The Commission consists of 14 members, three appointed by the Legislative Leader of the Same Political Party of the Temporary President of the Senate as of the Effective Date of PIRA (Public Integrity Reform Act) of 2011; three appointed by the Legislative Leader of the Same Political Party of the Speaker of the Assembly as of the Effective Date of PIRA of 2011; one appointed by the Legislative Leader of the Same Political Party of the Minority Leader of the Senate as of the Effective Date of PIRA of 2011; one appointed by the Legislative Leader of the Same Political Party of the Minority Leader of the Assembly as of the Effective Date of PIRA of 2011; and six appointed by the Governor and the Lieutenant Governor. The Commission Chairperson is selected by the Governor. Commissioners serve five-year terms. The Commission appoints the Executive Director.
Michael K. Rozen, Chair
Chair Rozen is President & CEO of TRGP Capital Management, LLC, a private equity firm focused on strategic investments in complex litigation, and a partner at the New York law firm Rozen, LLP. Mr. Rozen has successfully negotiated thousands of disputes in such areas as product liability, toxic tort, environmental insurance coverage, shareholder class actions, employment discrimination and intellectual property, has been appointed by federal and state courts as Special Settlement Master in a variety of matters, has assisted corporations in structuring and negotiating prepackaged asbestos bankruptcies, was a Deputy Special Master of the Federal September 11, 2001 Victim Compensation Fund and resolved all claims arising out of the Upper Big Branch mine explosion and Penn State/Sandusky scandal. Mr. Rozen is Vice Chair and a member of the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of Human Rights First. Mr. Rozen received his J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center and his B.A. from Tufts University. Mr. Rozen was appointed to the Commission by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo.
Commissioner Cohen is a founding member and partner at Taylor & Cohen, LLP, a boutique litigation firm with an emphasis on complex commercial business disputes, employment law, and civil rights. He also spent a number of years as a litigation partner in the New York office of Kirkland & Ellis LLP. Prior to starting his own firm, Mr. Cohen was Director of Ethics and Lobbying Guidance and Special Counsel for the Joint Commission on Public Ethics. Mr. Cohen served as a law clerk for Honorable Michael Hawkins of United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Prior to law school, he worked for several years as a legislative assistant in the Washington D.C. office of U.S. Representative Ed Pastor. He received his law degree from the University of Chicago Law School and his undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania. Mr. Cohen was appointed to the Commission by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo.
James E. Dering
Commissioner Dering is a partner at Garfunkel Wild, P.C. (“GW”), a law firm that focuses on serving the business and legal needs of clients in the health care industry and other areas. Mr. Dering works in GW’s Albany, NY office and is a member of the firm’s Health Care, Business and Compliance practice groups. Previously, he served as General Counsel of the New York State Department of Health, and formerly was Deputy General Counsel and Director of the Bureau of House Counsel. As General Counsel, he was the chief legal advisor to the Commissioner of Health and oversaw approximately 125 attorneys and staff. Mr. Dering previously served as Bureau Chief of the New York State Attorney General’s Health Care Bureau, and held other titles with the Office of the Attorney General. Prior to his government service, Mr. Dering was in private practice for more than 10 years and advised clients in the areas of heath care, insurance, corporate law and litigation. He received his J.D., cum laude, from Albany Law School of Union University and his B.S. in Business Management from Ithaca College. Mr. Dering was appointed to the Commission by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo.
Colleen C. DiPirro
Commissioner DiPirro is Senior Advisor, Public Policy and Economic Development for the Amherst Chamber of Commerce, where she had until recently served as president and CEO. She began as the single staff person for the chamber, which has grown to an 8-person full-time staff working with a membership of more than 3,000, representing more than 1,300 businesses. Ms. DiPirro is a member of the Executive Committee and Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of Independent Health and serves on the Erie County Industrial Development Agency Policy Committee; she has also served on the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council, the Roswell Park Cancer Institute Board of Directors, Peace Bridge Authority, and the New York Commission on Judicial Conduct. She attended Alfred State College and her professional education was enhanced by attendance at the Institute for Organizational Management at the University of Notre Dame and later at University of Delaware at Newark. Ms. DiPirro was appointed to the Commission by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo.
