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Hochul announces appointments to Joint Commission on Public Ethics

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Tue, Sep 14th 2021 05:30 pm

Hon. C. Randall Hinrichs to serve on commission; Commissioner James E. Dering to serve as acting chair

√ Begins process to reform JCOPE & improve ethics oversight in New York

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced appointments to the Joint Commission on Public Ethics. She is designating Commissioner James E. Dering to serve as acting chair of the commission, and appointing the Hon. C. Randall Hinrichs to serve on the commission as a governor's appointee. Hochul also announced she is beginning a process to review and reform JCOPE, and, as part of that process, will solicit input from good government groups, legislators and other stakeholders to improve ethics oversight in New York.

"As I said on day one of becoming governor, I am committed to open, ethical governing that New Yorkers will trust. These appointments are an important first step and reflect the urgency required for the ethics body to conduct its business," Hochul said. "We are committed to instituting bold reforms of JCOPE, which is why my administration will work with legislators, good government groups and the public to reform ethics oversight and ensure that the work of this ethics body is beyond reproach."

Dering will serve as acting chair of the commission. He is a partner at Garfunkel Wild P.C., a law firm that focuses on serving the business and legal needs of clients in the health care industry and other areas. Dering works in the Albany 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 adviser to the commissioner of health and oversaw approximately 125 attorneys and staff. 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, 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.

Hinrichs has been appointed to the commission. He previously served as Suffolk County district administrative judge. In that capacity, he was responsible for the operation of the Suffolk County trial courts, serving the needs of approximately 1.5 million citizens, and including the oversight of nearly 1,000 employees and more than 70 judges. Prior, Hinrichs served as the supervising judge of the Suffolk County Court from April 25, 2008, until his appointment as district administrative judge. Before joining the bench, Hinrichs served in the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office from March 1982 to December 2001. Hinrichs serves as an adjunct professor in the criminal justice program at Suffolk Community College. He has also lectured at the Suffolk County Bar Association, the Suffolk County Criminal Bar Association, and has addressed forums at the Touro Law Center. Hinrichs is a graduate of Bucknell University and the State University of New York at Buffalo Law School.

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