Dierdre Scozzafava is the New York Department of State’s Deputy Secretary for Local Government. She works to help streamline municipal government across the state and supervises the Local Government Division’s technical assistance, training and grant programs. This includes Local Government Efficiency grants, the Appalachian Region Development program, and Community Service Block grants. Governor Andrew Cuomo appointed “Dede” Scozzafava as Deputy Secretary in January 2011. She previously served for more than a decade in the New York State Assembly representing the 122nd Assembly District, which includes most of St. Lawrence and Lewis Counties and a small portion of Oswego County.
Deputy Secretary Scozzafava launched her career in public office by serving four years as a trustee in her hometown Village of Gouverneur, and then as mayor of Gouverneur from 1993 through 1998. In the State Assembly, she became the first woman to serve as minority leader pro tempore for the Republican Conference. In that role, she was responsible for leading debates and pushing the agenda of the conference. While in office, Scozzafava focused on constituent services and took a bipartisan approach to governing. She fought for the North Country’s diverse interests of manufacturing, agriculture, hunting and fishing, labor, tourism, environment, the Seaway, Fort Drum and higher education.
Scozzafava has an in-depth knowledge and concern for economic development and local economic issues.
She holds a B.S. from the Boston University School of Management, and an M.B.A. from the Clarkson University Graduate School of Management. Her business experience includes 20 years of advisory work with the investment firm of Tucker Anthony.
Bios of Local Government Staff
Paul Beyer is the State Director of Smart Growth Planning at the NYS Department of State. In this position, Paul promotes the principles of Smart Growth on the state, regional and local level in New York. Paul's experience in land use and Smart Growth began when he worked in the New York State Legislature, where he focused on land use, environmental and public health policy. Paul served on the Planning Board in the Town of Amherst, NY for five years, where he helped develop the town’s Comprehensive Plan. Paul also served on the Board of Directors of Partners for a Livable Western New York, the premier Smart Growth advocacy group in the Buffalo-Niagara region. Paul has a law degree from the University at Buffalo.
Patricia Burke is a Land Use Training Specialist with the New York State Department of State. Prior to her service at the Department of State, she worked at the New York State Office of Real Property Services. Ms. Burke holds a master’s degree in Regional Planning from the State University of New York at Albany, with an environmental concentration that studied wind turbine planning considerations, and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from St. John Fisher College in Rochester. Prior to her public service, she was an editor for a national legal publishing firm.
Christopher Eastman is manager of the Land Use Training and Technical Assistance program at the New York Department of State. He received a master’s degree in regional planning from the State University of New York at Albany in 2002. The focus of his study included site-value taxation, an alternative approach to property taxation in which land is taxed at a rate greater than the buildings on it in infill areas to provide incentive for development. In addition to having been a planner at the city and county levels, Mr. Eastman has worked for the Preservation League of New York State and on his own, restoring old windows.
Christopher Grant is a Land Use Training Specialist with the New York State Department of State, which is responsible for administering the Local Government Efficiency (LGE) program. This program provides financial and technical assistance to improve the efficiency of local governments. Mr. Grant joined the Department of State in 2007 after working in the banking industry, where he was a Director in charge of commercial real estate lending. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Urban and Economic Geography from the University of Toronto, a Master of Business Administration from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business, and recently completed a Masters of Urban and Regional Planning at the University at Albany, SUNY.
Catherine M. Hamlin
Catherine Hamlin has been with the Department of State as a Land Use Training Specialist since 2007. Previously, she worked as the Washington County Planner for more than five years. Catherine earned both her Bachelor of Arts Degree and her Master’s Degree from the State University of New York at Albany. Her post-graduate course work focused on urban issues and planning, with independent study in the areas of smart growth and new urbanism. Catherine resides in Glens Falls where she has been active in her community and the region, serving on various boards and committees, including the Glens Falls City Planning Board; the Queensbury/Glens Falls Joint Committee on Smart Growth; the Champlain Watershed Improvement Coalition of New York; and the Adirondack Resource, Conservation and Development Council.
George W. Korchowsky
George Korchowsky is a Land Use Training Specialist (LUTS II) with the Department of State’s Division of Local Government. He works for the New York State Appalachian Regional Commission program, a 13-State program that promotes socioeconomic development throughout the spine of the Appalachian Mountains. George joined the Department of State in September 2007. Prior to that, he had been a finance professional with over 15 years of Wall Street financial analysis and advisory experience, including eight years as a ratings analyst with Standard & Poor’s. In addition, George is a recently retired Navy Reserve officer, retiring as a Captain in 2007, and he served for 12 years as an appointed member of one of New York City’s Community Boards. George has a Bachelor of Science in Political Science (International Affairs) and Naval Engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy and a Master of Business Administration in Management from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). He has also been on the faculty of Albany Academy’s Social Studies Department and of Siena College’s Department of Finance.
