Public Advocate-elect Tish James Announces Top Appointments

By Colby Hamilton on December 31, 2013 4:40pm 

 Public Advocate-elect Letitia James appointed a number of top appointees to her administration on December 31, 2013.
Public Advocate-elect Letitia James appointed a number of top appointees to her administration on December 31, 2013.
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DNAinfo/Alan Neuhauser

CIVIC CENTER — Public Advocate-elect Letitia James rolled out top appointments to her office, as she prepares to take over for her outgoing successor, Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio.

According to a source close to the decisions, James’ appointments reflect both her outspoken liberalism in office, as well her history as an attorney herself. “You can expect the public advocate's office to be a legal hub for progressive activity,” the source said.

Leading the list of new hires are two experienced lawyers with experience in both government and non-profit law.

Chaumtoli Huq, who is an associate professor of law at the New York School of Law and a former director of litigation at Manhattan Legal Services, will take over as general counsel for litigation.

“The legal and policy team will seek out ways to advance progressive policies, improve the things that are working, and reform those that are not,” James said in a statement, going on to call the group “some of the best, the brightest, and most driven individuals in government.”

Additionally, Larry Schimmel, who previously served deputy general counsel in former Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum’s office, will take over as general counsel for investment and operations.

James also tapped Amber Greene as her policy director. Greene was most recently in a similar position for the Bill Thompson mayoral campaign, after serving in the city’s Office of Emergency Management. She will be joined by Laura Acosta, an upper Manhattan community organizer, serving as director of scheduling and advance for the Public Advocate’s office.

James also tapped Umair Khan, a former legal aide to State Senator Kevin Parker, to serve as deputy counsel for litigation.

The Public Advocate-elect will be sworn in on Wednesday during a ceremony with Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio and Comptroller-elect Scott Stringer.

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