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Long IslandPoliticsSpin Cycle

Resignations, accusations: More turmoil for state ethics panel

The state ethics panel stepped into more controversy Wednesday.

The panel, known as the Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE), surprised no one when it hired an ex-Cuomo aide to be its new director, Letizia Tagliafierro. The decision came after some non-Cuomo appointees on the board asked to do a national search for a new director.

Immediately after the vote, Ellen Yaroshefsky, the commissioner who asked for the national search, resigned. She became the third commissioner to resign from JCOPE, which has been accused of lacking independence from the Cuomo administration. Previously, Ravi Batra and Patrick Bulgaro, both legislative appointees as opposed to gubernatorial, stepped down.

Later, when JCOPE announced the hiring of Tagliaferro, another commissioner reportedly complained that the board's news release inaccurately depicted the vote as unanimous when in fact it was 9-5.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo drove the creation of JCOPE in 2011. Besides losing board members, it's gone through executive directors and chairmen as well.

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