Letizia Tagliafierro ‘99 has been named the new executive
director of New York’s Joint Commission on Public Ethics.
Executive Director Tagliafierro’s appointment
follows a nationwide recruitment effort that entailed advertisements in top
legal publications and newspapers, leading to more than 70 resumes received and
reviewed. An executive director appointment must include support from
Commissioners representing both political parties in both the executive and
legislative branches of State government. The Joint Commission’s executive
director reports to the 14 appointed commissioners, six of whom are appointed
by the Governor and eight by the leaders of the Legislature. The Commission’s
members are evenly split among the two major political parties.
“Letizia will be an outstanding executive director. Her
leadership skills, integrity, commitment to public service and her diverse
background in government made her a terrific choice for Executive Director,”
said Commission Chair Daniel J. Horwitz. “The Commission is looking forward to
continuing its important role of working to restore trust in our State
government. Through increased transparency, compliance training and
enforcement, our public officials and those hoping to influence government
decisions will be held accountable.”
Prior to today’s appointment as Executive Director, Ms.
Tagliafierro served as the Joint Commission’s Director of Investigations and
Enforcement. In that role since mid-2012, Ms. Tagliafierro oversaw all
investigative and enforcement matters, including the first ever independent
ethics investigation of a sitting legislator for violating the State’s Public
“I feel privileged to have had the chance to work with this
Commission for more than a year and am looking forward to the opportunities and
challenges of my new role,” Executive Director Tagliafierro said. “Compliance
with State ethics and lobbying laws are clearly a top priority for all New
Yorkers and it remains my goal as a public servant to earn and exceed the trust
placed in us to promote integrity in government.”
Before joining the Joint Commission, Ms. Tagliafierro’s
career spanned a variety of roles in public service, including eight
years as an Assistant District Attorney in Erie County after four years as a
Legislative Assistant to former State Senator Serphin Maltese.
In October 2007, after her years as a felony criminal
prosecutor, Ms. Tagliafierro was named Special Counsel to the Commissioner of
the State Division of Criminal Justice Services, where she served through April
2008. At that time, she took a position as Special Counsel/Public Advocacy
Attorney at the Office of the New York State Attorney General in Buffalo. In
January 2011, she was appointed as Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Director of
Intergovernmental Affairs where she managed communications and coordination
between the Executive Chamber and local governments, and served as liaison with
other elected officials.
Ms. Tagliafierro received her Bachelor of Arts degree from
the State University of New York at Albany and her law degree from the Albany
Law School of Union University.
The Joint Commission, created in 2011, was granted broader
regulatory authority and oversight than prior ethics and lobbying
regulators. Its jurisdiction includes state legislators, candidates for
the Legislature, and legislative employees, as well as the four statewide
elected officials, candidates for those offices, executive branch employees,
certain political party chairs, and lobbyists and their clients. The
Commission provides information, education, and advice regarding current ethics
and lobbying laws, and promotes compliance with these laws through audits,
investigations, and enforcement proceedings.
The Commission also promotes government transparency through
the administration of publicly available disclosure filings of lobbyists and
their clients as well as all Financial Disclosure Statements filed by State
The Joint Commission operates with a 2013-2014 fiscal year
budget of $4.6 million with a full-time staff of about 45.