SAPA 2019-20 Board of Directors
THOMAS LUKACS (Chair) – Tom is Director of Risk Management for the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) and serves as DFS’s Internal Control Officer, and Emergency Management Planning Coordinator. Tom oversees DFS’s internal control program and monitors compliance with the State’s cyber security requirements and standards. From 2000 through 2013, Tom led the NYS Division of the Budget’s statewide implementation of the Internal Control, Internal Audit and Federal Single Audit programs and initiated the NYS Internal Control Task Force. In 2007, Tom created the NYS Internal Control Act Executive Briefing Book.
SORELLE L. BRAUTH (Rockefeller Award Committee Chair) – Sorelle recently retired as the Director of Administration for the New York State Department of Public Service (DPS). She began her career with NYS Government in the Rockefeller Public Management Intern Program and has had an extensive career for almost 35 years, primarily in budgeting, holding policy and management level positions with the New York State Division of the Budget as well as the State Education Department. She was also a former Director of Financial Administration for the Office of Attorney General as well as, DPS’ Director of Finance and Budget for seven years. Sorelle has degrees from both Boston University (Master’s in Educational Administration), and the State University of New York at Oneonta (Bachelor of Science).
ROBERT (BOB) CURTIN (Treasurer) – Bob is a Certified Public Accountant and currently the Director of Financial Administration for the NYS Office of General Services where he is responsible for operation of the Procurement, Budget and Accounting Units as well as implementing agency wide changes brought on by the Statewide Financial Management System (SFS), the Business Services Center (BSC) and changes in agency policy. Prior to assuming this position, Bob was an internal auditor at OGS and was responsible for the operation for the Internal Audit Unit From 1997 to 2015. Previously he worked with the New York State Comptroller’s Office Bureau of Management Audit beginning his career in October of 1986.
CATHERINE DURAND (Vice-Chair & Membership Chair) – Most recently, Catherine was a finance consultant to the City of Albany where she worked on a variety of budget, finance and organizational issues. Catherine retired from the New York State Division of the Budget where she held the position of Deputy Director. Prior to returning to the Division of the Budget, where she previously worked for over 20 years, Catherine was the Deputy Chief Information Officer at the NYS Office for Technology and a Deputy Commissioner at the State Department of Agriculture and Markets. Catherine has a Bachelor of Science from Colby College and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Kentucky.
RAQUEL GONZALEZ (Communications & Marketing Chair) – Raquel is the Deputy Chief of Staff at the NYS Department of Financial Services. Prior to her NYS service, Raquel was an appointee in the Obama administration at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Peace Corps, The White House, the U.S. Department of Education, and the U.S. Department of Energy. Raquel is a 2018 Fellow of the Capital District New Leaders Council and a Class 17 Fellow of LEAD New York. Raquel earned a Master of Science and Bachelor of Arts from George Mason University, and a Master of Arts from the University of Malta.
KAREN KIRSTEIN (Secretary) – Karen is currently an Excelsior Service Fellow in the Nonprofit Coordination Unit of the NYS Executive Chamber. She served as a Women and Public Policy Fellow with the Center for Women in Government and Civil Society and served at the NYS Department of Labor in the Youth Unit of Workforce Solutions. Prior to her NYS service, Karen was a Program Administration HIPAA Compliance Specialist with Schenectady Works, City Mission. Additionally, she has served as a project manager for the ARC of New York, an Education Specialist for the Office of Assessment for the NYS Education Department, and a long-term replacement teacher for almost 10 years with the Schenectady City School District. Karen has a Master in Public Administration from Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy.
EUGENE (GENE) MONACO (Excellence Awards Program Chair) – Gene is a Public Service Professor and for the past 25 years has served as Executive Director of the Professional Development Program (PDP) of Rockefeller College, one of the largest university-based continuing professional education programs in the nation. Monaco has over 30 years of experience in the design and delivery of instructional activities. Before coming to the UAlbany in 1986, Gene served as the Dean of Continuing Education and the Executive Director of the Public and Community Service Project at Hudson Valley Community College. He has also served as an adjunct faculty member at Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations, the College of Saint Rose, and Schenectady County Community College. He is the co-author of two books on government and technology.
ANDREW MORRIS – Andy is the Executive Deputy Commissioner for the NY State Department of Taxation and Finance. He has served in previous executive positions with the Department. During the course of his career, Andy has advanced the Department’s efforts in the growth of electronic filing of tax returns and payments; implementation of advanced document, tax return and payment processing technologies; and, cost savings initiatives. In 2017 he was a recipient of SAPA’s Public Service Excellence Award, and on two occasions he received his agency’s Commissioner’s Award in recognition of his outstanding and dedicated service. Andrew has a Masters in Public Administration from George Washington University and a bachelor’s degree at Siena College. Prior to joining Tax, Andy was with the Office of the Secretary, U.S. Department of the Treasury where he began his career as a presidential management fellow.
STEPHEN L. SCHECHTER (Program Director) – Stephen is a Professor of Political Science at Russel Sage College in Troy where he also directs the Council for Citizenship Education. He teaches Public Policy, State Government, Community Politics and Civic Leadership. Newly elected to the SAPA Board in 2016, Stephen recently completed a stint as Editor-in-Chief of the Encyclopedia of America Governance.
ASHLEIGH-ANN-SUTHERLAND – Ashleigh-Ann is a Budget Examiner in the NYS Division of the Budget’s Public Health Section where she serves as the examiner for the NYS Office of Aging. She also works on various Department of Health Programs in her role as a Budget Examiner. Prior to her employment with the DOB, Ashleigh-Ann had several internships and fellowships including a fellowship with the Center for Women In Government and Civil Society, internships with Civil Service’s Division of Classification and Compensation, the Office of Senator Jose Peralta and Senator Timothy Kennedy. Ashleigh-Ann was a teaching Assistant at the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy, and holds a Master’s in Public Administration and a Certificate in Public Health Fundamentals and Principles.
JENNIFER TRODDEN – Jennifer is a Deputy Commissioner with the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets, overseeing the Divisions of Food Safety Inspection, Milk Control & Dairy Services, Emergency Management and the NYS Food Laboratory. Prior to rejoining the ranks of public service, Jennifer worked as the New York Health, Safety and Environment Manager at PepsiCo, spent more than 10 years at the State University of New York’s Poly Technical Institute as their Health, Safety and Environment Manager, was an environmental & safety consultant to General Electric, was the Quality Control Manager at SCILAB, and was a health inspector at the Department of Health in Dublin, Ireland. Jennifer has been executing public policy for over 20 years; holds a master’s degree in Environmental Health from Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, is a Certified Safety Professional, is an advisory member of numerous boards across New York and the United States and a member of the American Society of Safety Engineers and the Board of Safety Professionals.
FRANKLIN HECHT (Immediate Past Chair) – Franklin retired as the Director of Financial Administration and Budgeting for the New York State Office of General Services where he oversaw all of this agency’s financial management, budgeting and accounting. He was a past member of the SAPA Board of Directors, and after a brief hiatus, he was again elected to the Board in 2016.
JOAN SULLIVAN (Excellence Awards Program Chair) – Joan recently retired as the Executive Director of the New York State Forum for Information Resource Management. Prior to her current post, Joan had a long, distinguished career with the State of New York in executive level positions.