Melissa DeRosa

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Melissa DeRosa

As part of a major reorganization of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s second-term administration, Melissa DeRosa, his chief of staff, was appointed Monday as the governor’s secretary, to serve as Mr. Cuomo’s chief assistant.

An Albany veteran, Ms. DeRosa, 34, is the first woman to hold the position. He succeeds William J. Mulrow, a former senior executive of the Blackstone Group, who will become president of Mr. Cuomo’s 2018 re-election campaign, a Democrat.

The promotion of Ms. DeRosa, a loyal loyalist who is credited with directing some of Mr. Cuomo’s greatest legislative victories, also resurrects a lot of questions about her family ties to industries with business with the government State.

His father, Giorgio DeRosa, is one of New York’s most powerful lobbyists in his capacity as a partner at Bolton-St. Johns in Albany. His many clients put him in direct contact with state officials and legislators. His brother Joseph DeRosa is also a member of the firm’s lobbying team.

And Ms. Derosa’s husband, Matthew Wing, is a senior uber executive in Manhattan, where he oversees public relations for the northeastern United States. In the $153 billion state budget that was enacted this month, Uber and other transportation services got permission to expand north of the state.

When Ms. DeRosa was appointed chief of staff of the director of communications in December 2015, the governor’s office said she would not engage in discussions on issues where her family members had interests. On Monday, Mr Cuomo’s office repeated that guarantee.
ImageMr. Cuomo and Ms. DeRosa in January after meeting with President-elect Donald J. Trump at Trump Tower in Manhattan.
Mr. Cuomo and Ms. DeRosa in January after meeting with President-elect Donald J. Trump at Trump Tower in Manhattan. Credit… Victor J. Blue for The New York Times

Dani Lever, the governor’s spokesman, said Ms. DeRosa “has been and continues to be challenged by any matter relating to her father, brother and husband.”

As a lobbyist, Giorgio DeRosa has worked on several acquisition projects, according to Bolton-St. Johns’ website. They include a state prescription drug program, which the company values at $1 billion per year, and a mental health contract, valued at $120 million a year. The company also said that Mr. DeRosa made money for a football stadium in Rochester and led efforts to deregulate the cell phone industry.

Ms. DeRosa began working in politics at an early age. At age 16, she served as an intern for the New York State political director A.F.L.-C.I.O. After graduating from Cornell with bachelor’s and master’s degrees, DeRosa did political campaigning and public relations work before leading President Barack Obama’s national political action organization in New York State.

From there, he went to work in 2011 for the state attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, as deputy chief of staff and acting chief of staff. Neal Kwatra, who served as Mr. Schneiderman’s chief of staff and now runs a political consulting firm, called Ms. DeRosa a “quadruple threat.”

“Most people have their lanes, but she does politics, strategy, messaging and organization,” she said. “You don’t work as hard as someone like her if you don’t care what you’re doing and who you’re impacting.”

Ms. DeRosa then entered Mr. Cuomo’s inner circle, first as director of communications and then as a strategic adviser before becoming her chief of staff. Since then he has emerged as perhaps his closest adviser.

Gerald Benjamin, a professor of political science at the State University of New York in New Paltz, said he did not believe that Ms. DeRosa’s family connections should thwart her rise in state politics. “The governor’s secretary is a mega-administrative job,” he said. “It’s for the government to work. My general view is that a person should not be excluded from his career as a result of his relationships with others.”
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