Sean Maguire, AICP
Sean M. Maguire, AICP is a certified planner and Land Use Training Specialist with the New York State Department of State. Mr. Maguire presents training programs and provides technical assistance to local municipal officials on government efficiency, intermunicipal cooperation and land use planning. He is a graduate of the University at Albany with degrees in Geography and Regional Planning. Mr. Maguire is currently completing coursework in Public Administration and Local Government Management. Previously, Mr. Maguire was the Senior Economic Development Planner for Albany County where he administered the Albany County Empire Zone and the Albany County Planning Board. Mr. Maguire supports an intermunicipal approach to planning and economic development. At home, Mr. Maguire is a fire district commissioner and volunteer firefighter in the Town of Guilderland, NY.
Robert Roeckle is Land Use Training Specialist with the New York State Department of State assigned to the Local Government Efficiency program. Mr. Roeckle presents training programs and provides technical assistance to local municipal officials on government efficiency, intermunicipal cooperation and land use planning. Prior to joining New York State in 2007, Mr. Roeckle spent 21 years as a Building Inspector, Code Enforcement Officer and Zoning Enforcement Officer; most recently for the Town of Wilton, administering both the Building Code and the Zoning Ordinance for the town and providing review of all planning and zoning applications to the town. He is a graduate of the State University at Buffalo and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Design.
Joann Ryan is a Land Use Training Specialist with the New York State Department of State’s Office of Local Government, Coastal Resources and Community Sustainability. She is a grant administrator for the Local Government Efficiency program, a statewide program for municipalities sharing services and the New York City Watershed Partnership and Protection Council, an agency assisting the New York City Watershed communities protect the City’s water supply. Ms. Ryan’s public sector experience also includes serving as a legislative analyst in the New York State Senate and as principal planning staff for the City of Albany Board of Zoning Appeals. Joann returns to public service after a ten year stint working in the fast paced telecommunications industry performing all phases of site acquisition, project planning and development.
Erin Thomas is a Land Use Training Specialist with the New York State Department of State's Division of Local Government. Prior to her service with the Department of State, she worked for the City of Cohoes, NY in several capacities over the course of four years. Starting in 2003 as the Administrator for the Cohoes Local Development Corporation, her work focused on developing support services for new and existing businesses, and administering grants for residential and commercial rehabilitation, primarily in the downtown business district. As City Planner and Zoning Enforcement Officer, she was responsible for oversight of the Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals, and Historic Preservation & Architectural Review Board. Her contributions also included assistance with a city-wide rezoning that took effect in mid-2006. She possesses a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and Urban Studies & Planning from the State University at Albany.
Carl Ublacker is a Land Use Training Specialist with the New York State Department of State, Division of Local Government. He holds a B.A. in Environmental Science with a study option in Natural Resources, Planning and Management from SUNY Plattsburgh. A former National Park Ranger, Carl also previously worked for the Department of Environmental Conservation. In his spare time, Carl teaches and practices karate at a nonprofit martial arts dojo.
Kyle Wilber is a Municipal Management Consultant with the New York State Department of State. He has dedicated the majority of his professional career, as well as much of his public life to local government service. This has included the promotion of sustainable communities through programs like the New York City Watershed Memorandum of Agreement and the New York State Quality Communities Initiative. Currently, Kyle is responsible for the implementation of the Local Government Efficiency program to assist local governments identify opportunities to reduce costs and increase the efficiencies of local service delivery. He is also the New York State Program Manager, for the Appalachian Regional Commission, a federal-state-local partnership that promotes community development throughout the spine of the Appalachian Mountains. In his free time he is very active in local government activities in his home community, currently serving as the Chairman of the Town of Ghent Zoning Board of Appeals and as a Lieutenant in the Ghent Volunteer Fire Company. Kyle holds a Bachelors Degree in Geography and Urban Planning from the University of Binghamton.
John-David Wood (J-D)
J-D Wood is a Land Use Training Specialist with the New York State Department of State. He received a master’s degree in Regional Planning from the State University of New York at Albany in 2003, and holds a B.A. in Behavioral Sciences from SUNY Plattsburgh. A former National Park Ranger and Parks & Recreation seasoned veteran (prior to his career in planning), J-D applies his passion for open space, smart growth and preservation of natural and historic resources to his current work. J-D has worked for several Capital Region planning firms, local government planning and advisory boards.