Saturday, July 07, 2007



Gov. Eliot Spitzer has withdrawn his controversial nomination of industry insider Angela Sparks Beddoe as commissioner of the Public Service Commission, according to Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno’s office.
The Senate has been sitting on the nomination while another PSC issue - alleged threats by Spitzer aide Steven Mitnick against Cheryl Buley, another PSC member - are under investigation.
AP reports that Sparks Beddoe withdrew herself, telling Spitzer in a letter, “I believe it is time for me to move on and refocus my attention on my family and professional life.'’(CAPITOL CONFIDENTIAL)

There are several new folks in top jobs at the state Department of Environmental Conservation, I’m told and staffers recently got a run-down on some of them, including:Stuart Gruskin, executive deputy commissioner, who will oversee day-to-day ops and comes from the Cozen O’Connor law firm.Alison Crocker, goes from DEC’s acting general counsel to general counsel.
Mike Lenane, deputy commissioner for regional affairs and permitting, comes via DEC Commissioner Pete Grannis’ office from when Grannis was in the Assembly.
Val Washington, deputy commissioner for solid and hazardous materials, environmental
remediation and mineral resources. She had been with the AG’s office and then New Partners for Community Revitalization, Inc. (NPCR), a not-for-profit organization that assists community organizations in neighborhood revitalization efforts.
Also coming to DEC from the attorney general’s office are Jared Snyder, assistant commissioner for air resources, climate change and energy and Jim Tierney who is now assistant commissioner for water resources.
While with the AG, Tierney also served as the New York City watershed inspector general.(CAPITOL CONFIDENTIAL)

A state official who was bumped from his job but given a $135,000 post to tide him over till retirement says he’s decided not to take the offer.
Peter Smith, who was head of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority head but stepped aside last week for Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s pick, Assemblyman Paul Tonko, had been offered a job as one of five deputy commissioners under John Egan at the Office of General Services.
Although it meant a more than $13,000 pay cut, the job was good for ten months, enough to take Smith to the retirement age of 55.
Smith, however, said that while he’s grateful to Egan and Spitzer’s appointments secretary, Francine James, for “giving me a safe landing,'’ he’s opting for a private sector job offer. He didn’t offer details except to say it comes with a one year contract.
He said he checked on his employment situation with the state and found he has more than 30 years of credit, so he can retire at 55 without penalty. Only hitch is, he loses state health insurance.
“I hope I make a lot of money,” he said. (CAPITOL CONFIDENTIAL)

The New York Power Authority’s deputy counsel quits after admitting to keeping his ex-wife on his insurance policy. Carmine J. Clemente, 64, loses his nearly $199,000 job, pays a $34,000 fine, and can’t hold a state job again.

now that the nominees are coming from a democratic governor, the republican-controlled senate embraces its confirmation power with gusto...........

State Republican Chairman Joe Mondello is questioning Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s nomination of a political contributor to head the MTA, accusing the Demcratic governor of instituting “a brazen ‘pay to play’ culture in Albany that is disappointing and shocking to the people of New York State.”
Spitzer nominated Dale Hemmerdinger, a real estate mogul who would replace former Gov. George Pataki’s pick, Peter Kalikow, as head of the massive mass transit system. He is also former chairman of the Citizens Budget Commission, a watchdog group.(CAPITOL CONFIDENTIAL)

Spitzer names New York City real estate developer H. Dale Hemmerdinger as MTA chairman.

Charles “Skip” Carrier has been serving Assembly Democrats for five speakers, but after this session he’ll be moving to the state Department of Transportation as its chief spokesman, officially taking over there July 16.
He has been Speaker Sheldon Silver’s director of communications since Pat Lynch quit to become a lobbyist almost seven years ago.
Carrier has been working on the third floor of the Capitol since 1977. So showing up every day at DOT’s headquarters on Wolf Road across from Colonie Center instead might be a culture shock. But getting out of work at a reasonable hour might be a bargain for the 60-year-old.
One downside of the move: this is the time of year when Carrier and other Assembly staffers start looking forward to using all that vacation and comp time they banked during the session. But they can’t take it with them to an agency.
Moving into Carrier’s spot. we’re told, is Dan Weiller, who’s been at the state Comptroller’s office for the past four years.
Update: The salary for the DOT post will be $116,000 a year. Carrier’s currently paid $105,997.65 (sorry for the delay; we overlooked this Friday and have been a bit busy with other things today.)

