Blake Washington, a longtime budget advisor to the state Assembly, will become the next budget director in Gov. Kathy Hochul's administration, filling a key role that had been filled on an interim basis by Robert Megna.
Hochul on Thursday announced the appointment, praising Washington's years of experience with the budget.
Megna, meanwhile, will return to the Rockefeller Institute. He had taken the job earlier this year following the departure of Sandra Beattie this year, whose departure was followed by an investigation into COVID-era contracts.
“During this critical period for our state's future, I’m looking forward to having Blake Washington on my team as we work to craft another budget that serves the needs of all New Yorkers,” Hochul said. “With years of public service and a deep knowledge of the budget process, Blake is the perfect leader to take the helm at the Division of the Budget. I’m grateful to my friend Bob Megna for his extraordinary work and sage advice this year and look forward to seeing his continued leadership at the Rockefeller Institute of Government.”
State budget aides are a precious commodity in Albany and elected officials lean heavily on their expertise each March.
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie separately announced to his conference members Washington would leave for the governor's office.
"He has been a trusted advisor, and his breadth of knowledge and experience has been a tremendous asset," Heastie wrote in the letter. "I wish Blake well in his new role as New York’s budget director and look forward to working with him to keep our state on a sound fiscal footing."
Philip Fields, a veteran budget aide in the Assembly, will assume the role of secretary to the Assembly Ways and Means Committee. Matthew Golden will serve as director of budget studies.
“Philip and Matthew are integral members of a strong, talented team that supports the Assembly Ways and Means Committee, and I am happy to announce that they will be stepping into new positions within our team,” Heastie said in a statement. “Between the two of these dedicated public servants is nearly five decades of experience in the People’s House, working to craft legislation and budgets that help families and move our state forward. I know this will serve them, as well as the people of New York State, well as they step into their new roles.”