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NY’s open government panel has new leader after disgraced head fired for sexual misconduct

2020-01-07

ALBANY — A replacement has been named six months after the state’s top open government expert was fired for sexual misconduct.

Gov. Cuomo on Monday appointed Shoshanah Bewlay, the former general counsel for the state’s Office of Information and Technology Services, as executive director to the state’s Committee on Open Government.

Bewlay replaces Robert Freeman, the disgraced director and founder of the committee who was let go last year after several women accused him of unwanted sexual advances.

A state Inspector General’s report released in November revealed that the Department of State, which oversees the Open Government Committee, was aware of previous allegations against the Freedom of Information Law expert and had admonished him, once in 2003 and once in 2013.

Investigators also found Freeman used his work email account to improperly communicate with a woman he had met as part of his official duties and kept files of naked women and hundreds of images depicting scantily clad women on his work computer.

Bewlay, who also served as the agency’s records access officer for the Office of Information and Technology Services, previously worked seven years with the state’s Attorney General’s office, managing its eDiscovery program.

"Open and transparent government is a priority of Governor Cuomo and I look forward to working with the Committee to continue to highlight the importance of the Freedom of Information, Open Meetings and Personal Privacy Protection Laws,” she said.