ALBANY -- Gov. Eliot Spitzer on Tuesday nominated former state comptroller and gubernatorial candidate H. Carl McCall to the State University of New York board of trustees. As expected, Spitzer chose former state schools Chancellor Carl Hayden, an Elmira lawyer, for chairman of the board. His third nominee was Linda Sanford of Chappaqua, a senior vice president at IBM.

More on Spitzer’s SUNY appointments. And here and here.

The Senate Finance Committee this afternoon gave a blessing to Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s nominee to become the next Medicaid inspector general.
The full Senate is expected to follow with a vote in favor of James G. Sheehan and his $136,000 pay.
“You may have the most important job of anything we do this year,” Sen. Dale Volker, R-Depew, told him at the Finance Committee meeting. “I don’t envy you.”

Governor Eliot Spitzer has nominated Tina Marie Stanford, an assistant district attorney for Erie County, to chair the state’s Crime Victims Board, which compensates ($26 million in 2006) to victims of crime.
Stanford, 43, of Buffalo, would be paid $101,600 in the post, which requires Senate confirmation

Long-time lieutenant to former Assembly Insurance Committee Chairman Alexander “Pete” Grannis, Peter Newell, joined the United Hospital Fund.
Grannis’ former aide goes to former Assembly Majority Leader James Tallon’s outfit and will split time between Albany and Manhattan.
As senior health policy analyst, Newell will work on issues related to expanding health insurance coverage in New York. Grannis’ aides have spread out, some going to the Department of Environmental Conservation, where Grannis took over as commissioner

Gannett News Service reporter Yancey Roy is heading to the Department of Environmental Conservation as the chief spokesman.Erik Kriss, recently departed but long-time Syracuse Post-Standard correspondent, is getting a similar post with the Department of Correctional Services. Scott Reif, a press officer for the Division of the Budget, who is also a holdover from the Pataki administration is going to be an assistant press secretary for Senate Republicans. Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, who frequently criticizes the DOB, often complained that Reif’s old boss, John Cape, couldn’t couldn't count.

The state has a new ad firm to market tourism and it will be trying to steer some ofthe 44 million annual visitors to New York City to upstate, Gov. Eliot Spitzer said today.
Empire State Development Corp. chose Saatchi & Saatchi to run the “I Love New York'’ adcampaign. The firm will be signing a three-year contract, having beaten two dozen competitorsfor the chance to tap into nearly the $22 million tourism promotion program.
Spitzer said the state has failed to market itself effectively in the past, referring tothe years when the program featured Gov. George Pataki as the tourism spokesman.

Gov. Eliot Spitzer tapped Cornell University’s former leader to direct a new higher education commission to figure out ways to make the SUNY system a better place to learn.Hunter Rawlings, president emeritus of Cornell and the University of Iowa, is chairing a group that must report back by Dec. 1 and complete a final recommendation document in June of 2008.Spitzer said he wants the SUNY and CUNY system to be looked at as highly as the public systems of California and Wisconsin.The commission will include a few lawmakers, including Sen. Ken LaValle, Assemblywoman Deborah Glick and Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples.Others: William Scheuerman, president of the United University Professions; John Clark, interim of the SUNY system; Carl Hayden, former chancellor of the Regents; and Richard Mills, commissioner of education.

Brad Maione, one of Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s press officers, is heading to the Office of General Services to lead the public information effort there. Commissioner John Egan will keep him busy.

Trustees at the State University of New York have nominated John Clark as interim chancellor, who would take over in June with the departure of John Ryan.
Clark currently serves as interim head at SUNY Alfred and has served as interim president at Brockport, Plattsburgh, the school of Optometry and as acting vice chancellor of enrollment and university life for the SUNY system.

Matthew Walter is the new communications director for the Republican State Committee, meaning he’s moving a few blocks to 315 State St. from Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno’s press office in the Capitol.
Bruno helped install Joseph Mondello as the party’s chairman.

Jonathan Lippman, New York’s longest-serving chief administrative judge, was appointed by Gov. Eliot Spitzer as Presiding Justice of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court for the First Judicial Department.

John Stouffer, the executive director of the Sierra Club, joins the list of environmental leaders in Albany trooping from the nonprofit sector for a state government post. Unlike the others, (Willie Janeway, Val Washington and Peter Iwanowitz to name a few) however, he’s not joining the Spitzer administration.
Instead, he will become an environmental policy analyst for Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.

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