Governor Cuomo announces new administrative appointments
On October 26, 2015 Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the following appointments and recommendations for appointment to the entities indicated.
Benjamin W. Lawsky has been recommended to the City of New Yorkfor appointment as Director of the Trust for Governor’s Island. Mr. Lawsky is currently the Chief Executive Officer of The Lawsky Group, a firm that specializes in helping companies, boards, and individuals manage their most complex, emergent and dynamic challenges. From 2011-2015, Mr. Lawsky was New York State’s Superintendent of Financial Services. Prior to serving as Superintendent of Financial Services, Mr. Lawsky was Governor Cuomo’s Chief of Staff, and before that a senior aide in the New York State Attorney General’s Office. Previously, Mr. Lawsky spent more than five years as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York. He began his career as Chief Counsel to Senator Charles Schumer on the Senate Judiciary Committee and as a Trial Attorney in the Civil Division of the Department of Justice. Mr. Lawsky is a graduate of Columbia Collegeand Columbia Law School.
Josh Vlasto has been appointed as the Governor’s designee to the Cornell University Board of Trustees. Mr. Vlasto is currently a vice president at MacAndrews & Forbes Incorporated. Mr. Vlasto previously served as Chief of Staff to Governor Cuomo and prior to that Deputy Communications Director. From 2004 to 2010, Mr. Vlasto worked for U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, first as Legislative Aide for transportation and homeland security and then Press Secretary 2007 to 2010. Mr. Vlasto graduated from the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations in 2004.
Matthew Wing has been recommended to Empire State Development Corporation for appointment as Director of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation. Mr. Wing is currently the Northeast Communications Lead for Uber where he runs communications for its New Jersey, New York and Connecticut Markets. Prior to joining Uber, Wing served as Governor Cuomo's Press Secretary in his first term and as communications director for his re-election campaign in 2014. Prior to that he served as Communications Director and Deputy Advocate for Communications to then Public Advocate Bill de Blasio. He also briefly worked in the City Council, for the national labor federation Change to Win in support of Barack Obama's 2008 campaign, in the New York Attorney General's Office under then Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and was a Roth Fellow in the New York State Senate. He has a B.A. from Bard College.
Mark Colón has been appointed President and Deputy Commissioner of the Office of Housing Preservation at New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR), after having served as HCR's Deputy Counsel since 2008. Previously, Mr. Colon practiced law as an Associate at Dechert LLP and at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP. Mr. Colon has also clerked for the Honorable Julio M. Fuentes, Third Circuit, U.S. Court of Appeals. He holds a B.A. from Hunter Collegeand a J.D. from Yale Law School, where he was the Managing Editor of the Yale Law and Policy Review.
Nora Yates has been appointed Assistant Deputy Secretary for Human Services. Previously, Ms. Yates served as the Director of the Community, Opportunity & Reinvestment (“CORe”) initiative, which was launched by Governor Cuomo in his 2013 State of the State agenda to enhance the well-being of communities and ensure that all New Yorkers have the opportunity to thrive in a safe and stable community, from a supported childhood to a productive adulthood. Ms. Yates joined the administration as an Empire State Fellow in the Executive Chamber and before the Fellowship, she served as Executive Director of the Pride Centerof the Capital Region and Field Director for the Empire State Pride Agenda, in Albany. Ms. Yates earned an M.S. in Public Administration from Sage Graduate School, and an M.A. and B.A. from the University at Albany.
Benjamin Voce-Gardner has been appointed Assistant Secretary for Public Safety for the Executive Chamber. Previously, Mr. Voce-Gardner served as a Litigation Associate at Zuckerman Spaeder LLP and as an Appellate Prosecutor in the United States Navy's Judge Advocate General's Corps. While in the Navy, he also held positions as Law Clerk for the Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals, and as a Trial Defense Attorney in San Diego. In 2008 he deployed to Baghdad, Iraqin support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Mr. Voce-Gardner holds a J.D. from Boston College Law Schooland a B.A. from Connecticut College.
Colin Brennan has been appointed Press Officer for the Executive Chamber. Mr. Brennan previously worked as a Public Information Officer at the New York State Department of Health and Communications Manager at the New York State Thruway Authority. Mr. Brennan has a B.A. from the University at Albany.
Camonghne Felix has been appointed Speechwriter for the Executive Chamber. Ms. Felix has written for Teen Vogue since March 2015 and has been published by Huffington Post, Poetry Magazine and other publications. She's served as a mentor and facilitator for Urban World NYC since November 2014. Her previous experience includes work as a curriculum specialist with the Harlem Children’s Zone, work as a Campaign Lead at DoSomething.org, and as a research associate and speechwriter for the campaign of Assemblyman Michael Blake. Ms. Felix is pursuing an M.A. in Arts Politics from New York University.