Ethics, Risk & Compliance

TOP Ethics, Risk & Compliance

"Performance, Integrity, Pride – We Work for the People"

In 2015, Governor Cuomo created New York State’s first-ever statewide ethics, risk and compliance initiative with the goal of bringing a private sector risk management model to State agencies and authorities.  Headed by the Special Counsel for Public Integrity, the Chief Special Counsel for Ethics, Risk and Compliance, a team of Special Counsel for Ethics, Risk and Compliance work both collaboratively within agency or authority management teams and collectively addressing statewide concerns. The mission of the Special Counsel program is to identify, reduce and eliminate risks and to promulgate statewide best practices.

All New York State taxpayers and residents and all those who depend on New York State government services have the right to expect that government programs will be administered and managed efficiently and with the highest degree of professionalism.  Risk management is an effective tool to manage the State’s assets and control costs by reducing loss resulting from fraud, waste, and abuse, limiting general liability claims and settlements, and lowering insurance rates.

"Government service can be summed up with three simple words: Performance, Integrity and Pride. Are we doing our job well and with integrity? Are we proud to be serving the people? Those are the true measures of public service and that is what our new statewide system for ethics, risk and compliance is here to support.” Governor Andrew M. Cuomo 


Executive Staff
Executive Staff

Special Counsel for Public Integrity

The Special Counsel for Public Integrity leads the team of Special Counsel for Ethics, Risk and Compliance in identifying and implementing best practices to mitigate risk, improving systems needing enhanced protections, and developing, adapting, and promulgating innovative state and private-sector solutions. 



Chief Special Counsel for Ethics, Risk and Compliance

The Chief Special Counsel manages the day-to-day functioning of the statewide Special Counsel team, and together with a Deputy is responsible for setting goals and reporting on progress and accomplishments.  The Chief Special Counsel reports directly to the Special Counsel for Public Integrity.

Laura Edidin, Chief Special Counsel for Ethics, Risk and Compliance

Blaise DiBernardo, Deputy Chief Special Counsel for Ethics, Risk and Compliance

Kevin Getnick, Deputy Chief Special Counsel for Ethics, Risk and Compliance

Michael Tiffany, Deputy Chief Special Counsel for Ethics, Risk and Compliance




Special Counsel
Special Counsel

The Special Counsel work in key agencies and authorities to develop and promulgate new risk management programs.  Reporting to the heads of their respective agencies the Special Counsel review existing systems at their agencies or authorities for managing ethics, risk and compliance and collaborate with management to remediate identified issues and develop potential areas for improvement. The team of Special Counsel strives to apply these improved systems across other state entities by selecting and generating best practices.  The current team of Special Counsel is comprised of the following attorneys:

  • Wileen Chick, Department of Environmental Conservation, Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and Environmental Facilities Corporation
  • Brian Conley, Office of General Services and Department of Civil Service
  • Blaise DiBernardo, Deputy Chief Special Counsel for Ethics, Risk and Compliance / New York State Thruway Authority and New York State Bridge Authority
  • Kevin Getnick, Deputy Chief Special Counsel for Ethics, Risk and Compliance / Office of Children and Family Services and Division of Military and Naval Affairs
  • Joseph Giovannetti, Department of Transportation
  • Selica Grant, Department of Labor
  • Andrea Herasimtschuk, Division of Criminal Justice Services, Office of the Prevention of Domestic Violence and the Office of Victim Services
  • Felisa Hochheiser, Empire State Development and Olympic Regional Development Authority
  • Kathleen Hoskins, Office for People With Developmental Disabilities
  • Subash Iyer, Metropolitan Transportation Authority
  • Catherine Youssef Kassenoff, Energy Sub-Cabinet
  • Christine Lennard, New York State Police
  • Erin Lynch, Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs
  • Benson Martin, New York State Department of Financial Services
  • Maria Lisi-Murray, Department of Motor Vehicles
  • Carey Merrill, Office of Information Technology Services, and the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services
  • James Miskiewicz, Long Island Power Authority
  • Cynthia Monaco, Dormitory Authority of the State of New York
  • Alexander Shapiro, New York State Office of Mental Health
  • Michael Shollar, Department of Taxation and Finance 
  • Markus Sztejnberg, Javits Center and Battery Park City Authority
  • Michael Tiffany, Deputy Chief Special Counsel for Ethics, Risk and Compliance / Department of Corrections and Community Supervision
  • Paul Tsui, Department of Health
  • Katie Valder, Department of Agriculture and Markets
Our Success Stories
Our Success Stories


Enterprise Risk Management

The Special Counsel team created an Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) program to provide state agencies and authorities with a comprehensive and replicable framework to identify, assess and mitigate enterprise risks. Working in teams with agency and authority executives, Special Counsel meet with senior management, counsel and key personnel to gain a full understanding of the vulnerabilities that may impact an agency or authority’s ability to achieve its objectives.  By introducing ERM to state agencies, the Special Counsel continue to deliver on the Governor’s promise to bring private sector best practices to state government.


The Special Counsel are leading a comprehensive initiative to enhance online public access to state records. Central to this initiative is the Governor’s launch of Open FOIL NY which provides a convenient and centralized website to submit a FOIL request to more than 50 executive agencies and authorities and access to a growing body of information and resources.  This unique open access interface leads the nation in allowing the requester to select up to three state agencies simultaneously in their single request.  In the next phase, the Open FOIL NY experience will be expanded to provide an online tracking system. The system will enable users to submit, track, and receive digital records in an Open FOIL NY account.  The Open FOIL NY initiative is yet another example of New York’s commitment to transparency.  For more information see Open FOIL NY.

Litigation Risk Management

On November 19, 2015, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the Attorney General’s Office announced a partnership to reduce litigation risk at New York State agencies. The Special Counsel for Ethics, Risk and Compliance continue to work closely with the Attorney General’s Office in this first-in-the-nation endeavor.  

For more information about the partnership, click here.

Learn More About the Work of the Special Counsel
Learn More About the Work of the Special Counsel

The innovative approach of the Special Counsel program in bringing private sector practices in risk management to government was featured in Columbia University’s Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity in its September 2016 “Integrity in Brief.” The full brief can be found at:

New York State’s Innovative New Program for Risk Management: Bringing Leading Private Sector Practices to Government

A Message from the Governor
Career Opportunities
Career Opportunities

The Special Counsel Program is always seeking talented and motivated attorneys who are committed to serving New York State and developing their professional skills. For current openings please see below:

Special Counsel Job Posting

If you are interested in joining the Special Counsel team, please send a cover letter and resume to [email protected].

New York State (NYS) is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. NYS Law prohibits discrimination because of age, race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, military status, sex, disability, predisposing genetic characteristics, marital status, domestic violence victim status, carrier status, gender identity or prior conviction records, or prior arrests, youthful offender adjudications or sealed records unless based on a bona fide occupational qualification or other exception.