Executive Office

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Samuel D. Roberts, Commissioner

The Commissioner of the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) is responsible for the overall management and direction of the Agency. The Commissioner is assisted in this function by a small number of professional and support staff. These individuals serve in a confidential assistant capacity to the Commissioner, acting as representatives on task forces, handling special projects and performing related duties in support of the Executive Office.

Executive Deputy Commissioner’s Office

Barbara C. Guinn, Executive Deputy Commissioner

The Executive Deputy Commissioner’s Office is responsible for overall agency management in partnership with the Commissioner’s office and also oversees local social service districts and works to strengthen ties between the counties and the state.

The following organizational units fall within the executive office:

Audit and Quality Improvement (A&QI)

Kevin Kehmna, Director

A&QI is the audit and investigative arm of the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA). A&QI efforts are critical in ensuring that OTDA meets its supervisory responsibilities over the administration of its programs provided by local Social Services Districts (SSDs). A&QI provides information to OTDA program management on whether locally implemented programs are in compliance with applicable State Laws and Regulations and offers recommendations for corrective action when deficiencies are identified. A&QI conducts federally mandated quality control reviews for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); collects and reports data on Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) and Safety Net Maintenance of Effort (SN-MOE) cases; undertakes program audits and operational reviews; conducts data analysis; and administers program integrity activities such as prison matches, automated finger imaging, PARIS Interstate matches, Front End Detection Systems (FEDS), Recipient Web Fraud referrals, the Lottery Match, Retailer Fraud (SLEB) agreements and SNAP Trafficking investigations. A&QI delivers Program Integrity data to SSDs and monitors their performance through the Recipient Fraud Matching System. A&QI is also responsible for the coordination of OTDA responses to external audits. Internal Audit is a separate unit co-located within Audit and Quality Improvement. The Director of A&QI also serves as the Director of Internal Audit for OTDA.

Budget, Finance, and Data Management (BFDM)

Renee Nowicki, Director

BFDM consists of three program areas: Budget Management (BM); Financial Services (FS); and, Data Management and Analysis (DMA).

BM is responsible for the development and implementation of the Agency’s annual budget; monitoring expenditures including workforce levels; and providing fiscal analyses and recommendations on cost containment, program participation, and Federal and State policy initiatives and alternatives. They are the Agency’s primary liaison with the Division of the Budget and are involved in all things fiscal policy related.

FS is responsible for establishing fiscal policies for local social services districts and State agencies including proper claiming reimbursement and cost allocation to various Federal funds; processing financial transactions needed to meet Agency operational needs and to reimburse the social services districts or other State agencies for costs incurred; and, ensuring the filing of required reports to Federal agencies. FS is the Agency’s primary contact with the Office of the State Comptroller on all things financial.

DMA is the statistical arm of the Agency and tracks and analyzes data to support the Agency’s policy analyses including trend analyses, performance measurement, external reporting (including mandated reporting) and public information needs and requirements. DMA has lead responsibility for data compilation and maintenance for the Open NY website initiative.

Legal Affairs (LA)

Krista Rock, General Counsel

Counsel’s Office is responsible for establishing and interpreting legal policy for OTDA and for providing legal advice and counsel to OTDA’s program and administrative support divisions. Counsel’s Office also provides legal advice and counsel to local social services districts and other agencies, where appropriate.

Public Information (PI)

Tim Ruffinen, Director

The Public Information Office (PIO) coordinates public information activities with the Governor’s Communications Office; prepares and/or reviews and disseminates all official OTDA statements and publications; initiates media coverage and has sole responsibility for responding to media inquiries; and responds to requests for information under the Freedom of Information Law and the Personal Privacy Protection Law.

Public Information contact information

Intergovernmental Affairs (IA)

Judi West, Director

The IA unit serves as OTDA’s liaison on legislative matters with the State Legislature, the Governor’s Office, other State agencies, Congress, Federal agencies, local governments, and a myriad of advocacy and provider organizations. IA is responsible for advocating on behalf of the agency’s priorities at all levels of government. As part of these efforts, IA works with other departments within OTDA to develop legislation and coordinates strategy to advance the agency’s mission of helping low-income New Yorkers.

Equal Opportunity and Diversity (EOD)

Jessica Vaughn Tolle, Director

EOD is responsible for implementing OTDA policies and practices to promote equal opportunities for applicants, trainees, employees and clients of OTDA without regard to age, race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, military status, sex, disability, predisposing genetic characteristics, marital status, domestic violence victim status, prior conviction records, prior arrests, youthful offender adjudications or sealed records. To this end, EOD: addresses issues pertaining to affirmative action; monitors OTDA’s workforce data, and hiring and promotion practices; investigates complaints of discrimination; and analyzes requests for reasonable accommodation.

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