April 24, 2015
Albany

Governor Cuomo Announces Administration Appointments

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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the following 11 nominations and appointments to his administration, continuing to shape a team committed to expanding opportunity for all New Yorkers.

“I welcome these talented individuals to their new roles in this administration,” Governor Cuomo said. “Each will bring a fresh perspective and new energy to their positions and I’m excited to work with them to move New York forward.”

Gerrard P. Bushell will be nominated to serve as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York. Mr. Bushell is an accomplished investment advisor who counsels some of the nation’s leading institutional investors on their private and public investment strategies. He is currently a Senior Relationship Advisor in BNY Mellon's alternative and traditional investment management businesses. Prior to joining BNY Mellon, he held a number of Senior Advisory roles, including Director in the Client and Partner Group at Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR), Managing Director in Business Development at Arden Asset Management and Head of Institutional Sales at the Legg Mason affiliate ClearBridge Advisors (formerly Citi Asset Management). Gerrard has deep experience working in New York State Government, having served as a Senior Officer to New York State Comptroller H. Carl McCall, a sole trustee of the New York State Common Retirement Fund and a leading institutional investor. Mr. Bushell is a graduate of Columbia University, where he received a B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Sciences. This nomination requires Senate confirmation.

Jerry Boone will be nominated to serve as Commissioner of the Department of Taxation and Finance. His nomination replaces that of Kenneth Adams, who will return to the private sector in June. Mr. Boone currently serves as President and Commissioner of the Civil Service Commission, overseeing New York’s workforce as principal human resources partner and employee benefits manager for the Executive Branch of state government, which employs 150,000 people. He previously served as Managing Principal of Boone Consulting and, prior, was President and Founder of Pride Properties, LLC, owning a portfolio of rental and company-financed properties in the Mid South. He held a number of roles at Caesars Entertainment, Inc./Harrah’s Entertainment, Inc., from legal counsel to head of gaming operations at a major subsidiary, culminating in the role of corporate Senior Vice President and HR, Integration & Internal Communication Leader. He also served as Commissioner of the New Jersey Casino Reinvestment Development Authority and Solicitor General in the New York State Attorney General’s Office. Mr. Boone has a B.A. from Columbia University and a J.D. from Boston College Law School. This nomination requires Senate confirmation.

Sabrina Ty has been recommended to serve as President and CEO of the Environmental Facilities Corporation. This recommendation must be approved by the EFC Board of Directors. Ms. Ty most recently served as Special Counsel to the Commissioner in the Office of General Services, where she oversaw several of the Governor’s Enterprise initiatives for achieving savings, supervised the implementation of the Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Business Program and managed the agency’s MWBE program. She previously served as Governor Cuomo’s Deputy Secretary for Legislative Affairs and, prior, held a number of positions for the New York State Assembly, culminating in Legislative Counsel to the Speaker. Ms. Ty has a B.A. from McGill University in Montreal and a J.D. from Albany Law School.

Margaret A. Tobin has been appointed Senior Vice President of Development for the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City. Ms. Tobin most recently served as Chief Financial Officer of Empire State Development, where she oversaw the $1.6 billion bond financing of World Trade Center 3. Ms. Tobin joined the Cuomo administration in 2012 as Executive Director of the New York Works Task Force, leading the Governor’s initiative to overhaul the capital investment process for New York State. In that role she led the development of New York State’s first-ever, 10-year, Statewide Capital Plan, coordinating $174 billion in capital investment across 47 agencies and authorities, and oversaw more than 600 projects valued at more than $1.5 billion, while achieving a 100% on-time, on-budget performance. During her distinguished career, Ms. Tobin has served as a Principal at Cherry Tree Development, as Executive Vice President of Development for Thor Equities, a Vice President of Development at Vornado Realty Trust, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for the Hudson River Park Conservancy, and Director of Economic Development for the Mayor’s Office of Finance & Economic Development. Ms. Tobin earned a B.A. from Vassar College and an M.B.A. from Stanford Business School.

