Cuomo's People: In the Governor's Office

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.