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Magical wunderkind lobbyist Micah Lasher gets promoted

Having won Mayor Bloomberg pretty much all he hoped for in the mayoral control fight, but not much in this week’s Race to the Top-inspired fracas, wunderkind Micah Lasher is getting a promotion. Bloomberg just announced 28-year-old Lasher will now head up all of the city’s Albany affairs as “director of state legislative affairs.”

The move leaves Lasher’s gig as head of external affairs at the city Department of Education wide open. He had just taken the job over from Chris Cerf, leaving his spot as chief lobbyist for the city schools, and was splitting Cerf’s duties with fellow young-up-and-comer John White.

“External affairs” means working with lovable characters including elected officials, community groups, and the press. A new addition to that team, Lenny Speiller, will stay on while the department tries to find him a new boss.

Lasher is a cheerfully hard-working graduate of Stuyvesant High School who once warred with his principal as editor of the Stuy Spectator and the author of a book of magic tricks. Bloomberg’s press release after the jump:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 21, 2010 No. 33 www.nyc.gov MAYOR BLOOMBERG ANNOUNCES APPOINTMENT OF MICAH LASHER AS DIRECTOR OF STATE LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS New Position of Fiscal Director of State Legislative Affairs Created to Increase the City’s Advocacy on State Budget Matters Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today announced the appointment of Micah C. Lasher as Director of State Legislative Affairs. As Director, Lasher will be responsible for leading the Administration’s State legislative agenda, relations with the Office of the Governor and State legislators and preparing the Administration’s response to and negotiation of all proposed State legislation impacting New York City. The Mayor also appointed Timothy F. Mulligan as Fiscal Director of State Legislative Affairs, a newly created position specifically dedicated to working on State budget issues. Lasher currently serves as Executive Director of External Affairs for the Department of Education, where he oversees government affairs, community relations, media relations and the Office for Family Engagement and Advocacy. Working with previous Director of State Legislative Affairs Michelle L. Goldstein, Lasher helped lead the successful effort to negotiate and pass the renewal of mayoral control of the City’s school system. Goldstein was appointed Executive Director of the City’s Office of Federal Affairs earlier this month. Mulligan currently serves Assistant Director for Intergovernmental Relations for the Office of Management and Budget, where he has worked on all aspects of the State’s budget and its impact on New York City, including Tier V pension reform. He also analyzed many pieces of federal legislation, including the impact of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 on the City. The Mayor also announced Deputy Director of State Legislative Affairs Steven Williams has been given an expanded portfolio and increased responsibilities in advocating for the City in Albany. Micah has quickly proven himself to be an invaluable asset to our Administration and New Yorkers will be well served by having an advocate with his skill and dedication working for the City’s priorities in Albany, said Mayor Bloomberg. So many of the City’s initiatives require State approval, and we have an ambitious agenda we want to achieve – ensuring the City is being treated fairly in the state budget process, creating an affordable pension system for new City employees, extending the progress in our schools, continuing our fight against illegal guns and reducing the unfunded mandates that unfairly burden city taxpayers. Michelle Goldstein did great work for us over the last three years, and I’m confident that we have the right leader and we have the right team in place to build on that. Creating a new, senior-level position specifically dedicated to working on State budget matters speaks to the importance of the State budget for the City, said Director of the Office of Management and Budget Mark Page. Tim’s constant presence in the State budget process will allow us to efficiently and effectively work to discern the impact of State proposals and ensure the City is treated fairly by the State. During these difficult economic times, we have to identify opportunities to restructure the City-State relationship to achieve joint savings and preserve vital services for New Yorkers and Tim will help lead that effort. It’s been a great honor working on behalf of the City’s schools and I’m humbled that the Mayor is giving me the opportunity to continue that work and responsibility for the City’s broader legislative agenda, said Lasher. I come to the job with great respect for the members of the legislature, and will work day and night to partner with them in seeing the City through these difficult economic times. Before joining the Bloomberg Administration, Lasher served as a chief aide to U.S. Representative Jerrold L. Nadler and was a founding partner of KnickerbockerSKD, a communications consulting firm advising elected officials at all levels of government, labor unions and leading nonprofits. He holds a bachelor’s degree from New York University. He lives on Manhattan’s Upper West Side with his wife. Mulligan will continue in his role as Assistant Director for Intergovernmental Relations for the Office of Management and Budget, which he has held since 2006, while also assuming the new role of Fiscal Director of State Legislative Affairs. Prior to joining OMB, Mulligan served as Deputy Commissioner for Legislative Affairs at the City’s Human Resources Administration. He is a graduate of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, New York University School of Law and the NYC Urban Fellows Program. He lives in Queens with his wife and their three children. Williams, who has been a member of the Mayor’s State legislative team since 2006, has led efforts to secure crucial state funding for education, economic development projects and in the passage of tax policy initiatives to help balance the City’s budget and further economic development. He has played a vital role in the passage of job creation legislation, an energy cost savings program and most significant reform of the City’s tax code since the 1980s. Williams also provides day to day oversight of the Albany office and manages the City’s legislative program. He has more than 20 years of experience working in Albany, including serving as Special Assistant to the Governor for Education and Economic Development in the Pataki Administration, Director of Public Affairs to the State Assembly Minority Conference, as well as positions with the New York State School Boards Association and the Partnership for New York City. Williams holds a bachelor’s degree from University at Albany, State University of New York. He has two children and lives with his wife in Loudonville, NY.