This Week in New York State Government



Governor Cuomo Announces $165 Million Revitalization of Central Brooklyn Hospital Corridor with Affordable and Supportive Housing

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the start of construction of CAMBA Gardens Apartments Phase II, following the completion and occupancy of Phase I on the Kings County Hospital campus, revitalizing the Brooklyn hospital corridor. When Phase II is completed, the $165 million development will include a mix of 502 affordable and supportive housing units, providing housing to low-income residents and advancing better health outcomes for high-need Medicaid clients.

The Governor created the Medicaid Redesign Team to identify better protocols in managing the chronic conditions of more than 4,000 Medicaid clients. The MRT was able to rein in runaway spending on costly Medicaid expenditures such as expensive emergency-room visits, and ultimately located $34.3 billion in taxpayer savings. Through the MRT, the state has invested $260 million of Medicaid savings in supportive housing over the last three years.

Governor Cuomo Announces Administration Education Appointments

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced new education appointments within the administration, building on the administration’s diverse team to achieve the Governor’s bold education reform agenda.

Elana Sigall serves as Deputy Secretary for Education. An attorney, professor and former teacher, Ms. Sigall previously served as Chief Policy Officer of Division of Students with Disabilities and English Language Learners at the New York City Department of Education, where she designed, launched, led and managed a number of new offices and programs and oversaw their hundreds of employees. She is currently an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s Teachers College and at Columbia University School of Law. She also has held a number of public and private sector education policy and legal counsel positions for more than two decades. Ms. Sigall earned her A.B. from Princeton University and J.D. from Harvard Law School.

Jay Quaintance serves as Assistant Secretary for Education. With 20 years of teaching and administration policy experience in higher education, Mr. Quaintance most recently served at the State University of New York as Assistant Vice Chancellor and Assistant Provost for Community College Policy and Planning and, previously, as Assistant Vice Chancellor for Community Colleges. In these roles, he provided system support to the 30 SUNY community colleges for the implementation of the SUNY strategic plan, including coordinating efforts to advance many of SUNY’s critical initiatives to ensure student access, completion and success. His policy work focused on improving outcomes of college readiness, reducing remediation, and workforce and workplace development as well as academic program review and alignment. Mr. Quaintance has an M.A. in Rhetoric and the Teaching of Writing and a B.A. in English from New Mexico State University as well as a certificate in Basic Mediation from Albany Law School.

Paola Therasse serves as a Program Associate for Education. Ms. Therasse most recently served as a general and special education teacher within the New York City Department of Education, responsible for designing, planning and implementing English Language Arts, math, reading and social studies lessons for groups of varying skill levels based on Common Core State Standards. She also developed, wrote and implemented Individualized Education Programs for children identified as special needs students. Additionally, Ms. Therasse has held a number of public sector jobs, having worked for the New York State Senate Finance Committee and the New York State Assembly Corrections Committee. She received a M.S. in Education from Mercy College and a M.A and B.A. in Criminal Justice from SUNY Albany.

Governor Cuomo: Economic Development Awards Set for Dec. 10

The following piece was authored by Capital New York reporter Jimmy Vielkind

Governor Andrew Cuomo will announce funding awarded through the state’s 10 regional economic development councils at a ceremony Dec. 10 in Albany, according to an invitation to the event.

The ceremony will be held The Egg in Albany at 10:30 a.m. The administration had considered announcing the awards before the election and council members this year prepared their progress reports on an expedited schedule.

Attorney General Schneiderman & Commissioner Bratton Announce Takedown Of Brooklyn-Based Gun Trafficking Ring

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and New York City Police Commissioner William J. Bratton announced the takedown of a high-volume gun trafficking ring that allegedly funneled firearms from Florida to New York City, often beneath Chinatown buses.  According to the 196-count felony indictment made public today, the investigative team seized more than 70 illegal guns bought at gun shows in Florida, many of which were then resold in New York for up to four times their original price. As a result of the investigation, known as “Operation Midnight Run,” eight members of the ring were charged today with numerous counts of conspiracy, criminal possession and criminal sale of firearms. If convicted, seven of the eight defendants face up to 25 years in prison.

Attorney General Schneiderman Enlists New York’s Colleges And Universities To Combat Grandparent Scam

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman asked New York’s colleges and universities to help combat the so-called “grandparent scam,” where perpetrators impersonate relatives in need and then dupe unsuspecting seniors into sending them money. The scam involves a call to a senior citizen in which the caller impersonates a grandchild claiming to be in serious trouble and asks the unsuspecting grandparent to wire money immediately. The Federal Trade Commission recorded more than 40,000 incidents of grandparent scams from 2010 to 2013 and the scam is widely considered to be underreported.

In the letter sent Wednesday to the presidents and deans of 86 SUNY and CUNY schools and an open letter to the administration of New York’s private institutions, the Attorney General warns that the grandparent scam tends to increase in frequency during school breaks, like the upcoming December/January vacation, when it is especially believable that a grandchild would be traveling. Often, the scammer will pose as a grandchild in college, claiming to be in legal trouble or even physical danger.

Attorney General:

Attorney General Schneiderman Announces Agreements With NYC Building Owners That Return More Than $460,000 In Back Wages To Workers and Enforces Rent Regulations For Those Taking Property Tax Incentives

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman  announced four settlements with a landlord and three developers who received lucrative tax incentives from New York City under the state’s “421-a” program, which is aimed at encouraging development, but who failed to comply with the program’s prevailing wage and rent-stabilization requirements. The settlements return more than $460,ooo in unpaid wages to about a dozen building workers at two buildings. They require that nearly two dozen apartments in four buildings be added to the state’s rent regulation registry. They also provide more than $150,000 in restitution to New York City.

“Tax breaks offered to developers and landlords are not freebies. They come with legal obligations to New York taxpayers – ones that developers and landlords agree to abide by when they accept the tax incentives,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “My office is dedicated to ensuring that everyone plays by the rules. In this case that means holding accountable those who accept lucrative tax exemptions and then ignore their responsibilities, including paying required wages to building service employees and providing rent-stabilized leases to New York families.”

These agreements are the first to come out of an ongoing investigation by the Attorney General’s Office into property developers and landlords who accept the incentives but fail to live up to legal requirements mandated by the program. Tax dollars recovered from the investigation will go to New York City’s newly established “Affordable Housing – AG Settlement Fund,” and be used by the city’s Department of Housing Preservation & Development to fund housing developments for low income families. New York State enacted Section 421-a of the Real Property Tax Law to spur housing development and affordable housing.

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