William P. Fisher
Commissioner Fisher recently retired from Onondaga County government after serving more than nine years as Deputy County Executive. Among other duties in that role, he administered all administrative and financial units of county government, while working closely with elected officials, business leaders, community leaders, and others as the representative of Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney. Prior to his tenure with Onondaga County, Mr. Fisher was co-founder and CEO of Summit Software Company, based in Syracuse. He serves as a director and volunteers his time as General Manager of the Greater Syracuse Soundstage Development Corporation. He also serves as a member of the boards of the Syracuse Regional Airport Authority, Everson Museum of Art, and other boards in Central New York. Mr. Fisher has a master’s degree from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University and an undergraduate degree from Yale University. Mr. Fisher was appointed to the Commission by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo.
Julie A. Garcia
Commissioner Garcia is an attorney in private practice and currently heads her own firm, with offices in Port Henry and Warrensburg. She was the first female Essex County District Attorney, elected in 2006 and serving until 2009, administering the office and investigating and prosecuting crimes throughout the county. Prior to that, Ms. Garcia worked as an Assistant District Attorney in the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office and Rensselaer County District Attorney’s Office. Ms. Garcia is a member of the Warren County, Essex County, Adirondack Women’s, and New York State Bar Associations, and has served as a board member of the Adirondack Community Action Program, Albany Law School National Alumni Association, Albany Law School Board of Trustees, and Siena College Social Work Advisory Board. She received her law degree from Albany Law School and her undergraduate degree from Siena College. Ms. Garcia was appointed to the Commission by Assembly Speaker Carl E. Heastie.
Daniel J. Horwitz
Commissioner Horwitz is a lawyer in private practice at McLaughlin & Stern, LLP. He is a graduate of Columbia College and the American University Washington College of Law, cum laude. He previously served on the Commission from 2011 until 2016 and served as Chair from 2013 until 2016. He serves on the Board of Commissioners of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the New York State Judicial Screening Commiittee. He was appointed to the Commission by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo.
Marvin E. Jacob
Commissioner Jacob is a recently retired partner of Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, where he focused primarily on corporate financial restructurings. Prior to joining Weil in 1979 as a partner, he served as the associate regional administrator of the New York office of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. During his tenures at the SEC and Weil, he taught bankruptcy reorganization and securities regulation at New York Law School as an adjunct professor of law and published and lectured extensively. Since his retirement from Weil, Mr. Jacob's practice has focused primarily on mediations, arbitrations, public service and pro bono matters. From 2006-2009, Mr. Jacob served as a member of the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct and in 2010 was appointed to the Governor’s Task Force on Public Authority Reform. Mr. Jacob was originally appointed to the Commission in December 2011 and was reappointed by Assembly Speaker Carl E. Heastie.
Gary J. Lavine
Commissioner Lavine is associated of counsel with the Syracuse law firm of Bousquet Holstein PLLC. Mr. Lavine served in the United States Department of Energy as Deputy General Counsel for Environment & Nuclear Programs during the administration of President George W. Bush. Previously, he was Senior Vice President & Chief Legal Officer of Niagara Mohawk Holdings Inc. and Senior Vice President, Legal & Corporate Relations of Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation. Mr. Lavine served in a number of staff positions with the state Legislature, including Legislative Counsel to the Minority Leader of the Assembly; Counsel, Senate Committee on Insurance; Executive Director, Senate Committee on Corporations, Authorities & Commissions; and Assistant to the Chair, Joint Legislative Committee on Reapportionment. He served four terms as a member of the United States Commission for the Preservation of America's Heritage Abroad. He received degrees in both business administration and law from Syracuse University. Mr. Lavine previously served on the Commission from 2011 to 2018. He was re-appointed to the Commission in 2019 by Senate Minority Leader John J. Flanagan.
