Dozens of Highly Qualified and Experienced Individuals Joining Governor’s Administration to Build on Past Progress and Continue Moving New York State Forward
Governor Cuomo announced more than two dozen appointments to the executive chamber and state agencies, representing a major addition of fresh talent and tested experience to his administration. These highly qualified men and women will join the Governor in furthering a bold agenda to improve the lives of all New Yorkers and continue moving the state forward.
“As we begin a new year, our administration is doubling down on our efforts to build a safer, stronger, and more prosperous New York,” said Governor Cuomo. “From fighting for social, economic and environmental justice, to creating jobs and enhancing our global competitiveness, we are taking bold actions to continue moving this state forward. These men and women – who are tremendously qualified and respected in their fields – are joining us as we recommit to improving the lives of all New Yorkers. I look forward to working with all of them to better serve the people of New York.”
The full list of the Governor’s latest appointments is as follows:
Melissa DeRosa has been appointed Chief of Staff. Since April 2013, Ms. DeRosa has served as Communications Director and more recently added 'Strategic Advisor' to her title.
During her tenure, Ms. DeRosa has managed overall communications and press for the Executive Chamber and over 50 state agencies. In her new role, her portfolio will continue to include communications, and will add legislative affairs, politics, labor, and the administration's strategic approach to enacting policy. Before joining the Governor’s office, Ms. DeRosa worked in the Attorney General's Office as Deputy Chief of Staff and as Acting Chief of Staff. Ms. DeRosa led the office's effort to negotiate and pass the country’s most aggressive prescription drug reform package, I-STOP (Internet System for Tracking Over-Prescribing Act). Prior to working for the Attorney General, Ms. DeRosa served as New York State Director of Organizing for America, President Obama's national political action organization. Before joining OFA, Ms. DeRosa served as the Director of Communications and Legislation for Cordo and Company, an Albany based government affairs firm. She was also the Campaign Manager for Tracey Brooks for Congress, Deputy Press Secretary to Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, and Deputy Press Secretary for the successful NY State Transportation Bond Act Campaign Vote Yes in 2005. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial and Labor Relations and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration, both from Cornell University. She has served on the executive board of the Women’s Leadership Forum Network of the Democratic National Committee.
Robert F. Mujica Jr. has been appointed Budget Director for the New York State Division of the Budget. Previously, he was Chief of Staff to the Temporary President and Majority Leader of the Senate and concurrently serves as the Secretary to the Senate Finance Committee. For 19 years while serving under three Majority Leaders, Mr. Mujica has advised various elected and other government officials in New York on State budget, fiscal and policy issues. As Chief of Staff he was responsible for coordinating and activities among the Senate’s policy, counsel, and communications offices on behalf of the Senate leadership. In addition, as Secretary to the Senate Finance Committee, the Senate’s chief fiscal advisor, his responsibilities include leading a team of analysts and economists to examine and develop budgeting and fiscal/tax policy proposals for the Senate Majority. Mr. Mujica was the Senate’s chief staff liaison to the Governor’s office, state agencies and the state Assembly, and the lead negotiator responsible for all state budget and policy negotiations on behalf of the Senate leadership. He received his B.A. from Brooklyn College at the City University of New York, a Master's degree in Government Administration from the University of Pennsylvania and a J.D. from Albany Law School.
Mr. Mujica replaces Mary Beth Labate, who is joining SUNY as a senior level policy and program advisor on the Chancellor's Executive Committee.
Jill DesRosiers has been appointed Deputy Secretary for Executive Operations and will oversee the offices of Intergovernmental Affairs, Scheduling and Operations,and Regional and Constituency Affairs. Ms. DesRosiers has worked in New York City and State level government and politics for 15 years. Since 2012, Ms. DesRosiers has been Director of Scheduling for Governor Cuomo, responsible for event logistics and strategic planning for the Governor, including events, press conferences and issue based summits. She also planned and coordinated issue based campaigns with Operations, Intergovernmental and Communications departments. After getting a degree from the University of Pennsylvania in Systems Engineering, Ms. DesRosiers worked in senior positions for the New York City Council for 12 years under both Speakers Gifford Miller and Christine Quinn, where her responsibilities included community outreach and member services. She created CouncilStat, the first computerized tracking system for citywide constituent issues. She has also served as campaign manager, field director and GOTV director for over a dozen campaigns in New York City.
