Senate Dems Staff Shuffle
Senate Democratic Leader (or, if you prefer, Minority Leader) John Sampson sent an upbeat memo to conference members and staffers today, announcing some internal changes and sounding a confident note about the upcoming re-match with the Republican majority over control of the chamber.
The memo also announces the elevation of a former reporter-turned-political insider and the return of a veteran legislative staffer who fell victim to a rash of layoffs this past spring after the Democrats realized they were on pace to blow their budget by some $1 million. Here’s the text of Sampson’s note:
“I hope everyone had an enjoyable Thanksgiving. I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for your service and your dedication to this great state. Next year will be an extremely exciting year and I look forward to working with all of you to win back the majority.”
“I also wanted to let you know of some important staff changes that will be taking place. Maureen DeRosa, the Chief of Staff for the Conference has accepted a job with Governor Cuomo. Maureen was an outstanding Chief of Staff and I want to thank her for all her hard work.”
“Taking over the roll (sic) for Maureen will be our current Director of Communications and External Affairs, Errol Cockfield. Congratulations to Errol and I know he will be a great Chief of Staff as we enter the next session.”
“Also our Deputy Counsel Michael O’Leary has departed to work for Comptroller Tom Dinapoli. Michael was such a valuable asset to this Conference and Comptroller Dinapoli is very fortunate to add him to his staff. Mr. Keith St. John will be rejoining our team and taking over the Deputy Counsel role. He is a great addition. Let’s all welcome Keith back to our conference.”
NOTE: That typo – “roll,” instead of “role” – is rather unfortunate, as the reader who flagged it for me (I didn’t notice it the first time around), wrote: “Luckily, there are plenty of bagels left for the rest of us. (insert Larry Seabrook joke here).”
Cockfield is a former Albany Bureau Chief for Newsday. He left the newspaper business to take a job with the Spitzer administration, stayed on through the brief Paterson administration, and ended up at ESDC before jumping ship in August 2010 to join Sampson’s crew. (This memo is the first we’ve heard from Sampson in a while. He’s been taking a bit of a backseat to Sen. Mike Gianaris, who heads the DSCC and is generally the public face of the conference).
Nick Reisman scooped the news about DeRosa’s departure earlier this month. She didn’t spend long in her chief of staff post, having jumped from AG Eric Schneiderman’s office to Sampson’s staff in May as a replacement for Shelly Meyer.
The Senate GOP worked behind the scenes to spin DeRosa’s decision to leave as a sign that Democrats aren’t bullish on the minority’s chances of re-taking the majority next fall. It’s true that things are complicated by the existence fo the four-member IDC, against whom the Republicans aren’t planning on fielding strong challengers. It remains to be seen if their fellow Democrats are pissed off enough to back primary opponents against their erstwhile colleagues, although that’s highly unlikely, given their position as potential kingmakers come January 2013.
St. John is a former Albany Common Council member (trivia: when he was elected in November 1989, he became the first openly gay black person to hold public office in the US). A more recent – and more dubious – claim to fame: He was on the rostrum with Sen. Neil Breslin when two then-Democratic senators – Pedro Espada Jr. and Hiram Monserrate – defected to the GOP in the now-infamous Senate coup.
|Print article||This entry was posted by Liz Benjamin on November 28, 2011 at 12:01 pm, and is filed under 2012, Democrats, Downstate NY, John Sampson. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.|