DOL Leadership Team

Commissioner Reardon crossing her arms looking into the camera

Roberta Reardon, Commissioner of Labor

New York State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon was appointed in October 2015 to oversee the Department’s more than 3,300 employees. On June 15, 2016, Commissioner Reardon was unanimously confirmed by the New York State Senate.

Previously, Commissioner Reardon served as President of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) from 2007-2012. She was the founding Co-President of SAG-AFTRA, a 165,000-member union for the entertainment industry, when the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) merged with AFTRA in 2012. After stepping down from that position in late 2013, Commissioner Reardon consulted for the AFL-CIO as Special Liaison for Common Sense Economics. She also taught in the Cornell/CUNY Labor Relations Certificate program.

Commissioner Reardon is a former member of the Board of Trustees for the AFTRA Health and Retirement Fund, as well as the New York City Labor Council. She has been honored with the Jewish Labor Committee’s 2009 Human Rights Award as well as the New York City Central Labor Council’s 2012 Award for Service to the Labor Movement and was a recipient of the Cornell ILR School, Union Leadership Institute’s 2017 Change Maker Award.

Commissioner Reardon graduated from the Cornell Industrial and Labor Relations School’s New York State AFL-CIO/Cornell Union Leadership Institute and holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Wyoming. She is a Worker Institute Fellow at Cornell University and sits on the Board of Trustees for the Actors Fund of America.

 

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Scott Melvin looking in to the camera

Scott Melvin, Executive Deputy Commissioner of Labor

Scott B. Melvin serves as the Executive Deputy Commissioner for the New York State Department of Labor.

Career Background: Scott Melvin has more than 25 years of experience in local and State government. He was the Chief of Staff at the DOL for Commissioner Roberta Reardon. In this role, he advised the Commissioner on the Department’s policy agenda, managed executive and senior level staff members, and oversaw external stakeholder engagement. Previous to that role, he worked for three years on programmatic issues such as helping the formerly incarcerated return to the workforce.

Scott lives in the West Side of Manhattan with his husband.

 


Orville Abraham looking to camera

Orville Abrahams, Deputy Commissioner Business Engagement

Orville oversees the development of a new business engagement unit designed to allow the agency to unify, streamline, and improve how we serve the evolving needs of our business customers.

Career Background:  Orville started his professional career as a development manager with the Albany Housing Authority. After that, he served as the Executive Director of the Albany YMCA before taking the role of Community Development Director for the Capital District YMCA. He helped develop community-based initiatives in many capital region communities.

Education: Orville has a Masters of Business Administration and bachelor’s degree from SUNY Albany.

 


Jill Archambault smiling into the camera

Jill Archambault, General Counsel

Jill R. Archambault oversees the Office of General Counsel which provides legal advice to the Labor Commissioner and the diverse programs of the DOL. Counsel's Office coordinates the Department's legislative program, working with the Governor's Office and the Legislature on bills that will impact the Department and workers in the State.

Career Background: Jill has nearly a decade of experience in state government. She served as Acting General Counsel and Deputy General Counsel for the DOL.

Previously, Jill was an Assistant Counsel to the Governor and an Excelsior Service Fellow in the Governor’s Counsel’s Office. She oversaw legal affairs for the labor and workforce portfolio and for several state agencies.

Education: Jill graduated Albany Law School summa cum laude and served as a member of the Albany Law Review Executive Board. She is also a 2009 graduate of Catawba College in Salisbury, North Carolina.

 


Milan Bhatt looking to camera

Milan Bhatt, Deputy Commissioner Worker Protection 

Milan oversees agency programs that protect and promote workers' safety & health, wages, and working conditions.

Career Background: Milan began his career with the New York Immigration Coalition, leading its worker’s rights program and advocacy to expand immigrant access to driver’s licenses. He previously served as Executive Director of the Workers’ Rights Law Center, a regional legal services and advocacy organization. There he helped lead efforts to establish the Worker Justice Center of New York. He has been most inspired by fellowships served with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Amnesty International, along with youth-based HIV/AIDS-related work in South Africa.

Education: Milan received his B.A. in Psychology from Columbia University and law degree from the University of Iowa, College of Law.

 


Peter Brancato looking at camera

Peter Brancato, Associate Commissioner Strategic Communications 

As the head of the communications team, Peter's mission is to promote the important work the DOL does for all of New York’s workers and businesses.

