Governor Cuomo Announces Administration Appointments

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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced new appointments to his administration.

"Each of these individuals brings a depth of knowledge and experience that will be an enormous benefit to the people of the state," Governor Cuomo said. "We have a phenomenal team in place and these new additions will play an integral role in advancing our bold, progressive agenda and delivering even more results in the year ahead."

Reuben McDaniel, III has been appointed Acting President and CEO of the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York. Mr. McDaniel has worked for more than 30 years in financial services. Mr. McDaniel previously served as Managing Director for the financial services firm Raymond James. In 2011 he founded RM Capital Management, Inc., a registered investment advisory firm that managed more than $50 million in assets. Mr. McDaniel also served as a Chairman of the Atlanta Public School Board, where he led a diverse group of constituents and served as a voice for the community of parents. Mr. McDaniel also brought Maynard Jackson's investment firm, Jackson Securities, LLC, to national prominence as the President and CEO for more than 11 years. Mr. McDaniel holds a Bachelor's degree in Economics and Mathematics from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and a Master's degree in Finance from the University of Texas at Austin.

Joseph Rabito has been appointed Executive Deputy Secretary to the Governor. Mr. Rabito previously served as interim Chief Information Officer at the State Office of Information Technology Services, Deputy Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs and as Deputy Director of State Operations. In February 2011, Governor Cuomo appointed Mr. Rabito as Executive Deputy Commissioner at the New York State Office of General Services. Before joining OGS, Mr. Rabito was Deputy Commissioner for Community Development at New York Homes and Community Renewal. Prior to his appointment at HCR, Mr. Rabito served as Commissioner of Development & Planning for the City of Albany, and in the federal government for then Secretary Andrew Cuomo at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Norman Birenbaum has been appointed Director of Cannabis Programs. Mr. Birenbaum previously served as the Implementation Director for the Rhode Island Office of Cannabis Regulation, where he oversaw the regulation, administration and enforcement of the state's medical marijuana and industrial hemp programs. Mr. Birenbaum also served on Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo's staff where he worked on enacting reforms to the state's medical marijuana program and was the chief architect of the administration's efforts to legalize marijuana for adult use. Mr. Birenbaum is a leading coordinator of the Regulators Roundtable - a biannual convening of state, provincial and territorial cannabis regulators from the United States and Canada that allows cannabis regulators to share emerging trends in cannabis legalization and develop best practices in cannabis policy and regulation. Mr. Birenbaum holds a Bachelor's degree in Political Science from Boston College.

Kelli Owens has been appointed Executive Director of the State's Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence. Ms. Owens joins the agency after serving as the Governor's Director of Women's Affairs since 2017. Before joining the administration, Ms. Owens was the Vice President of External Affairs for Family Planning Advocates/Planned Parenthood Advocates of New York. Prior to joining Planned Parenthood, she served as the Public Policy Director for the YWCAs of the Northeast. Ms. Owens holds a Bachelor's degree in Political Science and Government from Utica College of Syracuse University and has done graduate work at the Maxwell School at Syracuse University.

Emily Kadar has been appointed Director of Women's Affairs. Ms. Kadar previously spent seven years at the National Institute for Reproductive Health and NIRH Action Fund, most recently as Senior Manager of Political and Government Affairs. In that role, she advocated for NIRH's New York policy agenda and worked to secure passage of the Reproductive Health Act in 2019. Ms. Kadar formerly served on the federal government relations team at the Center for Reproductive Rights and organized young activists at the Feminist Majority Foundation. Ms. Kadar holds a Bachelor's degree in Politics and History from Brandeis University.

Rebecca Wood has been appointed Deputy Special Counsel to the Governor. Ms. Wood previously served as General Counsel and Legislative Director for the New York State Trial Lawyers Association, where she crafted legislative memoranda in support and opposition to legislation and budget provisions, including proposals impacting patient safety, healthcare, medical indemnity and malpractice proposals, and other civil liability issues. Ms. Wood also served as First Assistant Counsel to the New York Senate Majority for over two years, where she drafted and negotiated legislation with the Executive and Assembly, including creation of the New York Paid Family Leave program, minimum wage increase, Workers Compensation reform, and Buy American provisions to promote domestic manufacturing. Ms. Wood holds a Juris Doctor from Albany Law School, an MBA from Union Graduate College, and a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration and Political Science from SUNY Albany.

Jillian Faison has been appointed Assistant Counsel for Human Services. Most recently, Ms. Faison served as the Director of Legislation and Intergovernmental Affairs at the New York State Office of Children and Family Services, where she was responsible for the agency's intergovernmental affairs statewide in the areas of child care, juvenile justice, child welfare and adult protective services. Ms. Faison also previously served as the Director of New York State Governmental Affairs for Housing Works, where she worked to secure the implementation of Governor Cuomo's Ending the Epidemic blueprint to eliminate the HIV epidemic in the state by 2020. As an assistant county attorney for Albany County, she created "Project Growth" to help juvenile offenders pay restitution to the victims of their crimes while learning vocational skills, and as a Senior Legislative Representative for the United Federation of Teachers, Ms. Faision helped win paid family leave and a $15 minimum wage. Ms. Faison holds a Bachelor's degree in Political Science from SUNY Albany and a Juris Doctor from Penn State Dickinson School of Law.

