Biographies

Dierdre ScozzafavaMark P. Pattison
Deputy Secretary of State for Local Government

Mark P. Pattison was appointed by Secretary of State Rossana Rosado as the Deputy Secretary for Local Government. He was previously the Director of Local Government Services at the Department of State.

Mr. Pattison also previously served as Deputy Commissioner for the Office of People with Developmental Disabilities and as a Deputy Comptroller for the Office of the State Comptroller. 

Mr. Pattison has spent many years in public service.  He was Mayor of the City of Troy from 1996 through 2003. Mr. Pattison worked at the Rensselaer County Chapter of the Association for Retarded Citizens for 20 years, including 12 years as its Director of Residential Services.

He served as Vice-President of the City of Troy's School Board, President of Vanderheyden Hall, Vice-Chair of the Rensselaer County Regional Chamber of Commerce, Chairperson of the Hudson Mohawk Heritage Area Commission and President of the New York State Association of Community and Residential Agencies. He was a trustee and faculty member of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, and has served on many community boards, including the Center for Economic Growth, the Troy Rehabilitation Improvement Program (TRIP) and the Commission for Economic Opportunity.

Mr. Pattison studied political science, economics and urban policy at the State University of New York at Oswego.  He has a Masters Degree in Organization and Management from Antioch University, Antioch New England Graduate School.  He lives on Troy’s East Side with his wife, Laura Amos, and has two children, Edward and Mary.


Ann M. Thane
Director of Local Government Services

Ann M. Thane has been appointed Director of Local Government Services at the Department of State by Secretary of State Rossana Rosado. 

Ms. Thane served as the Mayor of the City of Amsterdam, New York from 2008-2015. During her tenure, her administration secured $30 million dollars in stimulus funding and grants, renegotiated long-term water distribution agreements between the City of Amsterdam and Town of Florida as well as a sales tax redistribution agreement with Montgomery County, and upgraded the city’s bond rating to A3. She saw to the strategic rehabilitation of the city’s water, sewer and storm water distribution systems and partnered with surrounding municipalities to create one of NYS’s first land banks. She developed award-winning promotional materials and Amsterdam’s first website, focused revitalization efforts heavily on historic preservation of significant buildings, parks and neighborhoods, and instituted public safety and beautification initiatives to preserve the quality of life of the city’s residents.

She is currently a NYS Commissioner for Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and a federally-appointed Commissioner for the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor. She was an active participant on the Executive Board of the Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council for five years. She was an Executive Board member of the New York Conference of Mayors for seven years and served as President of the organization in 2015. She has been a strident community activist and advocate for Amsterdam's waterfront revitalization and downtown redevelopment for seventeen years. 

Prior to serving as Mayor, Ms. Thane was the Director of the Walter Elwood Museum for seven years. Under her direction, the Museum was recognized by the NYS Council on the Arts as an establishment that demonstrated organizational excellence and should serve as a model for other small, developing institutions in the state.

Ms. Thane began her professional career as freelance graphic artist and worked in the Northern NJ area and NYS Capital District for twenty years. She attended college at the University of Delaware with a focus on Fine Art and Art History. She lives in Amsterdam, NY with her husband, Peter and is the mother of two children, Ian and Sarah.

Bios of Local Government Staff

Michael Bopp
Michael Bopp, Special Assistant to the Deputy Secretary for Local Government for the 2020 Census Initiative, manages outreach to municipal governments to support Census activities and coordinates communications to promote public awareness of the upcoming Census count. Michael previously served as Director of Strategic Planning and Outreach for the New York State Canal Corporation and Director of Communications for the Department of Environmental Conservation. Prior to state service, Michael served as Director as Advocacy for the American Cancer Society.

Patricia Burke
Patricia Burke is a Local Government 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
Christopher Eastman is manager of the Local Government Training 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 both a city planner and a county planner, Mr. Eastman has worked for the Preservation League of New York State and, on his own, restoring old windows.

Ari Epstein
Ari Epstein is a Special Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of Local Government at the NYS Department of State. Ari is planning and implementing new initiatives to enhance local government data management and analytic capabilities. He is also assisting the Division of Local Government services in program evaluation and adoption of new technologies. Prior to joining state service, Ari was an assistant director at Cornell University responsible for shared campus governance services. Ari holds a BS from Cornell University where he studied biology, classics, and law, and a MPA and CAS in Conflict Resolution from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University where he studied government finance and innovation management.

Paula Gilbert
Paula Gilbert is a Local Government Specialist with the New York State Department of State, Division of Local Government Services. Prior to joining the team at the Department of State in 2017, she worked for three years as the Executive Director and two years as an Urban Policy Associate at the Neighborhood Preservation Coalition of NYS, Inc., a technical assistance and advocacy not-for-profit organization working with a group of more than 140 affordable housing and community development organizations within the urban and suburban neighborhoods of New York State. Paula holds a Bachelor’s of Arts in Urban Studies and Planning and a Master’s in Regional Planning from the University at Albany, where she interned with the New York Planning Federation. A lifelong urban enthusiast, Paula is a proud resident of the city of Albany with her partner Michael and has a passion for international travel and riding public transit.

Christopher Grant
Christopher Grant is a Local Government 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 Local Government Specialist since 2007. Previously, she worked as the Washington County Planner for more than five years. More recently Catherine worked as a Citizen Participation Specialist 2 with the NYS Department of Environment Conservation. She earned both her Bachelor of Arts Degree and 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 the Glens Falls area where she has been active in her community and the region, serving on various boards and committees, including 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.

Jonathan A. Moore
Jon Moore is an Excelsior Service Fellow with the New York State Department of State. Jon is coordinating initiatives to improve, aggregate and analyze data for local government program evaluation. He is also supporting other initiatives related to local government data-driven innovation. Prior to becoming an Excelsior Fellow, Jon held project management and data analysis positions in local governments and nonprofit organizations. Jon earned a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies from SUNY Cortland and a Master of Public Administration from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University.

Robert Roeckle
Robert Roeckle is Local Government 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
Joann Ryan is a Local Government Specialist with the New York State Department of State, Division of Local Government Services. Ms. Ryan joined the Division when the Local Government Efficiency (LGE) program was launched in 2005 after working in the Telecommunications Industry as a Site Acquisition Specialist and Project Manager responsible for new site builds and growth overlay development. Ryan received a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University at Albany and a Master's Degree in Urban Environmental Studies from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY. She resides in the Ten Broeck Triangle Historic District, Albany, NY where she is active in the Society of Architectural Historians, the Albany Center Art Gallery and the Mohawk Hudson Bonsai Society.

Carl Ublacker
Carl Ublacker is a Local Government 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
Kyle Wilber is a Local Government Specialist 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 Local Government 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.