Ellen Biben, executive director of the state Joint Commission on Public Ethics, will leave her post at the end of May, the latest defection from the heavily criticized oversight group.
Biben, the former state inspector general and former attorney under Gov. Andrew Cuomo at the attorney general’s office, was appointed to the post by the 14-member JCOPE board soon after it was established in late 2011.
Her resignation comes a week after Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore resigned as JCOPE chairwoman. DiFiore said she is resigning because she is seeking re-election this fall.
The commission, which oversees ethics in the legislative and executive branches, as well as lobbying, has been criticized for lax oversight and a lack of transparency. The Wall Street Journal today first reported on Biben’s departure. She told the paper she will be looking for a new job outside of government.
JCOPE Chairman Daniel Horwitz commended Biben’s tenure:
“We are grateful to Ellen for the excellent work she has done helping to build this agency and for leading it to great accomplishments in its first year including historic disclosure requirements for lobbyists and their clients and the first independent ethics investigation involving the legislative branch resulting in the report that was issued to the Legislative Ethics Commission in February,” he said in a statement.
“We also recognize and appreciate her extraordinary commitment to integrity through her career in public service.”