James Allen has been appointed Communications Director. Previously, Mr. Allen was Vice President of Communications and Strategy at Mic, where he oversaw brand strategy, communications, and external affairs. Before joining Mic, Allen served as director of communications and chief spokesman for then-Newark Mayor Cory Booker. He has also served as campaign manager and a top advisor for U.S. Congressman John Carney, Democrat of Delaware, and has staff experience on numerous other political campaigns across the country, including Obama for America in 2008. Earlier in his career, he was a senior account executive at Weber Shandwick. He received his B.A. in rhetoric and communications from SUNY Albany.
Major Michael J. Cerretto from the New York State Police will be appointed Director of the Office of Counter Terrorism within the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services. As Director, Major Cerretto will lead the units within the Office of Counter Terrorism and will work in collaboration with the New York State Intelligence Center, the State Police, and local and federal law enforcement agencies. Major Cerretto most recently served as the Chair of one of the State’s sixteen Counter Terrorism Zones which coordinates information sharing and operational coordination among State and local law enforcement. The Major also sits on the Executive Committee on Counter Terrorism which works closely with the New York State Intelligence Center. Major Cerretto, a former Navy Veteran who has served twenty-eight years with the State Police, most recently was the Commander of Troop A in Batavia and oversaw operations in the eight counties of Western New York.
Daniel Fuller has been appointed Education Policy Advisor. Most recently, Mr. Fuller served as Vice President of Legislative Relations at Communities in Schools. Previously, he was the Director of Public Policy at the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, and prior to that, was the Director of Federal Programs at the National School Boards Association. Mr. Fuller holds a B.A. in English from SUNY Plattsburgh.
Kate Dineen has been appointed Assistant Secretary for the Environment. Ms. Dineen most recently served as Deputy Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery, overseeing the implementation of recovery and resiliency projects in communities impacted by Hurricane Irene, Tropical Storm Lee, and Superstorm Sandy. Prior to joining state government, she was U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s Policy Director, covering environmental, energy, and economic development issues. She also worked for the Australian federal government evaluating the world’s first national scheme to regulate the creation and trade of carbon credits, and for the BMW Guggenheim Lab, a mobile think tank on urban sustainability issues. Ms. Dineen graduated cum laude from Williams College with a B.A. in English and holds a Masters in City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Barbara Williams has been appointed Deputy Policy Director for Governor Andrew M Cuomo. Prior to joining the administration, Barbara served for nine years at the U.S. Department of State. Most recently, she was Deputy Cultural Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City. Prior to that she was an advisor to the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs. She is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese. Barbara has a B.A. in Political Science and a Master of Arts in Regional Economic and Social Development from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell.
Josh Rousseau has been appointed Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs. Josh most recently served as a Special Assistant in the Governor’s Office of Legislative Affairs and prior, was a Special Assistant in the New York State Homes & Community Renewal Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. Before that, Josh was Chief of Staff and Legislative/Communications Director for New York State Assembly Assistant Speaker Rhoda S. Jacobs. Josh has a B.S. in Political Science from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh.
Quinn Staudt has been appointed Confidential Assistant to the Governor and Director of Public Engagement. Prior to his appointment, Mr. Staudt was a Political Consultant at the Smoot Tewes Group. Before that, he was a Political Operative with Greenberg, Quinlan, Rosner, Research (GQRR) and an Advisor to the Prime Minister of the Republic of Moldova. Mr. Staudt has also held multiple roles in the White House, including Deputy Director in the Office of Intergovernmental and Public Policy and Public Liaison at the Office of National Drug Control Policy. He has also served as a Public Affairs Program Specialist in the Office of the Secretary of the United States Department of Commerce. Additionally, Mr. Staudt was a Deputy Field Director for the Obama for America Campaign in Pennsylvania and held a number of roles in nearly a dozen states during the two-year campaign. He holds a B.S. in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland.
Laura Graham has been appointed Senior Vice President of Special Projects at the Empire State Development Corporation. Prior to her appointment, she was the Senior Advisor for Global Programs and the Chief Operating Officer of the Clinton Foundation. From 2001-2009, Ms. Graham held positions in the Office of Former President Bill Clinton, including: Chief of Staff and Director of Scheduling & Advance. Ms. Graham has a B.A. in Political Science from Wagner College.
