Senate Approves Members To Key Transportation, Agriculture And Parole Boards

February 23, 2010

The New York State Senate confirmed 15 appointees to key boards today, including members to the Racing and Wagering Board, Board of Parole, Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks and Recreation, Advisory Council on Agriculture, Transportation, State Insurance Fund, and Finance.


Charles J. Diamond; Member, New York State Racing and Wagering Board

Mr. Diamond possesses over 30 years of management experience and currently serves as Director for Cable Telecommunications Association of New York, where he is responsible for overseeing the production and distribution of assessment reports on the role of the cable industry in New York’s economy. After beginning his career as a teacher, he served as District Chief of Staff to U.S. Representative Michael R. McNulty and Director of Parks and Recreation for the city of Watervliet. Also, he has been a Council Member of the city of Watervliet since 1996. Mr. Diamond received his B.S. from Niagara University.

Betsy F. Gotbaum; Member, State Board of Parole

Ms. Gotbaum has had a long and distinguished career in both the public and private sectors. She began her career in government in the 1970s, serving Mayor John Lindsay as District Manager for the Chelsea Clinton Neighborhood, Assistant for Women’s Issues, and Assistant for Education. Her first elected office was the role of Public Advocate for the City of New York, which she held from 2002-2009. Before that she served as President of the New York Historical Society and Commissioner of New York City Parks and Recreation. She also worked as advisor to three mayors amongst her various occupations. Ms. Gotbaum received her B.A. from George Washington University, and her M.S. from Teachers College, Columbia University.

Robert K. Bergan; Member, Finger Lakes State Park, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commission

An attorney for the past 30 years, Mr. Bergan has also been a very active member of the Auburn, New York community. He currently serves as the President of Auburn Public Theatre, Inc. and has served as the Past-President of Cayuga Counseling Services, Inc., United Way of Cayuga County, Inc. and Auburn Memorial Hospital, Inc. He was also a member of the Auburn City Council from 1994-1997. Mr. Bergan received his B.A. from SUNY Oswego, and J.D. from Franklin Pierce Law Center.

Keith Cornell; Member, Palisades Interstate Park Commission

Mr. Cornell currently holds the position of Partner for Cornell and Cornell, LLP, which he has held since 1994. Prior to that he was the Assistant District Attorney in the Rockland District Attorney’s Office and an Associate Attorney at Grinnell, Dubendorf, and Smith, LLP. He is the former Director of Child Care resources of Rockland and also the Rockland Conservatory of Music. He currently serves as Director for the Arts Council of Rockland, and Home Aides of Rockland. Mr. Cornell received his B.A. from Swarthmore College, and J.D. from Vermont Law School, where he serves as an Alumni Trustee Emeritus.

Michael Tannen; Member, State Park, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commission for the City of New York

Mr. Tannen is an attorney and executive with extensive experience in all areas of the media and communications industries. He has been instrumental to the success of media groups in Europe and is a founding partner of Screen Media Properties. He also owns two music publishing companies and manages the Tannen Media Investment Fund. Additionally, he has acted as an advisor to  many domestic and international entertainment companies and has represented entertainers such as Billy Joel and The Rolling Stones. An avid outdoorsman and environmentalist, Mr. Tannen served on the Board of Directors of the Rails to Trails Conservancy and currently serves on the Boards of the Mohonk Preserve and Parks and Trails New York. Mr Tannen received his J.D. from New York University Law School.

Joy D. Crist; Member, Advisory Council on Agriculture

An apple farmer for 30 years, Ms. Crist, along with her husband Jeffery, operates a 600 acre apple orchard, storage and packing facility. Her orchard maintains 40 people for year round work while an additional 120 are hired for harvest. She has been a member of the Reformed Church of America for 40 years. Since 2000, she has served on the Agricultural Advisory Council to New York State Commissioner of Agriculture, and has been a member of the Valley Central School Board since 2003. Ms. Crist received her A.A.S. from SUNY Cobleskill, and B.S. from Cornell University.

Cheryl K. Horton; Member, Advisory Council on Agriculture

For over 45 years Ms. Horton has worked as a dairy farmer at the Horton Family Farms. In 1995 she took a position off the farm, however, continues to be very involved with all farm and personal financial accounting and record keeping. From 1995-2006 Ms. Horton worked as Site Manager for Milltown Senior Housing, and she has served as Supervisor for the Town of Philadelphia since 1996. Ms. Horton is a 1960 graduate of Indian River Central School.

