October 4, 2021
Albany, NY

Governor Hochul Announces Appointments to the Joint Commission on Public Ethics

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Governor Hochul Announces Appointments to the Joint Commission on Public Ethics
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Jose Nieves to Serve as Chair and Sharon Stern Gerstman to Serve on Commission

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced appointments to the Joint Commission on Public Ethics. The Governor is appointing Jose Nieves to serve as Chair of the Commission and Sharon Stern Gerstman to serve on the Commission. The two appointees will be filling-in seats vacated by Robert Cohen and James E. Dering, who will be stepping down from their roles.

"Restoring trust in government is a top priority for my administration, and that includes strengthening ethics oversight," Governor Hochul said. "Jose Nieves and Sharon Stern Gerstman are well-respected and talented professionals who will uphold our commitment to open, ethical governing and help to transform not just state government, but more importantly, people's image and perception of their state government."

Jose Nieves, founder of the Law Offices of Jose L. Nieves & Associates, has dedicated his life to public service as a career prosecutor, army combat veteran and community leader for more than twenty years. Prior to founding his law firm, Mr. Nieves worked for the Office of the New York State Attorney General as a Deputy Chief in the Special Investigations and Prosecutions Unit. Mr. Nieves served with the US Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration where he oversaw the investigation and prosecution of various violations of the Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR) by pilots, air carriers and aviation mechanics and for the New York City Department of Correction, Trials and Litigation Division. He was a Captain in the US Army Reserves for more than 10 years and was deployed to Afghanistan in 2009. While in the army, Mr. Nieves prosecuted sexual assault offenses and other misconduct by U.S. service members and he was also asked to serve as a Special U.S. Attorney for the US Attorney's office in the Northern District of New York where he prosecuted cases in federal court. During his deployment to Afghanistan, he was tasked with the rule of law mission in the Laghman Province. He focused on advising Afghan Judges, Defense Counsels and Prosecutors regarding matters of criminal law, trial advocacy and the administration of their newly formed criminal justice system. Mr. Nieves was also instrumental in overseeing major infrastructure projects that included renovation of a court house and the pre-trial detention facility. He served in the military until 2014 when he received an honorable discharge. Mr. Nieves began his career in the Kings County District Attorney's Office as an Assistant District Attorney. During his eleven-year tenure, he advanced to the position of Counsel and prosecuted hundreds of criminal cases including long term narcotics investigations, gun related offenses, robberies, burglaries and assault cases as well as other violent crimes. Mr. Nieves graduated from St. John's University in Queens with a Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice and he earned a J.D. from Brooklyn Law School.

Sharon Stern Gerstman is counsel to the Buffalo, New York law firm of Magavern Magavern Grimm LLP. She concentrates in the areas of mediation and arbitration, litigation and appellate practice. Ms. Gerstman was President of the New York State Bar Association in 2017-2018, has served on the Board of Governors of the American Bar Association and continues to serve in its House of Delegates. She is a past director of the Bar Association of Erie County and a past president of the Erie County Bar Foundation and of the Women Lawyers of Western New York. She has received numerous awards from various bar associations and is a life fellow of the American Bar Foundation and of the New York State Bar Foundation. She is also an elected member of the American Law Institute. She has taught in the law schools of University of Toledo, University of Missouri-Kansas City, and University at Buffalo, where she taught New York Practice for 30 years. She is the author of numerous law review articles, is a co-author of New York Civil Practice (James Publishing), and is on the editorial board of Weinstein Korn and Miller, New York Civil Practice: CPLR. In addition to law school teaching, Ms. Gerstman's professional experience includes 29 years of service as Court Attorney/Referee and Principal Law Clerk in New York State Supreme Court, where her primary responsibility was mediating civil cases to settlement. Ms. Gerstman received her bachelor's degree from Brown University, her juris doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh, and her master's in law from Yale Law School.

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