This question came up today as I was speaking with some folks knowledgable on the subject, and much like in sports the opinions were varied and passionate.
So I decided, for anyone who is interested to do my own top ten list (and unlike JJOKE I don't plan on putting asteriks to highlight how many mistakes Milgram made in compiling my list - seriously has anyone looked at the JJOKE release of midyear lobby statistics? the explanation for how many things they got wrong is astounding, of course none of it is their fault it's those bad lobbyists that keep over reporting), so without further adieu here is my top ten (twelve commissioners so top 12) list of JJOKE Commissioners:
12. George Weissmann - The best commissioner JJOKE has now that Bulgaro is gone. George's only fault is he doesn't hold other commissioners and staff accountable personally, he is the consumate polite professional. Grade A-
11. Judge Cavullo - A happy fellow, but don't let that Uncle Joe persona fool you he is really smart he just doesn't care enough to show you how smart he is. If I was a JJOKE staffer or commissioner I would make it a point not to piss him off. Grade B
10. David Renzi - made every meeting but only 4 in person. I make an allowance because he lives in Watertown and sometimes you just can't leave Watertown. While Renzi gets cudos for being a vocal critic of the JJOKE actions on source of funding exemptions he gets some demerits for his alleged vote flip flopping on the Lopez case after a little nudge from the second floor. His wife's job with a legislator also makes him somewhat suspect but he gets points for her being a former beauty queen. My Watertown sources tell me the Renzi clan are good people so all in all for an assembly republican pick he could have been much worse. Grade B-
9. David Arroyo - I have no clue what he has done at JJOKE, by my count he has attended 50% of the meetings in 2014 and only 3 in Albany. He hasn't spoken a meaningful word in public so as near as I can tell he is simply a reliable yes vote for the Cuomo faction. The phrase useless as teets on a bull comes to mind. Grade C
8. Seymor Knox - He is the same as Arroyo but actually makes the meetings in Albany, coming all the way from Buffalo. Doesn't say anything but I place him ahead of Arroyo because he collects travel money for showing up at the meeting without contributing anything. From what I hear he is a fun guy that enjoys playing a round of golf when he shows up for those warm weather meetings. Grade C
7. Mary Lou Rath - Only made it to Albany 3 times this year. She is just what you would expect a former State Senator to be, no clue about the issues but more vocal with the press than any of the others. I'm told she is the source for a lot of JJOKE leaks and if the media ever smartens up and starts calling her off the record she could provide some meaningful facts. Grade C-
6. Michael Romeo - Made every meeting but like Knox you have to wonder why. Has said nothing but has recused himself from several issues discussed in the numerous executive sessions, makes me wonder what an insurance agent from Long Island is doing on this commission. Grade C-
5. Gary Lavine - Gary makes the meetings and he is smart which makes it all the more frustrating when he just can't seem to muster the courage to take this commission in a positive direction. His bailing Horowitz out on several issues that were clearly being done at the 2nd floors behest makes me question his integrity on the other hand I know Gary, he is a good guy but he was picked by Larry Schwartz. He hasn't called me in a while either he's mad or he doesn't want to hear what I think. I'll give Gary the same advice he gave me when I left government "get out and embrace serendipity" It's time to leave Gary. Grade D+
4. Chairman Dan Horwitz - Not nearly as effective as a Chairman as he was as the enforcer for the 2nd floor when Difiore ran the joint. His lack of knowledge of the use of executive sessions was glaring and startling, but it is his interaction with the Silver troika that moves him to this position on the list. Why does a smart NYC lawyer put up with those hacks? If the Chairman can't put that bunch of monkeys back in the barrel he shouldn't be the chairman. His service has been rewarded though, his wife got a nice big money gig with the Battery Park Authority (and follows me on twitter which is a little weird). Compared to past Chairmen he is not as good as Mitra but far better than DiFiore, Cherkasky and Feerick. Of course I've got a ficus that would make a better Chairman than those three. Grade D
3. Marvin Jacobs - He must have been Shelly's roommate to get this gig. A very nice man and bright enough in his area of expertise but zero skills in the world of ethics and politics. He gets told what to do and just can't execute, in other words he is the Mark Sanchez of JJOKE just waiting for a butt fumble. I must admit I wish he would pull another "lets have a vote in public" moment like he did to protect Shelly in the Lopez case of course that wasn't his idea but it was entertaining. Grade F+
2. Renee Roth - Her "no" is priceless. A hack from the Queens machine and not ashamed to show it. She reminds me of my jewish grandmother at thanksgiving complaining about everything and everyone without a care in the world for how it looks. That she is in the same office with Horwitz is a bonus. Her transparent political posturing on the source of funding exemtions was a travesty of partisan politics. Would be number one on the list except she is not from NEW JERSEY. Grade F
1. Paul Casteleiro - I can only imagine what connection he had to get Shelly to appoint a New Jersey slip and fall lawyer to JJOKE. Everytime he opens his mouth he proves the adage better to be thought a fool than speak and remove all doubt. His performance on source of funding was every bit as bad as Roth's. No equity here if you are a liberal dem or a convicted felon Pauls got your back. Would love to see Paul and Renzi in an intellectual debate about anything. His comment last meeting that he needs staff to get him the material with more time to review should have received a public bitch slapping from LT or Horwitz. If you need more time or don't understand the material don't wait to the meeting to say so. A semi competent attorney could have reviewed that draft regulation in under an hour. And yes the staff screwed up again in there drafting but next time take a page from the Weismann/Cavullo book and discuss it in public session make your point and defend it, it's easy to show Rob Cohen is wrong only a coward says you need to get it to me sooner. Next time Paul forward your briefing book to Shelly's office and get your marching orders. Grade F-
Oh and by the way any of you commissioners that think you "need to teach me a lesson" just open up the meeting for public comment. I'll talk about anything having to do with JJOKE. And those 10 things I've forgotten about disclosure that you haven't thought about are just the tip of the iceberg. I'm done politely pointing out problems to LT so she can fix them. From now on when you step on your vestigulous appendage I'll just take a picture and talk about it publicly. Nothing I hate more than a bunch of inept ethics bullies picking on me, it's time to go back to the good old days and force some more resignations.
And to those that wonder why I have to make things personal (Gary Lavine) It's because thats how you get things to change. Ask yourself next time I come up in an executive meeting if your grade of D+ is effecting your thought process.
Now based on the suggestion of a former ethics commissioner I'm going to start working on an ethics Hall of shame.