Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman Announces Additional Staff Appointments

Top Talent to Serve as State Counsel, Executive Deputy AG for Regional Offices, Chief of Staff, Key Administrative Positions, & Communications Department

Selections Applauded By All Five Other Democratic & Republican Attorney General Candidates in 2010

NEW YORK - Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced another round of appointments to key staff positions, including State Counsel, Executive Deputy Attorney General for Regional Offices, Chief of Staff, Policy Director, and key operations and communications staff. Previously, Schneiderman announced selections for six senior legal positions in the office.

"To truly maintain the legal excellence for which this office is renowned, and to build the greatest public interest law firm in America, we must attract the very best talent to serve the people of New York," said Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman. "I am confident that we have done just that, and am thrilled that these dedicated public servants are ready to hit the ground running."

Schneiderman's selections were praised by each of the five other candidates (Democrats and Republicans) who had sought the office of Attorney General this year.

"Attorney General Schneiderman's senior staff appointments reflect the highest level of experience, accomplishment and professionalism. The new Attorney General is well on his way to building the best public interest law firm in the nation with a team that includes so many individuals who have a long track record of serving the people of New York with distinction," said former Assemblymember Richard Brodsky.

"Putting legal excellence first, Attorney General Schneiderman will hit the ground running with this distinguished team of lawyers and public servants. I commend the Attorney General on his goal of creating the best public interest law firm in the country - these choices are an important step toward reaching that ambitious objective," said Sean Coffey.

"This team reflects the outstanding talent our state has to offer and I am confident they will carry out Attorney General Schneiderman's vision and uphold his dedication to serving the people of New York. These appointments demonstrate that the incoming Attorney General is committed to building on the successes of past administrations and continuing the office's long tradition of excellence," said Eric Dinallo, who served on the Attorney General's Transition Committee.

"I believe Eric was sincere in the campaign when he talked about wanting to reform our state government and restore the public's trust in their elected officials. Based on the credentials of the team he has assembled, he's off to a good start," said Staten Island District Attorney Daniel M. Donovan.

"With these appointments, Attorney General Schneiderman has tapped our state's top talent to develop innovative solutions for New York's most serious challenges. I look forward to working with the new Attorney General and his outstanding team to protect the people of this state," said Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen M. Rice.

Attorney General Schneiderman announced the following appointments today, listed alphabetically:

Christina Harvey will serve as Director of Operations. Ms. Harvey joined Mr. Schneiderman's State Senate office in 2003, where she served as Chief of Staff, and later served as Executive Director of Schneiderman's Attorney General Transition Committee. Ms. Harvey received a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and a Masters degree in Public Administration from New York University's Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service.

Neal Kwatra will serve as Chief of Staff. Mr. Kwatra was selected by the New York State Democratic Party ticket, headed by now-Governor Andrew Cuomo, to serve as Executive Director of its coordinated campaign during the 2010 election cycle. Recognized by Crains New York Business as one of the "25 People to Watch" in their 25th Anniversary Issue, Mr. Kwatra most recently served as Director of Political and Strategic Affairs for the New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council, where he worked for the last three years, managing substantial legislative and policy portfolios. Mr. Kwatra received a B.A. in Political Science and Journalism from Rutgers College.

Martin J. Mack will serve as Executive Deputy Attorney General for Regional Affairs. Mr. Mack served as Deputy Secretary for Appointments to Governor Paterson from July 2009 to December 2010. He served as Deputy Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs to Governor Paterson from February 2009 to June 2009 and also served as Deputy Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs to Governor Spitzer from January 2007 to April 2008. Prior to joining the Governor's Office, Mr. Mack served for eight years as Deputy Attorney General to Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. From 1980 to 1998, Mr. Mack practiced law while acting as a public servant in a variety of capacities, serving as an Assistant District Attorney in Cortland County from 1980 to 1983, Cortland County Attorney from 1984 to 1987, and Mayor of the City of Cortland from 1988 to 1992. In addition, he was a partner in a private law practice for over 18 years. Mr. Mack holds a B.S. degree from Cornell University, a Master of Arts in Teaching from SUNY Cortland, and a Juris Doctorate from the University of South Carolina.

