Administrative Appointments Announced on January 15, 2015
David Perino, Esq. has been appointed assistant counsel to the Governor with a focus on legislative matters. Prior to this role, Mr. Perino served as special counsel at the New York State Legislative Bill Drafting Commission. Before that, he was a special prosecutor for the City of Watervliet. Mr. Perino was also assistant corporation counsel for the City of Cohoes Corporation Counsel’s Office and performed assigned counsel work for the New York State Appellate Division – Third Department. He holds a J.D. from Albany Law School of Union University and a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.
Terrance Pratt, Esq. has been named assistant counsel to the Governor with a focus on education. Mr. Pratt previously served as assistant director for government relations with the New York State Council of School Superintendents. Mr. Pratt has also worked as an associate attorney at Malkin & Ross, providing legal services to a diverse client group on a wide range of critical policy issues. Prior to that, Mr. Pratt served as counsel to former New York State Assemblyman Pete Grannis and the Assembly Insurance Committee. In 2007, Mr. Pratt served as an assistant counsel at the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Mr. Pratt holds a J.D. from Albany Law Schooland a B.A. from Monmouth University.
Rosemary J. Powers has been appointed deputy director of state operations for programs. Ms. Powers previously served as chief operating officer of the New York State Department of Transportation where she was responsible for regional office functions, all statewide business service initiatives and the Office of Right of Way. Ms. Powers has held a variety of positions in state and local government, including deputy chief of staff in the Office of Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. In this position, Ms. Powers was a lead strategist for Governor Patrick, providing advice and counsel to him and many other senior members of the Patrick Administration. Achievements included enactment of the Transportation Finance Reform bill, groundbreaking legislation related to controlling the cost of health care and proposals to address youth and gun violence. Prior to that, Ms. Powers served as both chief of staff at the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and as government affairs director for the Department of Conservation and Recreation. Ms. Powers received her B.A. from Suffolk Universityand an M.P.A. from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Brenda Torres has been appointed assistant secretary for the environment. Ms. Torres most recently served as director of the Northeast Regional Office in the Unites States for the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration. In that role, Ms. Torres managed and coordinated community service programs for more than 3 million people living in the Tri-State region; and represented the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico before federal, state and local governments on issues related to infrastructure, health care, and economic development. Ms. Torres has also served as a consultant for El Puente where she helped develop two major sustainability initiatives. Prior to that, Ms. Torres was the executive director of Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society in California, and the San Juan Bay National Estuary Program in Puerto Rico. Ms. Torres is a LEED AP and holds a masters in environmental management from Yale University. She has also completed a certificate executive program for nonprofit leaders at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business and finished her B.S. in Environmental Sciences at the University of Puerto Rico.
Andrew Ball has been appointed director of scheduling for Governor Cuomo. Previously, Mr. Ball served as confidential assistant to the Governor where he coordinated many aspects of the Governor’s travel and schedule, including helping manage advance and logistical operations for public events statewide. Mr. Ball joined the Cuomo administration in 2011 as special assistant for legislative and intergovernmental affairs, where he served as a liaison between local elected officials and the administration, including addressing constituent issues and facilitating coordination between legislative members and state agencies. A Long Island native, Mr. Ball graduated from Syracuse Universityin 2010.
Reid Sims has been appointed deputy director of Executive Chamber operations. Mr. Sims previously served as an operations coordinator for the New York State Executive Chamber, where he oversaw advance and event operations for the Governor. Mr. Sims previously worked on Governor Cuomo’s 2010 gubernatorial campaign. Mr. Sims holds a B.A. in political science from the City University of New York.
Camille Joseph Varlack, Esq. has been appointed deputy director for ethics, risk and compliance in the Executive Chamber. Until recently, Ms. Varlack was special counsel to the superintendent of the Department of Financial Services for ethics, risk and compliance. In her new role, Ms. Varlack will coordinate the Governor's statewide ethics, risk and compliance program across agencies and authorities, working with the state's chief risk officer. She will continue to directly advise the superintendent of the Department of Financial Services. Ms. Varlack previously served as a principal law clerk for the New York State Supreme Court and assistant vice president and counsel at AXA Financial, Inc. Ms. Varlack has also served as an assistant district attorney for the Kings County District Attorney’s Office, legal assistant in the law department of News Corporation and an investigative assistant for the New York State Attorney General. Ms. Varlack holds a B.A. from the State University of New York at Buffaloand a J.D. from Brooklyn Law School.