Paul Midey has been appointed Assistant Counsel for Transportation. Mr. Midey served six years as Counsel in the New York State Senate, working as Senior Counsel in the Office of Majority Counsel and Program for one of those years. In the Senate, Mr. Midey negotiated the passage and implementation of major legislative policy initiatives, including the extension and reform of the Brownfield Cleanup Program, the $2.5 billion Clean Water Infrastructure Act and the $830 million Metropolitan Transportation Authority NYC Subway Action Plan. Mr. Midey holds a Bachelor's degree in Political Science and a Juris Doctor from Syracuse University.

Craig Herskowitz has been appointed Assistant Counsel to the Governor for Taxation and Financial Services. Mr. Herskowitz brings more than 12 years of legal experience in the private and public sectors, focusing on federal litigation, compliance, financial investigations and asset forfeiture. Previously, Mr. Herskowitz served as an attorney in the Criminal Division at the U.S. Department of Justice. In his roles at the Narcotic & Dangerous Drug Section and the Asset Forfeiture & Money Laundering Section, Mr. Herskowitz's cases included the prosecution of drug traffickers and helping victims of crime recover financial losses, such as those defrauded in the Madoff Ponzi scheme and Enron scandal. He began his career as an attorney in the Legal Forfeiture Unit of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Mr. Herskowitz has also worked in the Global Financial Crimes Compliance Division at JPMorgan Chase. Mr. Herskowitz holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications, Legal Institutions, Economics and Government from American University and a Juris Doctorate from Quinnipiac University School of Law.

Joshua Norkin has been appointed Assistant Counsel for Housing and Civil Rights. Mr. Norkin brings a background in housing, immigration and issues related to criminal law reform. Most recently, Mr. Norkin worked for the Legal Aid Society's Special Litigation Unit, where he served as the founder and Project Coordinator for the Decarceration Project, a nationally recognized model for advocacy and winner of the American Bar Association's 2017 Exemplary Indigent Defense Project Recognition. Mr. Norkin previously served as Associate Appellate Counsel for the Legal Aid Society's Criminal Appeals Bureau, and as Staff Attorney for the Legal Aid Society's Criminal Defense Practice in the Bronx trial office. Mr. Norkin holds a Bachelor's degree in World History/Political Science from SUNY Albany and a Juris Doctorate from Sturm College of Law, Denver University.

Jill Starishevsky has been appointed Assistant Counsel for Public Safety. Prior to joining the Chamber, Ms. Starishevsky served as a Senior Trial Assistant for the Bronx County District Attorney's Office. Over her two decades in the Bronx, Ms. Starishevsky prosecuted thousands of cases and dedicated her career to seeking justice for victims of child abuse and sex crimes. She lectured extensively and authored 'My Body Belongs to Me', a children's book and animated video that educates 3 to 8-year-olds about child sexual abuse prevention. Ms. Starishevsky holds a Bachelor's degree from the University of Massachusetts and a Juris Doctor from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.

Valerie Lubanko has been appointed Assistant Counsel for Local Government. Prior to this appointment, Ms. Lubanko served as the New York State Executive Chamber FOIL Counsel.  In this capacity she processed, reviewed and managed FOIL requests submitted to the Executive Chamber, and presented legal recommendations to members of the Executive Chamber regarding the New York State Public Officers Law. Ms. Lubanko also served as the First Assistant Corporation Counsel for the City of Albany for three years, and as an Assistant Town Attorney for the Town of Colonie for two years. Ms. Lubanko holds a Bachelor's degree in English from Mount Holyoke College and a Juris Doctor from Albany Law School.

Jane Wiesenberg has been appointed Policy Advisor for Economic Development. Ms. Wiesenberg previously served as the Director of Scheduling for New Jersey Senator Cory Booker. Prior to that, Ms. Wiesenberg served as a Public Finance Analyst at Citigroup, where she developed bond structuring models for municipal issuer clients and assisted in developing cash flow models for Tobacco Settlement Securitization transactions relating to the Master Settlement Agreement. Ms. Wiesenberg holds a Bachelor's degree in Government from Colby College.

Benning DeLaMater has been appointed Deputy Communications Director for Public Safety. Mr. DeLaMater previously served as a Public Information Officer at NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, a Professional Media Lecturer at the University at Albany and a newspaper reporter at several dailies across New York and Massachusetts. Mr. DeLaMater earned a Bachelor's degree in History from SUNY Albany and a Master's degree in Print Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.

Kyle Kotary has been appointed Deputy Communications Director for Health and Mental Hygiene. Mr. Kotary most recently served as CFO for Hospice & Palliative Care Inc. and previously as Director of External Affairs, Outreach and Marketing at New York State of Health. Mr. Kotary has spent nearly three decades in senior roles at federal, state and local levels of government. Mr. Kotary earned a Bachelor's degree in Government and Economics from Hamilton College and a Master in Public Administration degree from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University.