Carlucci switches staff, moves bodies downstate
BY CARLOS GONZALEZ
ALBANY- Three of the four original staffers hired by Senator David Carlucci (D-Rockland County) are no longer on Senate staff, records indicate.
Communications director Erin Dennin, legislative director Scott Solomon, and executive aide Stephen Papas’ departure off payroll was due to a staffing overhaul approved by the freshman Senator.
“There was some staff consolidation to make sure we had resources covering our needs in the district,” said Jason Elan in a statement responding to our inquiry.
As of today, all eight of Carlucci’s staffers are now based in his district office, which includes Elan, the new communications director. According to Elan, Carlucci’s office had over 700 constituent cases the first year and he “wanted to make sure there was full support within his district.”
Due to the high caseload, five staffers are now dedicated to constituent services – with the addition of the office manager who is available as additional support. Original staffer and current chief-of-staff Jay Martin heads up the newly-designed team and will absorb double-duty on legislative matters in Albany.
Four Democratic state senators, including Carlucci, broke from their party’s conference to form their own Independent Democratic Conference last January. Though small in size, the IDC is disciplined, collectively productive, and well-funded.
Senator Carlucci’s Albany office is covered by Sarah Bangs, an IDC committee support specialist, along with legislative interns. Having that IDC resource covering Albany is an added advantage for Carlucci. It opened up the door for the staffing shift.
It’s not unusual for a freshmen senator on either side of the aisle to shift and adjust staff after serving one year in office. Many do it.
However, the staffing shuffle did raise some eyebrows among staffers in the Albany circuit particularly with the loss of Dennin and Solomon, who both transferred from the Senate Democratic Conference’s payroll in January of 2011 to join Carlucci.
During the initial stages of the IDC creation, both Dennin and Solomon facilitated and tried to quell many of the contentious relationships that developed between the IDC and minority member offices.
Dennin and Solomon were not available for comment.
Stephen Papas, we’re told, moved on to pursue a Master’s degree.