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This Week in New York State Government

Governor:

Governor Cuomo Announces $26 Million Revitalization of Historic Schenectady Building

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the grand opening of 845 Commons, a $26.2 million affordable housing development that provides 155 homes and support services for formerly homeless men, including veterans and those with disabilities. The project is the renovation of a historic, dilapidated industrial building at 845 Broadway into state-of-the-art, energy-efficient apartments.

Governor Cuomo Announces Grand Opening of Bak USA LLC’s New Global Headquarters in Buffalo

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the grand opening of the new global headquarters of Bak USA LLC, one of the inaugural businesses to participate in START-UP NY, located on Buffalo’s East Side. The high-tech company, which is one of the first American firms to produce its own-branded electronic tablets, is located at Compass East and covers 10,000 square feet of space on the top floor of the former site of Sheehan Memorial Hospital at 425 Michigan Avenue.

Governor Cuomo to Nominate Justice Eugene M. Fahey to Serve on the New York State Court of Appeals

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that he will nominate Justice Eugene M. Fahey to serve on the New York State Court of Appeals, the State’s highest court. Justice Fahey, a lifelong resident of Buffalo, is currently an Associate Justice of the Appellate Division (Fourth Judicial Department) of the New York State Supreme Court. Justice Fahey’s nomination follows 20 years of service as a New York State justice or judge. He received the highest possible rating from seven different bar and legal associations that considered him as a potential nominee to the Court of Appeals. In addition to his extensive experience serving the New York State court system, he practiced as a trial attorney and served as a member of the Buffalo Common Council for a number of years.

Governor Cuomo Announces the Second Part of his “2015 Opportunity Agenda: Restoring Economic Opportunity”

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo presented the second part of his “2015 Opportunity Agenda” – a $1.5 billion Upstate New York Economic Revitalization Competition to help continue to restore economic opportunity to regions across Upstate New York.

This competition will replicate the successful Buffalo Billion initiative, a program that focused on jumpstarting the economy of the entire Western New York region. The proposed competition uses the Buffalo Billion’s proven model to deliver results and drive community revitalization, job growth, and population sustainability across upstate New York.

Governor Cuomo Announces the First Part of his “2015 Opportunity Agenda: Restoring Economic Opportunity”

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo presented the second part of his “2015 Opportunity Agenda” – a $1.5 billion Upstate New York Economic Revitalization Competition to help continue to restore economic opportunity to regions across Upstate New York.

This competition will replicate the successful Buffalo Billion initiative, a program that focused on jumpstarting the economy of the entire Western New York region. The proposed competition uses the Buffalo Billion’s proven model to deliver results and drive community revitalization, job growth, and population sustainability across upstate New York.

Governor Cuomo Announces New Human Trafficking Awareness Efforts

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced new efforts to combat human trafficking and provide help to survivors as they reintegrate safely into their community. This crime affects more than 1,000 children in New York each year, and it is estimated that nearly 18,000 people are brought into the United States annually for the same purpose. The Governor also proclaimed January as Human Trafficking Awareness Month, and unveiled a new poster that lists possible trafficking red flags and a free, confidential hotline.

Governor Cuomo Announces a Third Wave of Administration Appointments

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced a second wave of appointments to his administration. Fifteen individuals will be joining the administration, adding to the 18 appointments announced yesterday, to help advance the Governor’s bold second term agenda.

The Governor will nominate the following six individuals for appointments requiring Senate confirmation:

  • Howard Zemsky to serve as President and CEO of Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) and Commissioner of Economic Development.
  • Kenneth Adams to serve as Commissioner of the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance.
  • Carol Robles-Román to serve on the Board of Trustees of the State University of New York (SUNY).
  • Joanie Mahoney to serve as Chair of the Board of the State Thruway Authority.
  • Thomas Hoover to serve as Chairman of the State Athletic Commission.
  • Hilda Rosario Escher to serve as member of the Board of the Urban Development Corporation.

