The top counsel to Republicans who control the state Senate is stepping “away from the position” after four years on the job.
Elizabeth Garvey, a graduate of Albany Law School, was first appointed counsel to the Senate Republican majority in August 2013 by then-Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos. She had previous stints working in the state Senate as assistant counsel and as an associate at Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker.
Garvey’s departure was announced on Aug. 4 by Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, who praised Garvey.
“Beth is a true professional who juggled many difficult tasks over the course of more than four years in this position, and she has always served our conference with passion and with dedication,” Flanagan said. Garvey’s last day is scheduled for Sept. 15, according to a spokesman for Flanagan. Garvey, through a Senate spokesman, did not return a request for an interview. It’s not immediately clear who will replace Garvey, who aided in negotiating the state budget.
The announcement of Garvey’s departure came mere days before Flanagan announced that he completed treatment for alcohol abuse.
After an inquiry by Newsday, Flanagan released a statement Sunday afternoon saying that he recognized “alcohol was becoming a crutch to deal with pressure I was under related to my responsibilities as majority leader of the New York state Senate.
“I took this step to ensure this dependency would not affect my ability to do my job or represent my constituents or the members of our Senate Republican majority. This is a step I needed to take for myself and for my family, and it will allow me to continue to serve and to give back to my community and state,” the Republican senator added.
Late last month, a study by the American Bar Association found that a third of lawyers suffer from alcohol abuse. The drinking culture in law firms and among lawmakers in Albany, where legislators frequent fundraisers and bars after hours, could enable alcohol abuse. Flanagan, of Suffolk County, ascended to the chamber’s top position after the corruption charges against Skelos were lodged in 2015. Earlier Flanagan was of counsel at Long Island-based law firm Forchelli, Curto, Deegan, Schwartz, Mineo & Terrana but left that job to assume the post.
Flanagan said a determination on Garvey’s replacement “will be made in the coming weeks, but I am confident that we have a number of top staffers with the experience and institutional knowledge to ably lead us forward, starting with Shawn MacKinnon, secretary of Senate finance and a two-decades-plus veteran of the Senate,” he said.
Several other top lawyers also are slated to depart the state Senate. A spokesman for Flanagan confirmed a Daily News report that first assistant counsel Rebecca Lovullo and senior counsel Tim Atkins are slated to leave in the near future.
Frank Alleva, a graduate of the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University, who has served as assistant counsel for the Senate majority for nearly four years focusing on insurance policy, has already stepped down.