James W. McCarthy
Commissioner McCarthy recently retired after nine years as a Supreme Court Justice in the Fifth Judicial District in Oswego County. He also served as an acting justice for 10 years, and was the sole justice in that six-county District presiding over asbestos litigation during that time. He has served in a number of different roles on the bench for more than 30 years, including as an Oswego County Court judge, where he created the first sex offense court in New York State and was the first judge in the county preside over a county-wide drug court program. Prior to that, Mr. McCarthy was an attorney in private practice and served as city attorney in Oswego. He also served overseas in active duty for the US Army and was in the active reserve for several years. Mr. McCarthy has also served on a number of boards including the Oswego County United Way and Red Cross. He received his law degree from Albany Law School and his undergraduate degree from the State University of New York at Oswego. Mr. McCarthy was appointed to the Commission by Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb.
David J. McNamara
Commissioner McNamara is a partner at Phillips Lytle LLP, with a practice concentrated in the areas of general commercial litigation, representing individuals, corporations, and financial institutions in complex commercial litigation and real estate transactions, and maintains offices in Buffalo and New York City. He previous served as the firm's managing partner and as a member of its governing committee. Mr. McNamara has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America as well as lists of influential business and legal leaders in Western New York. He also currently serves as a member of the board of directors of the United way of Buffalo and Erie County, among others. Mr. McNamara received his law degree from the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville and his undergraduate degree from the State University of New York College at Brockport. Mr. McNamara was appointed to the Commission by then-Senate Majority Leader John J. Flanagan.
George H. Weissman
Commissioner Weissman is Chair of the Cortland College Foundation, Inc, and a member of the Advisory Board of the Government Law Center at Albany Law School. In his over thirty years of government service, Mr. Weissman served in various capacities in the legislative and executive branches of government. In addition, he published articles on taxation, public debt, and the state budget. He received his J.D. from Albany Law School of Union University. Mr. Weissman was originally appointed to the Commission in December 2011 and reappointed by then-Senate Majority Leader John J. Flanagan.
James A. Yates
Commissioner Yates is a retired Supreme Court Justice, serving from 1997 until 2011, as well as sitting on the New York State Court of Claims from 1992 to 1997. He previously served as Counsel to the Speaker of the New York State Assembly from 1989 until 1992 and again from 2011 to 2015. Prior to that, he also served as Chief Counsel to the Assembly’s Codes Committee, Counsel to the Assembly Majority, and Legislative Counsel to the Speaker. He has served as a Commissioner on the New York State Sentencing Guidelines Commission, the Commission on Uniform State Laws and as a Board Member of the IOLA Board for New York. In addition, he has taught criminal law, ethics and legislative process at New York University School of Law, New York Law School, CUNY School of Law, Cardozo School of Law and Pace University School of Law and has co-authored textbooks on criminal procedure. He received his law degree from Rutgers University School of Law and his undergraduate degree from Princeton University. Mr. Yates was appointed to the Commission by Assembly Speaker Carl E. Heastie.
Seth H. Agata, Executive Director
Seth H. Agata was appointed Executive Director of the Joint Commission on Public Ethics in March 2016. He previously served as Chairperson of the New York State Public Employment Relations Board and acting Counsel to the Governor as well as First Assistant Counsel and Ethics Officer to the Executive Chamber. Before joining the Governor’s staff, he was Assistant Secretary for Program and Policy (with oversight of the Assembly Codes, Correction, Election Law, and Judiciary Committees) and Senior Associate Counsel in the Office of Counsel to the Majority for the New York State Assembly. He served as Counsel for Investigations in the Office of State Comptroller, Assistant District Attorney for Columbia County, and a trial examiner in the New York City Office of Collective Bargaining and was in private law practice in New York City and Columbia County. He co-authored The History of the New York Court of Appeals, 1932-2003 (Columbia U. Press, 2006) and has written on other topics. Mr. Agata is a graduate of the New York State School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University and the Cornell Law School. He is a member of the New York State Bar Association and the American Bar Association.
Code of Conduct and Recusal Policy
Members of the Joint Commission on Public Ethics (“Commission”) should recuse themselves from Commission deliberations or votes on matters relating to any organization, entity or individual where their impartiality in the deliberation or vote might be reasonably questioned.