After graduating from CUNY York College, Sal was a New York City public school teacher for eleven years. In 1982, at the urging of community residents, he ran for City Council and defeated a 21-year incumbent and Republican-Conservative Minority Leader. He won re-election four times, representing the people of southwestern Brooklyn until 1997 when he became a candidate for Mayor of New York City.
As a councilman, Sal was a member of the Public Safety, Education, and Transportation committees. An expert on police issues, he successfully worked with community leaders to put more officers on patrol. He also initiated legislation requiring police to publish response times to emergency calls and led the successful effort to overhaul the NYPD’s antiquated 911 system.
Sal was the leading advocate for public school accountability and proposed giving parents a formal role in the decision-making process. He crafted laws requiring mandatory drug testing for school bus drivers and fought to transform a struggling high school in his district into the very successful High School of Telecommunications Arts and Technology.
To protect workers and taxpayers in the city contracting process, Sal introduced the pioneering New York City Living Wage Bill. The Living Wage Bill still protects city contract employees from abuse by setting wage levels that comply with industry standards. It also requires contractors to find savings in management efficiency and services, rather than worker’s paychecks.
To ensure that middle class and working people’s interests trump special interests, Sal has been a leading advocate for campaign finance reform and term limits. He was the original sponsor of a campaign finance reform bill that would permanently remove big money from the political process.
Throughout his career, Sal has been a strong supporter of LGBT rights. He helped pass one of the first bills in the nation that prohibited housing and employment discrimination based on sexual orientation.
For the past fifteen years, Sal has worked in the private sector in the legal and financial field. For the last nine years, he worked for Mesirow Financial and held the title of Managing Director. Sal lives in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn with his wife of 40 years, Lorraine. They have two daughters.