Jarrin was finishing at Wagner, he took a position – as many young Wagnerites do, as an analyst in the Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB). He worked in the transportation unit focusing on funding for streets, bridges, and mass transit, and his career progressed there for many years. Over four years ago he was promoted to Assistant Director for Fire, Parks & Sanitation, transitioning out of his primary area of interest – transportation – while fulfilling a desire to engage in two other areas of interest: environmental issues and emergency response. In April of 2007, when Janette Sadik-Khan was appointed the new Commissioner at DOT and a Deputy Commissioner position opened up in the agency, Jarrin saw an opportunity to re-connect with his first area of interest and make a strong contribution to advancing transportation initiatives. He believed his broad experience with the budgets, operations and capital programs of DOT, the Fire Department, the Department of Sanitation, the Department of Parks and Recreation, and the Landmarks Preservation Commission, as well as his successes in resolving various budget issues, had prepared him for a new challenge. In July of 2007, Jarrin was pleased to return to DOT to manage DOT’s $714 million operating budget and multi-billion dollar capital program, becoming the agency’s Chief Financial Officer and Deputy Commissioner for Finance, Contracting, and Program Management.
While Jarrin spent time making decisions about how to allocate money in the city’s budget while at OMB, in his role at DOT now, he spends time asking for money from OMB. He oversees all financial aspects of his entire department. Jarrin has to concern himself with a wide array of issues as the agency handles the city’s bridges, streets, traffic and ferries. He points out that the full gamut of skills he gained from Wagner is useful every day – from policy analysis to management, and from expertise in finance to knowledge of urban planning.
Jarrin notes he is thrilled to be part of the team at the department that is pushing forward the new city initiatives spearheaded by Sadik-Khan, all of which will transform New York. There is a lot of excitement and energy around these new or expanded programs, which include congestion mitigation, improved pedestrian safety and mobility, and the state-of-good-repair of the city’s transportation infrastructure. As the agency has a lot to accomplish in a limited amount of time, Jarrin is also actively engaged in improving project management, both internally at DOT as well as in coordination with other city agencies involved in the implementation of these major initiatives.
Although Jarrin has a busy career, he still finds time to be involved with Wagner. He has sat on career panels and recruited on campus for OMB and DOT. He knows from his own experience that internships provide an invaluable edge. And who knows, maybe one of the internships he provides will spur another career that will eventually come full circle.