Thomas Berkman has been appointed Deputy Commissioner and General Counsel for the Department of Environmental Conservation, where he currently serves as Deputy Counsel. Prior to his roles at the Department of Environmental Conservation, Mr. Berkman served as Assistant Attorney General in the Criminal Protections Bureau in the New York Attorney General’s Office where he prosecuted a wide array of criminal cases, including tax fraud, securities violations, environmental and insurance claims. Prior to that, Mr. Berkman was a Securities Staff Attorney at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr, LLP and a Litigation Associate at McGuirewoods, LLP. He has also served as an Assistant District Attorney in the Queens County District Attorney’s Office. Mr. Berkman holds a J.D. from Boston College Law School and a B.A. from Tufts University.
Nikhil Natarajan has been appointed Deputy Director for Planning, Training and Exercise, and the REP Program at the Office of Emergency Management within the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services. Prior, he served multiple roles at the New York State Department of Health Office of Health Emergency Preparedness, Health Research Inc., including: Deputy Director, Associate Director, and Strategic National Stockpile Coordinator. Before working at the New York State Department of Health, Mr. Natarajan was the Paramedic Program Coordinator and Emergency Management Instructor at the State University of New York at Ulster. He has also spent many years serving as a volunteer firefighter and over a decade working as a Paramedic, including serving in various supervisory roles. He has a B.P.S. in Individual Studies and Health Services Administration from SUNY Empire State College and a National Preparedness Leadership Initiative Certification from the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government.
Abbey Fashouer has been appointed Deputy Press Secretary. Ms. Fashouer previously served as Press Secretary for State Senator Jeff Klein. Prior to that, she was a Director at Mercury, LLC. She was also a field organizer for the Sweeney, Burzichelli, and Riley Campaign and for the Quinn for New York Mayoral Campaign. She holds a B.A. from SUNY Albany.
Scott Wyner has been appointed General Counsel for the New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets. Prior, Mr. Wyner was Counsel at Storch Amini & Munves PC and Thelen, LLC. Before that, he was a partner at Winick & Rich PC and an associate at Demov, Morris, Levin & Hammerling and at Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy. Mr. Wyner been involved in virtually all facets of civil litigation, specializing in business, commercial, securities, intellectual property, technology and construction disputes before state and federal courts. Mr. Wyner also has extensive experience with alternative dispute resolution and has served as an arbitrator and commercial mediator. He is also an adjunct associate professor at CUNY's School of Professional Studies, where he has taught negotiation and dispute resolution. He holds a J.D. from Georgetown University Law School, an M.A. in Japanese Studies from the University of Michigan and a B.A. in both Political Science and Japanese Studies from Colgate University.
Sean Hennessey has been appointed Assistant Commissioner for Regional Operations at the Department of Transportation for Utica, Syracuse and Watertown. Mr. Hennessey most recently worked at the New York State Office of General Services as Regional Building Superintendent overseeing operations at State Office Buildings in Buffalo, Syracuse, Utica and Watertown. Prior, he was the Commissioner of the Jefferson County Board of Elections. Mr. Hennessey is a graduate of SUNY Canton where he studied Architectural Design and Construction Technologies. Mr Hennessey was recently honored as the 2015 recipient of the Northern Regional Center for Independent Living (NRCIL) "Boundary Buster" award for his advocacy for the disabled community. Mr Hennessey is a proud community leader where he is the host and founder of the Echoes of Ireland Radio Show, a coach for the Tri-Village baseball league and an organizer for the North Country Goes Green Irish Festival.
Thomas L. McIntyre Jr. has been appointed Assistant Commissioner for Regional Operations at the Department of Transportation. Most recently, he worked at Sage Technical Services in Lexington in South Carolina, where he was an Administrator and a Commercial Driver’s License instructor. Prior, Mr. McIntyre was a Certified Transportation Layman at TMC Transportation in Des Moines, IA, before which he was a Corrections Officer for the South Carolina Department of Corrections. Mr. McIntyre has also served in the U.S. Army and held a number of positions within the Army, including Brigade Battle Staff First Sergeant, United States Army Goodwill Ambassador and Ammunition and Equipment Operations Technician. He holds an Associate’s Degree in Applied Science from New River Community College.
Nathaniel Dorfman has been appointed Deputy Counsel at the Department of Financial Services. Previously, he was a partner at Whiteman Osterman & Hanna LLP. Prior to that, he was Assistant Counsel to the Governor where he also served as the ethics officer for the Executive Chamber. In addition, Mr. Dorfman has held multiple positions at the United States Department of Justice, including Assistant United States Attorney in the Northern District of New York and Trial Attorney in the Tax Division, Civil Trial Section. Mr. Dorfman has a J.D. from Harvard Law School and B.S. from Cornell University.
