Paterson Brings on a ‘New Media’ Director

ALBANY—The governor’s office has hired Melanie Hartgraves to run the state web site and do new media outreach.

Hartgraves, who was working as a producer at WRGB-TV Channel 6 in Niskayuna, will serve as director of new media, filling a position that’s been vacant since Jack Downey left the executive chamber work on Eric Dinallo’s bid for attorney general on July 31.

Hartgraves started today, according to Peter Kauffmann, director of communications for David Paterson. She will earn approximately $38,000 a year, Kauffmann said.  This is less than that $72,100 Downey earned in 2008. (Hartgraves payroll information has not yet been filed with the Office of State Comptroller, a spokeswoman there said.)

A “hard hiring freeze” has been in place since summer 2008 due to the rocky fiscal climate, but the executive branch is able to fill “absolutely essential” positions.

“Communicating with the public is critically important,” Kauffmann said. “She’ll have additional press duties as well as maintaining the web site.” Kauffmann described the site as a “central interface with state government” for many New Yorkers.

Paterson’s communications office has been short-handed for some time. Errol Cockfield, who was serving as press secretary, moved to the intergovernmental affairs office in May and Maggie McKeon, another press assistant, left that month to work for Representative Scott Murphy.

Martgraves is not the only WRGB alum on the communications staff; Deputy Press Secretary Morgan Hook previously worked for the station as an on-air reporter. Paterson Brings on a ‘New Media’ Director