“The COVID pandemic has tested our State government more than ever before, and this administration has risen to the occasion time and time again to deliver real results for New Yorkers,” Governor Cuomo said. “As we begin to reimagine New York for a post-pandemic world, these talented and dedicated new additions to our team will bring invaluable knowledge and experience to help us build back better and stronger than before.”
Dana Carotenuto has been appointed Chief of Staff. Ms. Carotenuto recently served as Deputy Secretary for Legislative Affairs and Policy in the administration, negotiating key policy initiatives for the administration such as congestion pricing and the legalizing of paid gestational surrogacy. Ms. Carotenuto previously served in State Senate staff roles for over 10 years, namely as Chief of Staff for the Senate Independent Democratic Conference negotiating the state budget and initiatives such as paid family leave, zombie property legislation and foreclosure protections. She holds a B.S.F.S from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and a J.D. from Brooklyn Law School. Dana succeeds Jill Des Rosiers, who has been a valued member of this administration for over eight years. Jill has been on maternity leave since December and when she is ready to return, we will welcome her back in whatever capacity she chooses.
Victor Olds has been appointed Special Counsel for Public Integrity. Mr. Olds brings over 40 years of legal experience in both the public and private sector to this position. Mr. Olds joins the administration from the Office of the Westchester County District Attorney, where he served as First Deputy District Attorney. Mr. Olds is a Lecturer-in-Law for Legal Writing and Appellate Advocacy at Columbia Law School. He was previously Chief of the Bureau of Professional Responsibility and Training in the Office of the Bronx District Attorney and has served the New York City Department of Investigation as deputy commissioner for investigations, first deputy commissioner, and acting commissioner. Mr. Olds has published numerous articles in the New York Law Journal, served as a program chair of the New York City Bar Association’s CLE litigation programs from 2005 to 2009, and has been an instructor at the U.S. Department of Justice Advocacy Institute and the National Institute for Trial Advocacy. Mr. Olds holds a J.D. from Brooklyn Law School and a B.A from New York University.
Sean Ewart has been appointed Senior Policy Advisor for Energy. Before joining the administration, Mr. Ewart served as New York State Director of Regulatory Affairs at Luthin Associates. He was previously Director of Energy Policy for New York State Assembly member Michael Cusick, Legislative Tracker for New York State Watch and Legislative Director for New York State Assembly member Addie Jenne. Mr. Ewart holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University at Albany.
Khemenec Pantin, LMSW has been appointed Senior Policy Advisor for Human Services and Mental Hygiene. Mr. Pantin joins the administration from Brooklyn Community Services, where he served as the Youth Development Division Director. He previously served as Founding Director of Upstream and a School Practitioner and In Home Therapist at the Italian Home for Children. Mr. Pantin also served as an Adjunct Lecturer at the Boston College School of Social Work. Mr. Pantin holds a B.A. in Biology from Wesleyan University, a Master of Science in Advanced Generalist Practice and Programming from the Columbia University School of Social Work and a Master of Science in Applied Psychology: Measurement and Evaluation from New York University.
Rich Azzopardi has been appointed Director of Communications and Senior Advisor to the Governor. Mr. Azzopardi has been a member of this administration for nine years, previously serving as Senior Advisor to the Governor, Senior Deputy Communications Director, Deputy Communications Director for Albany and Deputy Press Secretary for Albany. Prior to that, he was an aide in the New York State Senate and a newspaper reporter. He is replacing Peter Ajemian, who is leaving the administration to pursue a position in the private sector.
Colin Brennan has been appointed Senior Deputy Communications Director. Mr. Brennan previously served as Director of Communications for the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, as well as Deputy Communications Director for Public Safety and Deputy Press Secretary in the Executive Chamber. Prior to his time in the Executive Chamber, he served in various roles in the New York State Legislature, and at both the Department of Health and Thruway Authority. Mr. Brennan holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the University at Albany.
Jennifer Givner has been appointed Acting Press Secretary. Ms. Givner currently serves as the Director of Media Relations and Communications for the Thruway Authority. Ms. Givner has more than 20 years of communications experience working for both the City and State of New York. Prior to working at the Thruway Authority, she served as the Assistant Commissioner of Communications for the New York State Office of Children and Family Services and preceding that she served in various communications management positions at the New York State Office of the Attorney General, NY Lottery, and the Executive Chamber. Ms. Givner holds a Master of Public Administration degree from the Nelson A. Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy at SUNY Albany and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Hartwick College.
Jordan Bennett has been appointed Deputy Communications Director for Downstate. Before joining the administration, Mr. Bennett served as a Public Affairs Officer and Spokesperson for New York University. He was previously a Senior Public Relations Manager at the Berman Group, part of the Rapid Response Communications Team for Hillary Clinton’s Presidential Campaign in 2016, and served as Associate Director of Communications for Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser. Mr. Bennett holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Connecticut.
Haley Viccaro has been appointed Deputy Communications Director for Energy and the Environment. Ms. Viccaro previously served as Communications Director for Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, where she helped lead a communications team and managed events, press releases and media relations. Before serving in the Executive Chamber, Ms. Viccaro was Coordinator of Research and Member Engagement at the New York Conference of Mayors and a reporter at the Daily Gazette in Schenectady and the Albany Business Review. Ms. Viccaroholds a Bachelor’s degree from the University at Albany.
Victoria Lane has been appointed Chief Special Counsel for Ethics, Risk and Compliance. Ms. Lane brings nearly 20 years of experience as civil litigator and white collar defense attorney with practice area expertise in government contracting, regulatory compliance, internal investigations, and in the design and implementation of compliance programs to the position. Ms. Lane joins the administration from Hinckley Allen & Snyder LLP, where she served as a partner in the litigation department. She was recognized by the Best Lawyers in America® for Criminal Defense: White-Collar in both 2020 and 2021. Ms. Lane holds a B.A. degree from the State University of New York at Albany and a J.D. from Fordham University School of Law.
Nadine Fontaine has been appointed General Counsel for the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York. Ms. Fontaine previously served in the administration as First Assistant Counsel to the Governor and Assistant Counsel for Economic Development, Public Finance and Procurement. Ms. Fontaine joined the administration from Epiq Systems, Inc., where she served as a Director. She was previously an associate at Cooper, Liebowitz, Royster & Wright, followed by Wilson, Elser, Moskowitz, Edelman & Dicker, LLP, and then Kaye Scholer, LLP. Ms. Fontaine earned a B.A. degree from Stony Brook University and a J.D. from Pace University School of Law.
Frank Hoare has been appointed General Counsel for the New York State Thruway Authority. Mr. Hoare’s legal career has included both state government service and private practice. Previous assignments include Associate Counsel at the New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs, Deputy Secretary for Legislative Affairs for Governor Cuomo and General Counsel for the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services. Mr. Hoare retired from the United States Army Reserve in December 2019 after 28 years of combined active and reserve service. Mr. Hoare holds a B.A. in History from the State University of New York at Albany and a J.D. from Albany Law School.