Jonathan S. Fishbein has been appointed General Counsel at the Division of Veteran’s Affairs. Most recently, Mr. Fishbein was an Appellate Attorney in private practice. A Past President of Mediation Matters, Inc., in Albany, he is a trained mediator and Court Certified Arbitrator. Mr. Fishbein has held multiple positions with the United States Figure Skating Association in Colorado, including Special Outside Counsel, Governing Counsel Delegate, and Grievance and Ethics Committee Member. Prior, Mr. Fishbein was a Senior Court Attorney at the New York State Court of Appeals. He has a J.D. from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law and a B.S. in Accounting from Fairleigh Dickinson University.
Karen Geduldig has been appointed Director of Telecommunications at the New York State Department of Public Service. She currently serves as General Counsel and Ethics Officer at the New York State Office of Information and Technology Services, a position she has held since 2011. Prior to her appointment at the Office of Information and Technology Services, Ms. Geduldig held positions at the Internet Bureau of the New York State Office of the Attorney General, including Acting Bureau Chief (February 2010-January 2011) and Assistant Attorney General (January 2005-February 2010). Prior to her roles at the New York State Attorney General’s Office, Ms. Geduldig was an associate at McDermott Will & Emery, LLP. She has a J.D. from Hofstra University School of Law and a B.A. in Political Science from The George Washington University.
Freeman Klopott has been appointed Director of Communications and Marketing at the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York. Mr. Klopott most recently was a reporter at Bloomberg News. Prior, he was a reporter at the Washington Examiner and the Keene Sentinel. Mr. Klopott holds an M.A. from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and a B.A. in History and American Culture from Washington University in St. Louis.
Matthew Peluso has been appointed Special Counsel to the Commissioner for Ethics, Risk and Compliance at the Department of Motor Vehicles. Prior, Mr. Peluso was the Assistant District Attorney for Albany County where he was a member of the Financial and Vehicular Crimes Bureaus. Before that, he was an Associate at Nixon Peabody LLP. Mr. Peluso has prosecuted cases involving DWI offenses, vehicular assaults, identity theft, tax fraud, and theft of various types of public assistance benefits. He also served as a police officer in the City of Rochester. He holds a J.D. from Albany Law School, a Certificate in Law Enforcement from Monroe Community College and a B.S. in Biology from Union College.
Eugene Sarfoh has been appointed Special Counsel to the Executive Director for Ethics, Risk and Compliance at the Justice Center. Most recently, he was the Managing Attorney of the Albany, New York office of McCabe, Collins, McGeough & Fowler, LLP. Prior, he spent 9 years as an Officer in the litigation firm, O’Connor, O’Connor, Bresee & First, P.C. Mr. Sarfoh also previously served as a Felony Trial Assistant in the Office of the Albany County District Attorney and as an Assistant Public Defender with the Albany County Public Defender’s QOffice. Mr. Sarfoh has a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School and a B.A. in Political Science & Philosophy from the University of Rochester.
Melissa Greenberg has been appointedChief Business Officer at the New York State Office of General Services. Ms. Greenberg most recently served as the Customer Care, Performance Management and Transition Lead in the Business Services Center at OGS. Prior, she was the Director of Budget Operations for the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Ms. Greenberg also held multiple positions at the New York State Statewide Financial System (SFS) including Business Transformation Lead and Chart of Accounts and General Ledger Lead. She was also a Senior Associate at KPMG. She has a M.S. in Accounting Information Systems from the University at Albany and a B.S. in Business, Management and Economics from SUNY Empire State College.
Simone-MarieL.Meeks has been appointed Assistant Commissionerat the Department of Homes and Community Renewal. Previously, she was a Principal at Lord Lipscomb Molloy PR Strategies, and held roles at the New York Academy of Medicine, including Director of Community and Legislative Outreach and Senior Policy Associate. Ms. Meeks was also an Adjunct Professor of Community Development at Queens College and a Communications and Policy Advisor at the Nassau County Department of Health. She has also held positions at the Office of the Bronx Borough President and in the Office of a New York State Assembly Member. She has a M.S. in Urban Policy Analysis & Management from the New School and a B.S. in English and Media Studies from Fordham University.
