Desiree Waters has been an employee of the City of New York for 32 years, beginning her career as a College Aide at the Office of Administrative Tax Appeals (formerly known as “New York City Tax Commission”). As the daughter of a single mother and a student at Borough of Manhattan Community College, she wanted to be able to help her mom by financially contributing to the household.
Desiree never imagined that she would have a career as a civil servant. She remained at the Tax Commission for 10 years where she was promoted to an Office Aide, an Office Associate, a Clerical Associate, and was eventually pulled from the Principal Administrative Associate list. She saw a posting for a PAA position at the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH) and applied; she got the position. She then worked at OATH as an administrative assistant, processing and closing cases for four Administrative Law Judges once they completed their hearings. She enjoyed this position very much because of the wonderful people she worked with as well as the interesting cases she reviewed.
She worked at OATH for three years before one of the Administrative Law judges, who was leaving to head a new unit at the Department of Buildings, asked that she come to work with him as his assistant. She decided that this would be a great opportunity and accepted the offer. After two years with the Department of Buildings, Desiree saw a posting for a position as a Principal Administrative Associate Level II with the Department of Youth and Community and Development. She applied and got the position.
Desiree was always active in Local 1180 and would bring her youngest son Tirell with her to membership meetings and trainings. She became a Shop Steward by default when her shop steward at DYCD, Harlan Reid, was leaving the agency to become a Local 1180 Staff Representative. Harlan held a lunchtime meeting to recruit his replacement, and when he asked for nominations, someone yelled out
“I nominate Desiree” much to her surprise! With that, everyone else chimed in with “I second that. As Shop Steward, Desiree was a strong advocate for her members at DYCD, always making herself available to assist them, and attended the 2010 Clara Allen Leadership School. At one lunchtime meeting, when she was reviewing the additions to gross, she learned that two members were not receiving the Experience Differential. In addition, another was not receiving longevity, which she had been due to receive 10 years prior. Needless to say, when this was brought to the agency’s attention, they were not happy. However, Desiree was thrilled that she was able to ensure members received what was owed them.
After 10 years at DYCD working in the Procurement Department processing discretionary grants, Desiree responded to a posting for the position of Staff Representative at the union. With her natural desire to assist others and belief in what the union stands for, she applied for the position and got the job. Desiree is a graduate from NYS AFL-CIO/Cornell ILR Union Leadership Institute.
As a Staff Representative, each day brings something new and sometimes unprecedented. Desiree continues to be a compassionate advocate for the members, whom she believes “Sometimes just need someone to talk to and listen”.