The Governor made the following nine appointments to the Executive Chamber:

  • John Maggiore has been appointed Director of Policy.
  • Katie Codey will serve as Deputy Director of Policy.
  • Leslea Snyder has been appointed Deputy Director of Legislative Affairs.
  • Terence O’Leary has been appointed Deputy Secretary for Public Safety.
  • R. Nadine Fontaine has been appointed Assistant Counsel to the Governor with a focus on Human Services.
  • Julia Pinover Kupiec has been appointed Assistant Counsel to the Governor with a focus on Housing.
  • Angela Sherrer has been appointed Assistant Counsel to the Governor with a focus on Public Safety.
  • Anna Adams-Sarthou has been appointed Deputy Press Secretary.
  • Sandy Castor has been appointed Program Associate for Transportation.

Governor Cuomo Announces “2015 New York State of Opportunity Agenda” to be Unveiled on January 21

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that the 2015-16 Executive Budget will be released and presented together with the 2015 State of the State Address. The 2015 New York State of Opportunity Agenda will be presented by Governor Cuomo on Wednesday, January 21, 2015 at 1:30 p.m. in the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany to members of the Legislature and to the people of New York State. The January 21st release of the combined State of the State and Executive Budget will expedite the process of legislative budget hearings, giving the Executive and Legislature additional time ahead of the March 31st deadline.

Governor Cuomo Announces $36 Million to Accelerate Development of Stem Cell-Based Disease Cures

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced $36 million has been awarded to three research groups for the development of treatments for some of the most devastating conditions that could be helped with stem cell research. The new round of funding, administered by New York State Stem Cell Science Program, features the following three awards:

  • $15.7 million to researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College for the development of a cure for Sickle-Cell Anemia by enabling the genetic modification of a patient’s own blood stem cells. The funding will help the doctors at Weill Cornell take the necessary steps so that first-in-human clinical trials may begin.
  • $11.9 million is being provided to the Roswell Park Cancer Institute which is working on a project to re-engineer adult stem cells derived from blood to target ovarian cancer. By infusing these re-engineered cells into cancer patients, doctors hope to trigger the patients’ immune systems to develop a continuous source of anti-cancer immune cells that will provide sustained attack against ovarian cancer.
  • $8.8 million has been awarded to the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai for its continued development of a process to increase the number of stem cells collected in cord blood collections. Blood stem cell transplantation has proven to be the only potential therapy available for most patients with blood cancers that do not respond to chemotherapy, as well as patients with genetic disorders involving blood cells. To obtain blood stem cells for transplant, doctors use cord blood collections, which contain only limited numbers of stem cells. Mount Sinai researchers have developed a method to increase the number of collected stem cells 35-fold and is looking to move ahead to clinical trials.

Governor Cuomo Announces a Second Wave of Administration Appointments

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced a third wave of appointments to his administration. Twenty-five individuals will be joining the administration, adding to the 15 appointments announced yesterday and the 18 appointments announced Sunday. These additional Term Two appointments will bring new perspectives to the administration.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced a third wave of appointments to his administration. Twenty-five individuals will be joining the administration, adding to the 15 appointments announced yesterday and the 18 appointments announced Sunday. These additional Term Two appointments will bring new perspectives to the administration.

The Governor will nominate the following eight individuals for appointments requiring Senate confirmation:

  • William Thompson to serve as Chair of the New York State Housing Finance Agency (HFA) and the State of New York Mortgage Agency (SONYMA).
  • Dennis Rosen to serve as Medicaid Inspector General.
  • Howard Zucker to serve as Commissioner of the State Department of Health.
  • John Melville to serve as Commissioner of New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services.
  • Roberto Velez to serve as Commissioner of the Office of Children and Family Services.
  • Anthony J. Picente, Jr. to serve as a Trustee of the New York Power Authority (NYPA).
  • Floyd Flake to serve as a member of the Public Service Commission.
  • Bethaida Gonzalez to serve as a member of the Board of the State of New York Mortgage Agency (SONYMA).