John Scicchitano has been appointed Director of Philanthropic Partnerships at NYSERDA. Mr. Scicchitano most recently held an appointment at the United States Department of Agriculture where led efforts to track global hunger in order to foster timely government response. Prior, he was the National Director of World Vision Chad. Mr. Scicchitano was also the Program Manager for FEWS NET at the United States Agency for International Development, and has held roles at the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance in Senegal, World Relief in Burkina Faso, Rwanda, and Kenya, and the International Rescue Committee in Burundi. Mr. Schicchitano has an Executive Masters in Leadership from the Georgetown University McDonough School of Business and a B.S.E. in Civil Engineering and Operations Research from Princeton University. He is also recognized by the United Nations Roster of Experts for the following domains: participatory planning, community development, partnership among stakeholders and policies and strategies.
Barbara Lee Steigerwald has been appointed Assistant Commissioner for Special Projects at the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services. Most recently, Ms. Steigerwald was the Assistant Vice President for Government Relations at SUNY Albany, prior to which, she was a Government Relations Consultant at Ostroff Associates, Inc. Ms. Steigerwald has held a number of roles in public service, including Chief of Staff to New York State Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr., Senior Health Care Analyst for the New York State Finance Committee and Assistant Counsel to New York State Senator Kenneth P. Lavalle. Ms. Steigerwald holds a J.D. from St. John’s University School of Law and a B.S. in Business Management from SUNY Binghamton.
Khurram Saeed has been appointed Director of Communications for the New NY Bridge.Since 2000, Mr. Saeed worked as a reporter for The Journal News, covering a broad range of transportation topics with a specialized focus on the Tappan Zee Bridge for the past decade. Prior to his time at The Journal News, Mr. Saeed was a City Hall reporter for The Bellingham Herald in Washington state. He also served as publisher and editor-in-chief at Aaj Magazine, which covered the South Asian community in Vancouver, BC, Canada. Mr. Saeed holds a B.A. in journalism from Pace University.
Raquel Gonzalez has been appointed Special Assistant at the Department of Agriculture and Markets. Ms. Gonzalez most recently served in various roles as an appointee in President Obama’s Administration, including Deputy Director of the White House Liaison Office at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Special Assistant to the Director of Peace Corps, Economics Director for Presidential Personnel at the White House, Confidential Assistant in the Office of Innovation and Improvement at the U.S. Department of Education, and Special Assistant to the Director of the Office of Science at the Department of Energy. Ms. Gonzalez has also worked for the AFL-CIO of Washington, the 2013 Presidential Inaugural Committee, Organizing for America in Ohio, and Obama for America in Indiana. Ms. Gonzalez holds a M.A. from the University of Malta and a M.S. and B.A. from George Mason University.
Alexandra M. Greene has been appointed Senior Policy Advisor at Empire State Development. Ms. Greene joined the administration as an Empire State Fellow in the Executive Chamber, where she assisted in the development and implementation of civil rights, economic development, and workforce policies and initiatives. Prior to joining State government, Ms. Greene served as a Legal Associate at the Newark Public Schools and was responsible for the negotiation and compliance of collective bargaining agreements as well as the creation of district wide policies to address new school initiatives and maximize human capital. Ms. Greene holds a B.A. from Boston College, J.D. from the University of Connecticut School of Law, and a M.A. from Columbia University.
James Miskiewicz has been appointed Special Counsel for Ethics, Risk and Compliance at the Long Island Power Authority. Previously, Mr. Miskiewicz served as the Assistant United States Attorney and Deputy Chief for the Long Island Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York. Before joining the US Attorney’s Office, he served as a Trial Attorney in the Environmental Crimes Section of the US Department of Justice, and as a law clerk for the Honorable G. Thomas Eisele, Chief United States District Judge, Eastern District of Arkansas. He received his B.A., cum laude, from the City College of New York, and his J.D. from the City University of New York School of Law.
Jamie Frank has been appointed Assistant Secretary for Education. Most recently she served in the Education Unit in the New York State Division of Budget, where she focused on education finance, including conducting research and policy analysis on issues such as academic performance, accountability, school funding and the State’s pre-kindergarten expansion. Before coming to New York State government, Ms. Frank was an English as a Second Language teacher at a public elementary school in North Carolina. She graduated with a B.A. with honors from the University of Rochester, and holds a M.P.A. with a concentration in Social Policy from Cornell University.
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