By Tom Precious
After hours of a closed-door executive session, the state’s Joint Commission on Public Ethics today tapped Letizia Tagliafierro, a longtime loyalist to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, as its new executive director.
Tagliafierro, who worked for Cuomo in his Buffalo regional office when he was state attorney general, has been acting director of the agency that has jurisdiction over the lobbying industry and can investigate state workers and lawmakers for ethics violations.
The commission has been criticized for having its top staff dominated by Cuomo insiders. At Tuesday's meeting, commission member Ellen Yaroshefsky, a law professor at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, tried to get the agency to hire a search firm to find a new executive director. The board quickly ended the public session and went into executive session.
After the meeting, Yaroshefsky told Gannett's Albany bureau that she was quitting the commission. Yaroshefsky is an appointee of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, whose office could not immediately confirm that she quit.
Tagliafierro worked for eight years as an assistant district attorney in Erie County. She went to work with Cuomo in 2008 and then joined his gubernatorial administration in 2011.