The Governor made the following four appointments to the Executive Chamber:

  • Adam Spence has been appointed Assistant Secretary for Economic Development and Innovation.
  • Tamara Dews has been appointed Senior Policy Advisor for Economic Development.
  • Kara Allen has been appointed to the role of Assistant Secretary for Energy.
  • Peter Walke has been appointed Assistant Secretary for the Environment. .

The Governor announced the following 13 appointments:

Empire State Development

  • Lourdes Zapata has been appointed Executive Director of the Division of Minority and Women’s Business Development.
  • Nicole Stent has been appointed Deputy Director of Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprises.
  • Carey Gabay has been appointed First Deputy Counsel.
  • Jackie Snyder has been appointed Special Advisor for Infrastructure.
  • Linda Sun has been appointed Global New York Trade Manager.

Office of Children and Family Services

  • Suzanne Miles has been appointed Deputy Commissioner for Legal Affairs and General Counsel.

New York State Office of Homes and Community Renewal

  • Catie Marshall has been appointed Deputy Commissioner for Policy and Communications.

Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance

  • Sharon Devine has been appointed Executive Deputy Commissioner.

Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services

  • Kevin Wisely has been appointed Deputy Director Office of Emergency Management for Field Operations.
  • Frank Hoare has been appointed General Counsel.

Thruway Authority

  • Matthew Howard has been appointed Chief Financial Officer.

Environmental Facilities Corporation

  • Suzanne Beddoe has been appointed Senior Vice President and General Counsel.

Department of Labor

  • Melissa R. Quesada has been appointed Director of Outreach, Governor’s Unemployment Strike Force.

Department of Health

  • Sally Dreslin, M.S., R.N. has been appointed Executive Deputy Commissioner.

Governor Cuomo Announces Administration Appointments

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced a number of appointments to his administration. The individuals being announced build on an already diverse and talented team committed to furthering the Governor’s bold reform agenda, and they bring a wide variety of backgrounds and expertise to service in state government.

  • Bill Mulrow has been appointed Secretary to the Governor.
  • Patricia Gatling has been appointed Deputy Secretary for Civil Rights.
  • Linda Lacewell has been appointed Counselor to the Governor.
  • Alphonso B. David will be appointed Counsel on April 1 – he will succeed Seth Agata, who will serve as Counsel to the Governor until that time.
  • Mary Beth Labate has been appointed Budget Director for the New York State Division of the Budget (DOB).
  • Melissa DeRosa has been appointed Director of Communications and Strategic Advisor to the Governor.
  • Rick Cotton has been appointed Special Counsel for Interagency Initiatives.
  • Donald Carey will be nominated to serve as a member of the Board of Trustees of the State University of New York (SUNY).
  • Bob Megna has been appointed as Acting Executive Director of the New York State Thruway Authority.
  • John P.L. Kelly has been appointed Press Secretary.
  • Beth DeFalco has been appointed Deputy Director of Communications for Transportation.
  • Frank Sobrino has been appointed Deputy Director of Communications for New York City.
  • Andrew S. Kennedy has been appointed Deputy Director of State Operations for Policy.
  • Matthew J. Millea has been appointed Deputy Director of State Operations for Administration.
  • Joseph Rabito has been appointed Deputy Director of State Operations for Programs.
  • Tracie M. Gardner has been appointed Assistant Secretary of Health.
  • Kamilah Smith has been appointed Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security.
  • Kisha Santiago-Martinez has been appointed Assistant Secretary for Housing.

Comptroller:

Comptroller DiNapoli Audit Highlights Need for Better Compliance with School Violence Reporting Law

The State Education Department (SED) has agreed to improve its enforcement of the Safe Schools Against Violence in Education Act (SAVE Act) after a state audit found schools failed to report numerous cases of violent and disruptive incidents and misclassified dozens of others, often as less serious events, State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli said. The SAVE Act requires SED, school districts and individual schools to take steps toward providing a safe learning environment for students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. Under the act, public school districts must develop district-wide school safety plans and codes of conduct, and develop emergency response plans for each building.

