Cuomo's People: In the Governor's Office

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Governor Andrew Cuomo has named many of the people he is bringing in to run the administration. Here's the official It's A Free Country guide to Cuomo's team (so far). Better bookmark this now — there's no telling who might need a letter someday.

»» Also check out our guide to Cuomo's Agency Heads

Key Executive Staff 

Secretary to the Governor - Steven M. Cohen will be taking the top job at the Governor’s administration. Cohen follows Cuomo from the Attorney General’s office, where he served as Cuomo’s Counselor and Chief of Staff.

Chief of Staff - Benjamin Lawsky comes from the Attorney General’s office, where he was deputy counselor and special assistant since 2007. Lawsky was general counsel on the Cuomo 2010 campaign. Before that, he was chief counsel to Senator Charles Schumer.

Counsel to the Governor - Mylan L. Denerstein served previously as the executive deputy attorney general for social justice, and before that served in the United States Attorney’s Office, Southern District, as an Assistant US Attorney, and a Deputy Chief. She is the highest-ranking woman and African American in the administration.

Budget Director - This key position is not yet filled. Robert Megna has served as Budget Director since 2009. The Budget Director assists the governor in preparing the Executive Budget, gives fiscal policy advice, and oversees expenditures authorized in the final budget.  

Director of State Operations and Senior Policy Adviser - Howard B. Glaser worked with Cuomo at HUD, as Counselor to the Secretary, Deputy General Counsel and Deputy Assistant Secretary. He was also an aide to former Governor Mario Cuomo. 

Appointments Secretary – Judge Leslie G. Leach was an executive deputy attorney general for the state counsel division and a state Supreme Court justice in Queens. The Appointments Secretary serves as a gatekeeper for many of the staff positions still to be filled by the new administration. 

Gubernatorial Counselor - Andrew Zambelli previously served in the administration of Mario Cuomo as Secretary to the Governor from 1991 to 1994, and served as a campaign pollster to Andrew Cuomo during his campaign.

Special Policy Adviser - Adam Cohen was previously a lecturer at Yale University Law School, and a former member of the editorial board of The New York Times. He has written books on former Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, FDR’s inner circle and the passage of New Deal policies following the Depression, and an inside look at EBay. 

Special Counsel for Public Integrity and Ethics Reform - Jeremy Creelan is the former deputy director of NYU Law School's Brennan Center for Justice, where he developed cases to reform state election laws to protect voters and reduce corruption and advocated for ethics and campaign finance reform. He also published an in-depth analysis of the state Assembly and Senate legislative process. Creelen worked previously for the Southern Poverty Law Center and was an author of an NYU Law school report that has been credited with associating the term "dysfunctional" with state government..

Chief Diversity Officer - Yrthya A. Dinzey-Flores will fill this post, which was created by Governor Paterson in September. She previously worked as Manager at the Toyota USA Foundation and Program Officer for National Philanthropy Programs at Toyota Motor North America. 

Special Assistant to the Governor – Linda Lacewell was special counsel to Cuomo in the Attorney General’s office where she ran the task force on healthcare, and previously worked as a federal prosecutor.

Director of Communications - Richard Bamberger is moving over from his position as Director of Communications under Cuomo in the Attorney General's office. Prior to that, Bamberger worked many years as a television news journalist on shows including Inside Edition.

State Democratic Party Executive Director - Charlie King has a long history with Cuomo, having worked with him at HUD. In 2002, King was Cuomo's running mate in his bid for governor.  

Deputy Secretary for Public Safety - Elizabeth Galzer comes to the position visibly left open in the abrupt resignation in February of Denise O’Donnell after reports that former Governor Paterson had pressured a woman not to press domestic violence charges against an aide. Her resignation was seen as a major blow to Paterson’s chances for reelection. Geltzer brings to the position experience as a prosecutor who once semi-famously convicted two art-thieves who had absconded with Syracuse’s most famous piece of art – the Scarab Vase.


