Hochul says her new JCOPE appointments are an “important first step” toward reform

Gov. Kathy Hochul has announced appointments to the Joint Commission on Public Ethics. The governor is appointing James Dering to serve as the acting chair of the Commission and the Honorable Randall Hinrichs to serve on the Commission.

Hochul also announced that she is beginning a process to review and reform JCOPE. Part of that process will include soliciting input from good government groups, legislators, and other stakeholders to improve ethics oversight in New York state.

JCOPE came under mounting criticism while Andrew Cuomo was governor due to leaks related to its oversight role. “I am committed to open, ethical governing that New Yorkers will trust. These appointments are an important first step and reflect the urgency required for the ethics body to conduct its business,” Hochul said.

Since 2015, Commissioner Dering has been a partner at Garfunkel Wild P.C , a law firm that focuses on serving the business and legal needs of clients in the healthcare industry and other areas such as home care and business. Prior to joining Garfunkel Wild, Commissioner Dering served as General Counsel of the New York State Department of Health and served as the Department’s Deputy General Counsel and Director of the Bureau of House Counsel earlier in his career. Dering also has worked on the Department’s response to public health threats such as Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee, Superstorm Sandy and Ebola.

He was also involved in implementation of legislation such as the Compassionate Care Act (Medical Marijuana Program) and the Marriage Equality Act. Commissioner Dering received a B.S. in Business Management from Ithaca College in 1988 and a J.D., cum laude, from Albany Law School of Union University in 1991.

Hinrichs served as the Suffolk County District Administrative Judge. As the Administrative Judge, Hinrichs was responsible for the operation of the Suffolk County trial courts, serving the needs of 1.5 million citizens of Suffolk County and the oversight of 1000 employees and more than 70 judges.

Prior, Judge Hinrichs served as the Supervising Judge of the Suffolk County Court from April 25, 2008 until his appointment as District Administrative Judge. Before joining the bench, Judge Hinrichs served in the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office from March 1982 to December 2001. Judge Hinrichs is a graduate of Bucknell University and the State University of New York at Buffalo Law School.