Overview

The State Liquor Authority consists of three Members, or Commissioners. When the Members meet to take an action, or render a decision, they are often referred to as “the Full Board” and the meetings as “Full Board meetings.” The Commissioners of the Authority are nominated by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate for a term of three years. One of the Members is designated by the Governor to serve as the Chair.

Since 2011 the Chair is the only “full time” Member of the Authority. The two other Commissioners serve as “per diem” appointees. As a result of their “per diem” status, the two other Commissioners are not subject to all of the restrictions in the Public Officers Law (“POL”) that govern the activity of the Chair and the staff of the Authority.

Acting together as the Full Board, the Members of the Authority are given certain statutory powers. The two most commonly exercised powers are: making determinations on applications for licenses and permits, and taking disciplinary action against licensees and permit holders accused of violating the ABC Law or the Rules of the Authority. Other statutory powers of the Members of the Authority include:

  • The ability to impose a moratorium on the issuance of certain types of licenses within the state or a political subdivision of the state; 
  • Restricting, at the request of a county’s legislative body, the hours of sale in that county; and
  • Appointing advisory groups and committees to provide assistance to the Authority to carry out the purposes and objectives of the ABC Law.

Administrative control over the agency rests with the Chair. The Chair can perform any administrative duties that are not specifically vested by the ABC Law with the Full Board. Among the powers expressly given to the Chair are: presiding over Full Board meetings; and prescribing the forms for license and permit applications.

 In 2012, amendments were made to the provisions of the ABC Law regarding the respective powers of the Full Board and the Chair. As a result, certain powers that had rested with the Full Board were shifted to the Chair. Those powers include: hiring and firing staff; overseeing the Alcohol Training Awareness Program (discussed elsewhere in this document); and the submission of annual reports. In addition, the Chair’s administrative powers were clarified to include budgetary and fiscal matters. 

 

 

 

Chair, Lily M. Fan

Commissioner Fan

Lily M. Fan was nominated to lead the New York State Liquor Authority by Governor Kathy Hochul and confirmed by the New York State Senate on June 10, 2023.  Ms. Fan, the first Asian American woman appointed as a Commissioner of the SLA, has served with the agency since her original confirmation in June of 2018.  She is the first woman to head the agency.

Ms. Fan, a graduate of Yale College and Yale Law School, was born in Hong Kong and speaks fluent Cantonese.  Ms. Fan is a New York City resident who previously served as a member of Community Board 4 in Manhattan in 2015 and served as the Board’s Co-Secretary from 2016 to 2017. 

Ms. Fan was previously a lawyer at the law firms of Shearman & Sterling LLP and Morrison & Foerster LLP, specializing in white-collar criminal litigation and securities class actions. She also served as Legislative Counsel for the Standing Committee on Social Services in the New York State Senate in 2010.  After her law practice, she trained as a family law mediator.

Ms. Fan founded Scandobean Productions, a theatrical and film production company, in 2011.  In 2019, Ms. Fan won a Tony Award as co-producer of Hadestown for Best New Musical.  Her documentary film Weiner received the U.S. Documentary Grand Jury Prize at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. In 2020, another film, The Fight, a documentary about the American Civil Liberties Union, won the U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Social Impact Filmmaking. 

Ms. Fan is a Member of the Board of Advisors at the Yale School of Drama and a Member of the Yale Law School Fund Board.  She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center.  She is a member of the New York City Bar Association and the National Committee on United States-China Relations.

Commissioner, Edgar De Leon

A photo of Commissioner Edgar De Leon

Edgar De Leon was nominated to serve as Commissioner of the New York State Liquor Authority by Governor Kathy Hochul and confirmed by the New York State Senate on June 10, 2023.  

Mr. De Leon previously worked as a Detective-Sergeant and an attorney for the New York City Police Department (NYPD), where his assignments included investigating hate-motivated crimes and allegations of corruption and serious misconduct. While assigned to the NYPD Legal Bureau, Mr. De Leon litigated both criminal and civil matters and conducted legal research on matters concerning police litigation and initiatives, as well as advising members of the Department on matters relating to the performance of their official duties. Mr. De Leon has counseled NYPD executives and law enforcement and community-based organizations domestically and internationally concerning policy and procedure development in police-related subjects, including cultural diversity.

In January of 1999, Mr. De Leon retired from the NYPD with the rank of “Sergeant S.A.” (Special Assignment) and began his private law practice. In 2003, he was one of the founding partners of De Leon & Martin, PLLC, now known as The De Leon Firm, PLLC. In addition to practicing in the areas of criminal defense, matrimonial/family law, employment and general litigation matters, the firm previously represented members of the NYPD Patrolman’s Benevolent Association on a per-diem basis. Mr. De Leon also serves as Impartial Hearing Officer for the New York State Department of Education, adjudicating claims arising under the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA).