Shanti Nayak will serve as Chief Operating Officer. Most recently, Ms. Nayak served as Chief of Staff at the Roosevelt Institute. For nearly eight years, Ms. Nayak was Chief People Officer at the management consulting firm, Katzenbach Partners and later served as a Director at Booz & Company. Ms. Nayak received a B.A. from Smith College and a Masters degree in Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Kent T. Stauffer will serve as State Counsel. Mr. Stauffer is an Executive Vice President at Chartis, Inc. Previously, Mr. Stauffer was a Senior Vice President and the Director of Litigation for JPMorgan Chase and its predecessor, Chase Manhattan. Prior to that, he was engaged in trial practice as a partner in the New York City firm of Gordon Hurwitz Butowsky Weitzen Shalov & Wein, an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York, where he served as Chief of the Tax and Environmental Units and a member of the Civil Rights Unit, and an associate at the firm of Breed, Abbott & Morgan. Mr. Stauffer currently co-chairs the In-house/Outside Counsel Litigation Group of the New York City Bar Association, and served as a Chair and Director of New York Lawyers for the Public Interest for 19 years. Mr. Stauffer received a B.A. in economics from Amherst College, a law degree from Harvard Law School, and a Masters degree in Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Blake Zeff will serve as the Senior Advisor to the Attorney General, where his duties will include directing policy, and managing major program initiatives for the office. Zeff has served in senior positions in state and national public affairs for much of the last decade, most recently in key positions on the campaigns of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, and as a top aide for U.S. Senator Charles Schumer on Capitol Hill. Mr. Zeff, a 2009 Truman National Security fellow, leaves his current job as Managing Director of BerlinRosen Public Affairs, where he advised a range of clients, from the Citizens Crime Commission, to Health Care for America Now (HCAN). He received a B.A. in Political Science, and a B.A. in Modern Culture & Media, from Brown University.

Communications Department

Fernando Aquino will serve as Press Secretary (Spanish language). Mr. Aquino has served as Press Secretary for the Democratic Conference of the New York State Senate. Previously, Mr. Aquino was the Director of Market Development for the New York Mets. As a journalist, Mr. Aquino worked for major Dominican newspapers, including El Listin Diario NY, and served for six years as a political and general assignment reporter for El Diario La Prensa, where he led its City Hall Bureau. He has been honored for outstanding political and community reporting by the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. Mr. Aquino received a B.A. in Political Science from the City College of New York.

James Freedland will serve as Deputy Director of Communications. Mr. Freedland served as Director of Communications in Mr. Schneiderman's Senate office and was Communications Director and chief spokesman for Schneiderman's campaign for Attorney General. Previously, Mr. Freedland handled media relations at the American Civil Liberties Union's national office, and worked in a variety of campaigns, government offices and research organizations, including the Center for Justice & Democracy and the J.M. Huber Institute for Learning in Organizations at Teachers College, Columbia University. Mr. Freedland received a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and a Masters degree in Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Jennifer Givner will serve as Press Secretary (Upstate). Ms. Givner most recently served as Director of Communications for the New York Lottery. Previously, Ms. Givner served in multiple government positions, including Chief of Staff for Public Safety and Deputy Press Secretary for Governors Paterson and Spitzer, Press Secretary for the New York City Department of Buildings, and as Press Aide at the Office of Attorney General. Ms. Givner received a B.A. from Hartwick College and a Master of Public Administration from the Nelson A. Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy at the University at Albany.

Danny Kanner will serve as Press Secretary (Downstate). Most recently, Mr. Kanner served as Communications Director for Florida Governor Charlie Crist's U.S. Senate campaign and David Yassky's campaign for New York City Comptroller. Previously, Mr. Kanner served as First Deputy Press Secretary at the New York City Department of Education and in the administration of Governor Spitzer. Mr. Kanner received a B.A. from the University of Maryland.

Last month, Attorney General Schneiderman announced his selections for the senior legal positions of First Deputy Attorney General, Solicitor General, Counsel to the Attorney General, and Executive Deputy Attorneys General for Economic Justice, Criminal Justice and Social Justice.

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