Career Background: Peter has extensive experience in public and private sector communications. Prior to coming to the DOL, Peter was the Deputy Director of Communications for Cabinet Affairs in the NYS Executive Chamber. There he oversaw the communications departments for all the state agencies. Before that, Peter was an Emmy award winning tv journalist and News Operations Manager in the Capital Region.

Education: Peter graduated with a BS in business economics from SUNY Oneonta.

 


Smiling man in blue suit with red plaid tie

Darren Cohen,
Deputy Commissioner for Policy, Strategy, and Research

Darren Cohen coordinates policy and strategic planning for the DOL. He works with Agency leadership and outside stakeholders to develop and execute DOL’s policy goals and initiatives.

Career Background: Darren has an extensive background in labor policy and enforcement at the state and federal level. Most recently, he served as Assistant Counsel to Governor Hochul, handling the labor and workforce development portfolio. Prior to that, Darren held a number of roles with the U.S. Department of Labor, including Regional Director of the Employee Benefits Security Administration and Deputy Regional Solicitor. He has litigated numerous wage and hour, safety and health, and employee benefits cases.

Education: Darren has a J.D. from Yale Law School and a B.A. from Columbia University.

 


Karen Coleman looking to camera

Karen Coleman, Deputy Commissioner Administrative Services, Chief Financial Officer

As the Deputy Commissioner for Administrative Services and Chief Financial Officer, Karen oversees the Department’s human resources, employer relations, staff training, and leadership development.

Career Background: For over 20 years, Karen has worked primarily in education and workforce development. She led the state’s public workforce development, as well as employment system and workforce policy.

Education: Karen holds a BS in mathematics education from the College of St. Rose and an MS in educational administration from SUNY Albany.

 


Sue Filburn looking to camera

Susan Filburn, Deputy Commissioner Employment Security

As the Deputy Commissioner for Employment Security, Susan M. Filburn is responsible for the oversight, policy direction, leadership, and administration of the New York State Unemployment Insurance (UI) Program.

Career Background: Previously, Susan was the Deputy Chief Procurement Officer for Office of General Services. Susan is a US Army Veteran.

Education: Susan holds a Masters of Public Administration from the Syracuse University Maxwell School, as well as a Bachelor of Science from the United States Military Academy at West Point.

 


Steve Geskey smiling looking in the camera

Steve Geskey, Director Adjudication and Determination

Stephen M. Geskey is the Associate Commissioner for Employment Security, Adjudication and Employer Liability Services. He oversees various facets of the New York State Unemployment Insurance (UI) Program, including adjudication services, hearing processing, and employer liability.

Career Background: For 15 years, Steve has served in a variety of public sector legal and administrative capacities.

Education: Steve is an attorney and holds a law degree from University of Detroit, School of Law, as well as a B.S. and MBA from Michigan State University.

 


Selica Grant smiling looking into the camera

Selica Grant, Chief Diversity Officer

Attorney Selica Y. Grant is responsible for the development and execution of DOL’s diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy. She is both the agency’s Chief Diversity Officer and the NYS Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA) Equal Opportunity Officer. She works in partnership with Agency leadership to build a culture that embraces diversity in its workforce. 

Career Background:  Over the course of her DOL career, Selica served as the Agency’s Chief Risk Officer and Special Counsel, the Director for the Division of Equal Opportunity Development, and the American with Disabilities Act Coordinator.  Prior to her tenure at DOL, she served as Counsel of the Fair and Equitable Housing office for NYS Homes and Community Renewal (HCR).

Education: Selica earned a Juris Doctorate from Albany Law School and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from SUNY Albany.

 


Vicki Gray looking to camera

Vicki Gray-Roddy, Associate Commissioner Administrative Services

Vicki is the Associate Commissioner for Administrative Services overseeing the EDGE training office, Personnel, and the Office of Employee Relations.

Career Background: Vicki began her career at the DOL in the Division of Research and Statistics where she co-led a team that created CareerZone, a system to help youth make career and college decisions. 

Vicki later transitioned to the Division of Employment and Workforce Solutions. She managed teams that oversaw youth and staff development. More recently, Vicki worked on leadership development with the Commissioner to drive agency improvement.

Education: Vicki has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from SUNY Cortland and a Master of Science in Curriculum Development and Instructional Technology from SUNY Albany.

