Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the following appointments and nominations to senior positions within the state government.
Joan McDonald will be nominated to serve as Commissioner of the State Department of Transportation. Ms. McDonald is currently serving as the Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development. In May, 2008, she was appointed Chair of Connecticut Innovations, an authority providing development capital to emerging businesses. From 2003-2007, she was the Senior Vice President of Transportation for the New York City Economic Development Corporation. Prior to joining the NYCEDC, she spent five years as the Vice President of Jacobs Engineering. Ms. McDonald was Deputy Commissioner for Planning & Traffic Operations for the New York City Department of Transportation from 1995-1998 and served as the Director of Capital and Long Range Planning for the MTA Metro-North Railroad for the three years prior to that. She served as Special Assistant to the Speaker of the New York State Assembly from 1991-1992. She began her career in public service with the New York State Assembly in 1978, serving in various capacities on the Ways and Means and House Operations Committees, including Deputy Budget Director and Assistant Director of Research.
Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy said, "Commissioner McDonald is a talented and hardworking individual, dedicated to helping create new jobs and engaging Connecticut's business community. I've enjoyed my working relationship with her, and we're sorry to see her go, but I know that her work ethic, her experience and her dedication to the job will be of great service to the people of New York State."
Denise Richardson, Managing Director of the General Contractors Association of New York, said, "Joan McDonald's broad range of expertise dealing with transportation and infrastructure contract, budgeting and project delivery issues in both the public and private sectors will be an asset to Governor's Cuomo's goals to create jobs and streamline government. Joan is an excellent choice to lead DOT and we look forward to working with her to ensure that the state's transportation infrastructure needs are met."
Yomika S. Bennett will serve as Assistant Secretary of Transportation. Ms. Bennett currently serves as the Director of State and Local Relations at the New York State Department of Transportation. Prior to joining the NYSDOT in 2007, Ms. Bennett served as Executive Director for the office of
Assemblyman David Gantt. From 2001-2005, Ms. Bennett was the Senior Legislative Budget Analyst for the New York State Assembly Committee on Ways and Means. In 2000, she worked at Schenectady County Community College as the Coordinator of Institutional Research and Grants Support.
Assemblyman David Gantt, who serves as Chair of the Assembly Transportation Committee, said, "Yomika Bennett is well known for her expertise, leadership and dedication to the State of New York, and particularly for the field of transportation. She is exactly what is needed to help develop a new vision for meeting the challenging transportation needs before us. Her integrity, intelligence and comprehension of the big picture, synthesizes issues and develop cogent responses will serve Governor Cuomo and his team well in their quest to preserve and rebuild our State's transportation program. I commend the Governor on his choice."
Brian Fischer will be reappointed Commissioner of the Department of Correctional Services, a position that he has held since his confirmation in 2007. Prior to his appointment, Commissioner Fischer was one of nine Supervising Superintendents with responsibility for the management of six correctional facilities in addition to being the Superintendent of Sing Sing Correctional Facility from 2000-2007. He served as the Superintendent of the Queensboro Correctional Facility for nine years after serving as the Director of Support Operations from 1986-1991. Mr. Fischer began his career in the New York State Department of Correctional Services as a Deputy Superintendent in 1975. From 1968-1975, Mr. Fischer was at the New York State Narcotic Addiction Control Commission, where he rose from a Parole Officer to Assistant Director.
Glenn Martin, Vice President of Development and Public Affairs at the Fortune Society, said, "Commissioner Brian Fischer has built enormous respect and trust among advocates and reentry service providers like The Fortune Society because of his commitment to increasing the likelihood that people released from prison have the tools necessary to be productive and contributing members of their communities. Brian's focus on public-private collaboration and the long term success of people released from prison is apparent in his investment in rehabilitative programs, discharge planning and helping to create a seamless transition between prison and the reentry organizations that exist in the community."
"Brian Fischer is a nationally known and respected corrections professional who is held in very high regard by corrections officers and officials. He is a dynamic leader who is well-equipped to implement Governor Cuomo's vision of reform in New York State," said A. T. Wall, the Director of Rhode Island's Director of Corrections. Director Wall is the longest serving corrections commissioner in the nation and is the President of the Association of State Correctional Administrators.
Michael Jacobson, President and Director of the Vera Institute of Justice, said, "State leaders everywhere facing major budget shortfalls are looking at corrections spending, seeking strategies that save money and increase public safety. In this environment, Brian Fischer is a terrific person to lead New York's corrections agency. He is not only a seasoned, experienced corrections administrator admired by colleagues across the country, he also has a deep commitment to the kinds of data driven policies that must be the centerpiece of effective and efficient correction systems."
Dr. Michael Hogan will be reappointed Commissioner of the Office of Mental Health, a position that he has held since his confirmation in 2007. Dr. Hogan served as Director of the Ohio Department of Mental Health from 1991-2007, and Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Mental Health from 1987-1991. He chaired the President's New Freedom Commission on Mental Health in 2002-2003, and was appointed as the first behavioral health representative on the board of The Joint Commission in 2007. He served (1994-1998) on NIMH's National Advisory Mental Health Council from 1994-1998, as President of the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors from 2003-2005 and as Board President of NASMHPD's Research Institute from 1989-2000. He is a graduate of Cornell University, State University College in Brockport NY, and received his Ph.D. from Syracuse University.
Kelly A. Hansen, Executive Director of the NYS Conference of Local Mental Hygiene Directors, said, "Commissioner Hogan understands that effective treatment and services for people with mental health disorders is centered in the community at the county and City level. Mike is a leader in the discussion around person centered recovery. The Conference applauds Governor Cuomo on this appointment."
Paige Pierce, Executive Director of Families Together in New York State, said, "Families Together is thrilled that NYS recognizes the great talent and nation expertise we have in Commissioner Hogan. We have been so fortunate to have spent the past four years working with him on cross-systems youth issues and appreciate his attention and focus on our children and our families. We are especially excited to know that he, and others will continue the momentum that has been built over the past several years as our state works to organize and coordinate the work we do."