Kevin Amien Younis has been appointed chief operating officer for Empire State Development. Mr. Younis has worked for ESD for the past nine years – serving in a variety of high-level positions, including executive vice president of public policy, planning and incentives; senior vice president for government affairs and regional president; vice president for intergovernmental and legislative affairs; and director of state legislative affairs. Prior to that, Mr. Younis was policy director for the Civil Service Employees Association and chief of staff to former New York State Assemblyman David Koon. Mr. Younis holds a certificate in trade union management and leadership from Harvard University, an M.P.A. from Nelson A. Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy and B.A. from SUNY Cortland.
Maria Lehman has been appointed chief operating officer for the New York State Thruway Authority where she is currently the interim director of maintenance and operations. While at the Thruway, Ms. Lehman served as the program manager for New York Stateon the Peace Bridge, and the project director for risk management and project controls on the new New York Bridgeover the Hudson. Before working in state government, Ms. Lehman was the vice president and corporate business sector lead for transportation at Bergmann Associates, and the corporate director for quality assurance at URS Corporation. She has also served as the commissioner of public works for Erie County, New York. Ms. Lehman holds a B.S. in civil engineering from SUNY Buffalo and is a licensed professional engineer in several states.
Lindsey Boylan has been appointed chief of staff at the Empire State Development, after previously serving as the vice president of business development. Prior to her time at ESD, Ms. Boylan was the vice president of RBC Capital Markets. She has also held a number of roles at the Bryant Park Corporation, including director of business affairs, associate director of operations and operations manager. Ms. Boylan has also served as a project manager for Alex Garvin & Associates, a planning and consulting firm. Ms. Boylan holds an M.B.A from Columbia Universityand a B.A. in Political Science from Wellesley College.
Richard J. Zahnleuter, Esq. has been appointed general counsel at the New York State Department of Health, where he recently served as acting general counsel. Mr. Zahnleuter has held multiple roles at the Department of Health over the past 15 years, including director of the Bureau of Litigation and associate counsel for the Bureau of Professional Medical Conduct. Mr. Zahnleuter was a trial attorney in the private sector between 1989 and 1999, served as deputy special counsel to Governor Mario Cuomo for four years, and was an attorney with the Department of Health from 1981 to 1985. Mr Zahnleuter holds a J.D. from Albany Law Schooland a B.S. in Biology from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry at Syracuse University.
Karen M. Hunter has been appointed Chief of Staff at the New York State Thruway Authority, after previously serving as interim executive director. Prior to that, Ms. Hunter served as Director of Financial Administration at New York State Homes and Community Renewal. In that role, Ms. Hunter oversaw banking, investment and payment processes, contracting and purchasing functions, federal and state reporting requirements, and regulatory compliance. Before that, Ms. Hunter worked as upstate regional director for the Housing Finance Agency and was an associate budget examiner for the New York State Division of the Budget. Ms. Hunter has an M.B.A. from SUNY Albany, and holds a B.A. from University of Illinoisat Urbana-Champaign.
Stephanie Davis has been appointed deputy commissioner of policy and communications at the Division of Homes and Community Renewal. Since 2003, Ms. Davis has worked at Excellus BlueCross BlueShield where she held positions as the regional vice president of communications for the Utica Region and the director of communications for the Southern Tier. From 1992 to 2003, she held multiple roles working for the New York State Senate. She is former chair of the Greater Utica Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs and Economic Development Council and holds a B.A. in Political Science from Union College.