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Comments [6]

Nestor Luis River from Nestor Luis Rivera From Norwalk CT

Dear We Republicans, In a sleep we wake up on find no teachers or student in a very large State lke US,very sad, muy lamentable, in poverty and the necessity Save the Childrens, o the Chamber of Commerce like Sandy Hook Elementary School of Newtown Ct Adam Lanza was kill a day before.Sincerely,Nestor Luis Rivera P.O Box 937 Belden St Norwalk Ct 06852

Sep. 18 2013 03:53 PM

Why is HCR not listed? Please list Darryl Townes.He has serves this state & Has hit the ground running with regard to operating the states top housing agency...

Feb. 28 2012 06:26 PM
gladys Figueroa from Albany

I reported that the office of the State Comptroller had acted illegal during a Civil Rights Case... I reported the problem to your office I never heard from anyone is someone looking into this or is it gone to State space?
In adition, personel information was disclosed, no employees were held accountable what happened to that issue is it also in state space.

Nov. 18 2011 02:59 PM
Eric Johnson Jr. from San Carlos, Arizona

Dear Governor Cuomo;
My name is Eric Johnson Jr., a 55 year old Apache boy from San Carlos, Arizona. Lord layed on my heart to see you and pray with you. I do have a letter to give you also. Is it possible to see you this Monday morning? I am in Albany now. Lord also sented me carry His cross on mainstreet downtown Albany and share Word of God afterwards from back of pickup. God is good. I hope to come to your office this Monday morning. Smile Jesus loves you. God bless you, family, and staff. Philippians 3:13-14.

Mar. 05 2011 10:45 PM
Steve Little from Chittenango, NY

Dear Governor Cuomo:
I am responding to your last letter regarding Education. I am a republican voter, but I agree with what you are doing and encourage you to keep the pressure on for cutting back in wasted spending. I know the Unions are powerful, but money talks or the lack of it! I would rather cut sports and special interests activities and make them available but with parent financial involvement to make it happen. If we parents are not willing to pay for some special activity after school, then it doesn’t happen! Let us form special interest clubs managed and paid for by parents. Otherwise you have millions of dollars spent (Federal or State) on AstroTurf fields for a small group of students that every tax payer has to pay for. Most of us tax payers are angry about this stuff. You hear it all the time at the barber shop, coffee shop and everywhere you turn. Let’s get back to Reading, Writing and Mathematics which is what “Education” is about. Look overseas where “Education” is excelling. They are not sidetracked by all the fluff which is so called “Education”! Let’s get good teachers who motivate students – tenured or not to not babysit students. We have teachers in our family which are frustrated with trying to motivate students who don’t even care. I lived in Brazil for 4 years and students studied hard because if they didn’t apply themselves they would be left behind and not have the opportunities of those who took education seriously. The NO Student Left Behind is not realistic! Let the students know and they make the decision: If you don’t put hard work and time into higher education you will be left behind with a shovel in your hand! No investment will be made in you! This bare truth should be communicated to our student body: Why should tax payers put money and teachers invest time and energy into a person who doesn’t care! A little fear of failure and manual labor never hurt any of us! I totally agree with cutting back on administration costs which seems to be top heavy. I am all for the investment, but put the money where it counts!! We may have a few less students, but they will be motivated and find dignity in the midst of hard work!

Keep fighting the fight – We are cheering you on in Upstate New York!

Steve Little
Chittenango, NY

Feb. 17 2011 08:34 AM

This is a complaint.I think the governor should do something about our property tax installment payments.I's very wrong and very unfair how we are forced to make 2 town and county tax payments in the month of February .O ne doe on the 10th and one due on the 28th.This makes it so hard for some us to put food on the table and heat our homes.I think they should be spread out more to at least let us come up with these outrageuous property tax payments.Like everyone else here my little house keeps decreasing in value but taxex keep rising.I'm seriously considering leaveing NY for good.I hope the gpvernor and Robert Duffy see this comment and to the rest of you,I urge you to file a complaint as well.Maybe our voices will be heard.By the way i voted for Mr Cuomo and Mr Duffy Thnk You Joe

Feb. 08 2011 08:32 AM

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