Axel Bernabe has been appointed Assistant Counsel to the Governor with a focus on Health. Mr. Bernabe most recently served as a Partner with Constantine Cannon, P.C., where for over 10 years he specialized in healthcare, antitrust and complex commercial litigation, as well as on providing corporate compliance advice to companies in the healthcare and insurance industries. He previously served as an associate at Coudert Brothers, LLP, and articled with the Canadian Department of Justice. Mr. Bernabe has both a Bachelor of Laws (J.D. equivalent) and a Bachelor of Civil Laws from McGill University Faculty of Law, and a B.A. from the University of Ottawa.

Mehul J. Patel has been appointed Chief Operating Officer and Chief of Staff at Empire State Development. Mr. Patel currently serves as Chief of Staff at ESD and will be adding the COO role to his responsibilities. He previously served as Vice President of the Moynihan Station Development Corporation, working with public and private stakeholders to expand New York’s Penn Station into the historic James A. Farley Post Office Building. Prior to this role, he was a Senior Project Manager for The Hudson Companies and was a Senior Analyst at HR&A Advisors. Mr. Patel was recently named to the Global 40 Under 40 by Urban Land. He has a B.A. from Yale University and an M.S. from Columbia University.

Heriberto (Ed) Vargas has been appointed Director of Labor Relations for the Department of Labor. He is a veteran New York City labor leader with more than 30 years of experience working on economic, political and social justice issues affecting working families in New York State, nationally, and internationally. He previously served as a consultant to Amalgamated Life Insurance Company and as Assistant to the President of Workers United, SEIU. He also served as Director of Mobilization at UNITE HERE and in various posts at the former International Ladies Garment Workers Union (ILGWU). Mr. Vargas served in the US Air Force during the Vietnam War, from which he was honorably discharged as a Staff Sergeant. He attended Herbert H. Lehman College, City University of New York.

Shareema Abel has been appointed Special Counsel to the Commissioner for Ethics, Risk and Compliance for Homes and Community Renewal. She currently serves as Litigation Attorney in the Teacher Performance Unit of the New York City Department of Education, where she was lead counsel on disciplinary hearings of tenured pedagogues. She previously served as an Assistant District Attorney in Gangs/Major Case/Homicide Bureau of the Bronx County District Attorney’s Office. Ms. Abel has a J.D. from Hofstra University School of Law and a B.A. from Binghamton University.

Linda Donahue has been appointed Special Counsel to the Commissioner for Ethics, Risk and Compliance for the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services. Ms. Donahue currently serves as Senior Counsel for the New York City Law Department, where she litigated and managed federal civil rights class actions and wrongful conviction cases. She was previously a partner at Kostelantetz & Fink, LLP, and Counsel at Frankel & Abrams. Ms. Donahue has a J.D. from New York University School of Law and a B.A. in Social Work from Florida State University.

Nika Milbrun has been appointed Assistant Director of Constituencies for African American and Women’s Affairs for the Executive Chamber. Ms. Milbrun most recently served as Regional Field Director for Terra Strategies on behalf of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. She previously was the Field Director for Dell Smitherman’s 2014 State Senate campaign and, prior, was a Special Assistant for the UN Child Rights & Business Workshop. She was also a Community Outreach Coordinator for the New York State Senate Democratic Conference. She served as Regional Field Organizer for One Nation Working Together as well as David Yassky's campaign for New York City Comptroller. Ms. Milbrun attended Baruch College.

Matthew L. Ossenfort has been appointed to serve on the State Workforce Investment Board. Mr. Ossenfort was elected Montgomery County Executive in November 2013. At 33, he is the youngest sitting county executive in New York State. He was born and raised in Amsterdam, attended Amsterdam City Schools and is a lifelong resident of Montgomery County. Upon graduation, he began work in the New York State Assembly, where he worked for various members in different capacities. In 2007, he became Chief of Staff to Assemblyman George Amedore. He is also the founding member and president of Habitat for Humanity Montgomery County NY. Prior to being elected as Montgomery County’s first Executive, he worked as a Senior Legislative Analyst with the New York State Senate. Mr. Ossenfort holds a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science and History from the University at Albany. 

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