 


Jeanette Lazelle looking to camera

Jeanette Lazelle, Acting Associate Commissioner of Worker Protection

Jeanette Castagnola Lazelle has been part of Worker Protection with the NYS Department of Labor for 18 years. Throughout her career, Jeanette has focused on empowering workers and assisting employers to understand labor laws.

Career Background: Prior to joining the Department of Labor, Jeanette worked for the US Small Business Administration (“SBA”) Disaster Assistance Division as an Attorney Advisor. 

Education: Jeanette is a licensed attorney in New York State and bilingual in English and Spanish. She earned an undergrad degree from SUNY Buffalo and a J.D. from SUNY Buffalo School of Law.

 


Yvonne Martinez looking to camera

Yvonne Martinez, Associate Commissioner Research and Strategic Planning

As the Associate Commissioner for Research and Strategic Planning, Yvonne primarily oversees the Division of Research and Statistics—the premier source of labor market information. She also leads the Department’s internal green initiatives and agency transparency.

Career Background:  Prior to joining NYSDOL, Yvonne spent over 20 years with the Office of the State Comptroller. She held various leadership roles within the Division of Local Government and School Accountability and oversaw annual financial reporting, local official training, and policy research activities.

Education:   Yvonne holds a Master of Public Administration from the University of Texas at San Antonio and a B.A. from Incarnate Word College.


Melissa Quesada looking at camera

Melissa Quesada, Associate Commissioner External Affairs

As Associate Commissioner for External Affairs, Melissa develops and sustains strategic partnerships, as well as fosters relationships with policy makers, industry leaders, and other external stakeholders.

Career Background: For 15 years, Melissa has served in various government, non-profit, and private sector roles. She previously served as Director of Latino Affairs, the Governor's primary representative to the Latino community. Melissa also served as Assistant Deputy Commissioner for Worker Protection at the DOL. In that role, she implemented multi-agency, statewide outreach efforts.

Throughout her career, she has also served non-profits such as the National Puerto Rican Day Parade and the Institute for Puerto Rican/Hispanic Elderly. 

Education: Melissa holds a J.D. from Hofstra University School of Law and a B.A. from Binghamton University. She was the President of the Delta Phi Epsilon, Binghamton Chapter. 

 


Steve Spalten looking to camera

Steven Spalten, Chief Strategic Officer

Since joining DOL during the COVID response, Steven focuses on transforming how DOL provides services to NYS residents and on modernizing business practices.

Career Background: Steven has 25 years of experience working within the New York State government. Prior to joining the DOL, Steven worked at NYS ITS in different leadership roles, including leading the migration into Office365, serving as the Deputy Chief Operations Officer (COO), and as the Executive Director of the Tourism and Environment Portfolio. 

Education: Steven earned a degree in Computer Science from SUNY Albany. 


Molly Streb looking at camera

Molly Streb, Acting Chief of Staff

In her role as the Acting Chief of Staff, Molly Streb works with the Commissioner and other members of the leadership team to execute key projects and initiatives across the agency.. 

Career Background: Before joining DOL, Molly worked in the NYS Executive Chamber for five years; most recently as the Deputy Director of Scheduling and Operations. In this role, she coordinated the Governor’s daily schedule and organized state-wide and regional gubernatorial events. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Molly managed multiple New York State testing facilities in New York City.

Education: Molly holds a B.A. in Political Science from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

 


Lars Thompson looking at camera

Lars Thompson, Associate Commissioner UI Claims Processing and Quality Review

Lars E. Thompson is the Associate Commissioner for Unemployment Insurance (UI) Claims Processing and Quality Review. He oversees the intake of UI claims, benefit eligibility reviews, and federal/state compliance assessments.

Career Background: Lars has served New York’s UI program in a variety of roles for the past 14 years.

Education: Lars holds a B.A. in Communication Studies from the University of Rhode Island. 

 


Chris White looking to camera

Chris White, Acting Deputy Commissioner Workforce Development

Chris oversees New York state's 95 career centers. In that role, he updates workforce development systems, policy, and monitoring trends in the workforce. Chris's goal is to modernize how we train workers for the jobs of today and tomorrow.

Career Background: Chris has worked for New York State since 2012, previously leading the DOL's Communications Office, and later serving as Director of Communications for then-Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. He has overseen several major statewide outreach campaigns including $15 minimum wage, closing the gender wage gap, subminimum wage, and workplace sexual harassment prevention.

Education: Chris holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from Ithaca College where he also minored in music.

 


Updated February 2022