To comply with the SAVE Act, SED requires that every public school in the state compile a record of each reportable violent or disruptive incident that occurs on school property. Schools submit an annual summary of these incidents, called the Violent and Disruptive Incident Report, or VADIR, to their district office. The summary must include a count of the violent and disruptive incidents by category that occurred during the prior school year as well as details about the incidents.

Comptroller DiNapoli: Special Education Providers Shortchanging Special Needs Children

Audits of special education providers across New York state have uncovered a disturbing pattern of mismanagement that cost taxpayers nearly $42 million in the last decade, including $20 million in 2014 alone, according to a report released today by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. In conjunction with the report, DiNapoli released 11 new audits that identified more than $6.7 million in public funds that special education providers misspent or misused, including cases of possible fraud that have been referred to law enforcement for further investigation.

About 81,000 preschool students with disabilities receive Special Education Itinerant Teacher (SEIT) services in New York annually at a cost of more than $1.4 billion to the state and localities, according to the State Education Department (SED). Unlike in other states, preschool special education services in New York are predominantly provided by for-profit and not-for-profit private contractors rather than the school districts themselves.

 

Attorney General:

Attorney General Schneiderman Sues To Protect Affordable Homeownership For Tenants Of Washington Heights Housing Cooperative

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman filed a lawsuit in New York Supreme Court seeking judicial dissolution of a housing cooperative that is meant to promote homeownership, but is instead acting exclusively as a rental building, depriving tenants of the protections they would otherwise be entitled to under rent stabilization law. The suit was filed against Ft. George Apt. Corp. and its shareholders, affiliated entities Fort George Property, LLC, Fort George Realty, LLC, and NY Tryon Realty LLC, and claims that the housing cooperative is nothing more than a residential rental building hiding behind the corporate form of a cooperative. The Attorney General’s lawsuit seeks to prevent any further irreparable harm from taking place against the tenants living at the building.

Attorney General Schneiderman Proposes Bill To Strengthen Data Security Laws, Protect Consumers From Growing Threat Of Data Breaches

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced that he would propose legislation in Albany to overhaul New York State’s data security law and require new and unprecedented safeguards for the personal data of consumers. Currently, New York State does not have a law directly requiring entities to institute data security ‎measures to protect consumer information. Moreover, in the event of a data breach or unauthorized disclosure, companies are merely required to notify affected individuals if “private information” is compromised—which does not include email addresses and passwords, security questions, medical history and health insurance information, among other categories. Attorney General Schneiderman’s bill would broaden the scope of information that companies would be responsible for protecting; require stronger technical and physical security measures for protecting information; and create a safe harbor for companies who meet certain security standards, incentivizing them to adopt tough measures to protect personal data.

Attorney General Schneiderman Joins Facebook In Announcing New System To Help Find Missing Children

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman joined Facebook in announcing a new system to help finding missing children by revolutionizing the way AMBER Alerts are delivered. In partnership with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Facebook’s new distribution system will send AMBER Alerts to people’s News Feed if they are in the targeted search area after a child has been abducted. This step is just the latest by Facebook to ensure public safety on its platform, following its agreement with Attorney General Schneiderman last year to implement safeguards to prevent the illegal sale of firearms on its site.

Attorney General Schneiderman Announces Court Order Barring Developers From Clearing Tenants From Upper West Side Apartment Building

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced a court order that bars Newcastle Realty Services, LLC, 101 West 78th Street LLC and Margaret Streicker Porres from moving forward with plans to convert an occupied residential rental building at 101 West 78th Street into condominiums, pending a fraud investigation. The Attorney General is investigating allegations of fraud in the offering of condominium units at the Upper West Side property, including allegations that the developers submitted a fraudulent offering plan to the Attorney General’s Office, distributed the false plan to tenants at the building, made false filings with the City’s Department of Buildings, and wrongfully entered into buyout agreements with tenants to induce them to vacate their apartments during the conversion process.

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