Janet Ho has been appointed deputy commissioner at the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. Ms. Ho most recently served as the assistant secretary for transportation for Governor Cuomo. Prior to her time at the Executive Chamber, Ms. Ho worked for the New York State Senate Finance Committee as a deputy director of budget studies concentrating primarily in the areas of transportation, environment, economic development, energy and housing. Before that, she was a senior legislative budget analyst for the New York State Assembly Waysand Means Committee. She holds an MPA from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, a B.A. in Psychology, as well as a B.A. in Criminology, Law and Society, from U.C. Irvine.
Maria Knirk, Esq. has been appointed deputy commissioner of the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, where she has held multiple titles, including special assistant for federal policy and assistant commissioner. Prior to working in New York Stategovernment, Ms. Knirk was a regulatory policy analyst at the Delaware Department of Agriculture. Ms. Knirk has previously served as a law clerk for Varnum Attorneys at Law, and an adjunct instructor at Southwestern Michigan College. She holds a B.A. in communications, a B.B.A. and an M.B.A. from Ferris State University. She also holds a J.D. from Michigan State University College of Law.
Raymond LaMarco has been appointed assistant commissioner for administrative services at the New York State Department of Transportation. Mr. LaMarco has more than 33 years of experience working in New York Stategovernment. He has held multiple positions at the Department of Transportation, including director of human resources management and employee relations. He has previously held positions as the Director of Labor Relations at the NYS Office of Children and Family Services and Director of Human Resources Management at the NYS Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse. He holds a B.S. in organizational management from Nyack College, an A.A.S. degree in construction technology from Herkimer Community College and an occupational health and safety certification from Cornell University.
Thomas A. Pohl, Esq. has been appointed deputy counsel for the New York State Office of General Services. Mr. Pohl has been with OGS for more than 40 years, previously serving as an associate attorney for Legal Services. In this role, Mr. Pohl worked with senior staff on New York State’s real property issues, including the development of public policy and management of litigation and defense. Prior to that, Mr. Pohl served as a senior attorney for Realty in the OGS Division of Land Utilization, chief of the OGS Bureau of Land Disposition, and attorney in the OGS Bureau of Land Disposition. Mr. Pohl holds a J.D. from Albany Law Schooland a B.A. from Siena College.
Patrick Meredith has been appointed assistant commissioner for regional operations at the Department of Transportation, Western New York. Mr. Meredith has nearly two decades of experience in the public sector, overseeing the management and construction of capital improvement projects including roads, parks, storm water and sewer systems. Mr. Meredith previously served as commissioner of public works for the Town of Irondequoit, and before that, as deputy commissioner for the Town. Previously, Mr. Meredith owned his own construction company and served as assistant engineer for the Town of Penfield. Mr. Meredith holds an A.O.S. from Alfred State College, State University of New York.
John J. McCarthy has been appointed special advisor for agency operations and initiatives at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, where he previously served as deputy press secretary. Most recently, Mr. McCarthy was a senior advisor at Everytown for Gun Safety. Prior to that, he served as deputy commissioner for public information at the New York City Police Department. Mr. McCarthy has also held positions under Mayor Bloomberg, including senior advisor for public safety and deputy press secretary. Mr. McCarthy has previously worked for a number of government agencies including, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the New York State Office of Homeland Security and the United States General Services Administration. He holds a J.D. and a B.A. from Fordham University.
John McKay has been appointed executive officer of corporate communications, branding and marketing at the Metropolitan Transit Authority. Mr. McKay most recently served as the director of communications for the New York City Comptroller’s Office. Prior to that, he was the vice president of corporate communications at NBC Universal. Mr. McKay has held a number of roles at Sony Music Entertainment/SONY BMG, including vice president of Communications, vice president of media relations, senior director of communications and director of editorial services. Mr. McKay holds a B.A. in East Asian studies with a minor in religious studies from Pennsylvania State University.
Kelli Owens has been appointed legislative coordinator at the New York State Office of Child and Family Services. Ms. Owens has more than two decades of experience in both the public and private sector. She previously served as vice president for external affairs at Planned Parenthood Advocates of New York, where she was the principal in-house lobbyist. Prior to that, Ms. Owens worked as the government relations and public policy director for the YWCAs of the northeast region, supervising legislative and media affairs for New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. Ms. Owens holds a B.A. in Political Science from Utica College of Syracuse University.