New Rochelle native Patrick Pizzella has been named by President Trump to become the acting Secretary of Labor, replacing Alexander Acosta, who resigned in the wake of a controversy over his handling of the prosecution of sex offender Jeffrey Epstein when Acosta was the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District in Florida.
Pizzella was moved up from his position as deputy secretary to become the acting secretary. Pizzella, who was born on May 19, 1954, grew up in New Rochelle and attended Iona Preparatory School. He graduated in the class of 1972 at Iona Prep.
He attended the University of South Carolina, receiving a bachelor’s degree in business administration. In 1981, he went to work for the government’s General Services Administration and rose to become special assistant to the agency’s administrator. He then shifted to the Small Business Administration.
Pizzella then worked at the U.S. Department of Education for a short time and, in 1989, served on the Federal Housing Finance Board through 1995. In 1996, he went to work in the private sector, including working for lobbyist Jack Abramoff who served four years in prison in a scandal related to bribing U.S. government officials. Pizzella was not implicated in the scandal. He returned to government in the administration of President George W. Bush. On May 9, 2001, he was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as Assistant Secretary of Labor for Administration and Management. He served until 2009 when he left to open his own consulting firm, Patrick Pizzella LLC.
In 2013, Pizzella was nominated by President Obama to serve on the Federal Labor Relations Authority and was confirmed by the Senate. In 2015, President Obama renominated him for a five-year term to run until July 1, 2020, but the Senate failed to act and the nomination expired. On June 20, 2017, he was nominated to be Deputy Secretary of Labor and he was confirmed on April 12, 2018, by a Senate vote of 50-48.