Daniel J. McGarr; Member,  Advisory Council on Agriculture

Mr. McGarr has been a self-employed dairy farmer and community activist for nearly 40 years. He has held many positions in several organizations throughout the years, including Member, Board of Directors of Owasco Valley Milk Producer’s Cooperative, Secretary-Treasurer, Owasco Valley Milk Producer’s Cooperative and President, New York State Holstein Association Executive Committee. In 1985 he was elected to the Southern Cayuga School District Board of Education and elected President in 1989. Mr. McGarr received his B.S. in Economics and Business Administration from Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Lisa A. Ballout; Capital District Transportation Authority

Since 1981, Ms. Ballout has been working in education, starting in Wichita, Kansas, and has been in the Capital District of New York since 1991. She has worked in the Counseling Department at Mohonosen High School and in special education at Niskayuna High School. Since 2000 she has been a tutor and substitute teacher in the Shenendehowa and Niskayuna School Districts. Ms. Ballout received her Bachelor of General Studies and Master of Education from Wichita State University.

Stella M. Barbera; Member, Republic Airport Commission

Ms. Barbera had a long and accomplished career in education before retiring from Lindenhurst Public Schools in 2001. She held several positions with the Lindenhurst school district between 1960 and 2001, including Director of Adult/Continuing and Alternative Education, District Coordinator, Teacher, and Director of the OWL Teacher Resource and Computer Training Center. She has also been given the Harvard Award for outstanding service in the field of education, and the Arch Award for service from New York University. Ms. Barbera received her B.S. from New York University, M.A. from New York University, and Professional Diploma in Educational Leadership and Administration from Long Island University.

Joseph Chavoustie; Member, Thousand Islands State Park, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commission

Mr. Chavoustie has been active in business, his community, and the military since 1968. Serving in the U.S. Army Reserves during the Vietnam War, he re-enlisted twice and served during the Gulf War. He currently serves as President of MIMAKAR, Inc. and is the owner of Aubrey’s Inn. He has served in many roles in his community, including Commissioner of NYS OPRHP – Thousand Island Region, Jefferson County Board of Supervisors, and Deputy Mayor and Trustee of the Village of Chaumont. Mr. Chavoustie is also the founder and President of Bay View Housing Corp. Senior and Low Income Housing.

Robert R. Cuculich; Member, Central New York Regional Transportation Authority

Mr. Cuculich, a Partner at Pinnacle Investments, has been in sales and investments for the past 30 years. Prior to joining Pinnacle Investments, he worked at Flagship Securities, Inc. for a decade and then moved on to Michael, Roberts Associates as a Partner, where he stayed for nearly 20 years. Mr. Cuculich received his B.A. and M.B.A. from Syracuse University.

Eileen Frank; Commissioner, State Insurance Fund

Ms. Frank is a highly decorated and active member of the Insurance Industry as an Insurance and Risk Management Services Professional with 30 years of experience in the her field. She currently serves as President of JP West, Inc., however, before the creation of JP West she worked as Vice President and Director of Underwriting, Operations and Compliance, GAN North America Insurance Co., and as an officer of Commerce and Industry Insurance Co., a division of AIG. Known for combining industry and community service, Ms. Frank established the “Life After High School” program at AIG, and also acted as chairperson of the Education and Mentoring Committee. In 2000, she was the recipient of the National Insurance Industry Association Distinguished Achiever Award and 2003 APIW/NYWA Galaxy Woman of the Year. Ms. Frank is a graduate of Dillard University.

Robert H. Hurlbut; Commissioner, State Insurance Fund

Since 1956, Mr. Hurlbut has performed in administrative and consulting capacities for nursing homes in New York, Pennsylvania and Hawaii. He has formed, founded, or organized and become president of ROHM Services, Vari-Care and Hurlbut Trust. He was appointed a Commissioner of the New York State Insurance Fund in 1989 and reappointed in 1995 and is also active in many other boards and committees. Mr. Hurlbut attended Cornell University, College of Hotel Administration.

Jeffrey Scruggs; Director, New York Convention Center Operating Corporation

Mr. Scruggs began his career as a Financial Analyst in the Municipal Securities Group at Paine Webber Incorporated. After graduation from Harvard Business School he spent many years with Paine Webber and its successor UBS, serving as a Vice President, senior banker and Manager of the Department’s Infrastructure Finance Group. He currently works as a Managing Director at Goldman, Sachs and Co. where he is co-head of the Public Sector Banking group. Mr. Scruggs received degree in Economics from Harvard College, and M.B.A. from Harvard Business College.