In 2005, Mr. De Leon was part of an international team that traveled to Spain and Hungary where the team, working under the auspices of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), a subdivision of the Organization for Cooperation and Strategy in Europe (OCSE), drafted a curriculum and implemented the first-ever training program for police officers in the European Union concerning the handling and investigation of hate crimes.

Mr. De Leon has served as a member of the advisory board of the Advanced Systems Technology Corporation (AST) located in Lawton, Oklahoma and Instructional Systems Incorporated (ISI) located in Hackensack, New Jersey where he counseled both companies in legal issues regarding computer-based training in the area of cultural diversity for the law enforcement community and private security industry nationwide. Mr. De Leon also served on the Board of Directors of Loisaida, Inc., a not-for-profit corporation founded in 1979 to address the problem of social and economic disenfranchisement of poor and low-income residents in the Lower East Side of Manhattan and remains of service to the organization as a “Friend of Loisaida.”  In September 2003, Mr. De Leon was appointed by New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg to serve on the Mayor’s Committee on City Marshals. Mr. De Leon also served as the President of the Puerto Rican Bar Association (PRBA) in 2004 and in 2012 was elected to the Board of Directors of Equal Justice USA (EJUSA), a national, grassroots organization working to build a criminal justice system that is fair, effective, and humane.

Mr. De Leon has at various times been a member of the American Bar Association, the New York State Bar Association (Criminal and Family Law Section), the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, the New York County Lawyers Association (Civil Rights and Small Firm Committee), the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey, the Puerto Rican Bar Association, and the Dominican Bar Association. He is the recipient of the Network for Women’s Services Commitment to Justice Award in 2000, the Borough of Manhattan Community College’s Latino Honor Society Award for 2001, the Fordham University School of Law LALSA Alumni Award for 2004, and is a lifetime member of the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, serving on the Executive Board as the Secretary from 2021-2022. Mr. De Leon is a graduate of the Fordham University School of Law (J.D.) and Hunter College (M.S. & B.A.). and is admitted to practice law in the state and federal courts of New York and New Jersey.

 

Staff

Senior Agency Staff

 

Shannon Kearney Sarfoh, General Counsel [email protected]

Shannon Kearney Sarfoh was appointed General Counsel on January 19, 2023. In this role she oversees Counsel’s Office which provides legal support and advice to the agency including the Board, the Executive Team and all other bureaus. She comes to the SLA from the Office of Albany County District Attorney where she had served since 2001, having held the position of Special Victims Unit Chief since 2009. During her tenure there she prosecuted a wide variety of cases including homicide, domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, property crimes, computer crimes and financial crimes. Before joining the District Attorney’s Office Shannon worked at the New York State Assembly. Shannon is a graduate of Siena College and received her Juris Doctor from Albany Law School

Joseph Finelli, Director of Enforcement -- [email protected]

Joe Finelli has been employed at the SLA for over 25 years coming to the agency in 1999. He received his Peace Officer training at Stratton Air National Guard Base in Scotia, NY. He was an Albany Zone Investigator for a number of years and went on to become Sr. Investigator in charge of field operations for the Albany zone. Joe then became the Zone Supervising Investigator in 2014 overseeing all aspects of the Albany zone. He took over as Assistant Director of the SLA Enforcement Bureau statewide in 2016 overseeing all zones and went on the become the statewide Director of Enforcement in 2019. He is also a trained General Topics Instructor.  

Donald Roper, Secretary to the Authority -- [email protected]

Donald Roper became Secretary to the Authority on January 3, 2022. He came to the New York State Liquor Authority through the New York State Excelsior Service Fellowship Program in September 7, 2018. In corroboration with the Fellowship, the Authority assigned Mr. Roper to the Secretary’s Office and plugged him into various bureaus in need of assistance, including the Licensing Board, Counsel’s Office, and the Hearing Bureau. He is a graduate of Campbell University, holds a Master of Public Administration from North Carolina State University and earned a J.D. from Brooklyn Law School.

Jill Clark, Zone 3 Regional Director -- [email protected]

Jill Clark started with the State Liquor Authority in Buffalo on April 27, 2023.  Prior to joining the SLA, Jill spent the last decade at Empire State Development (ESD) working for both the Western New York Regional Office as well as ESD’s subsidiary, the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation, where she served in a variety of project management roles, including overseeing all operations, events, marketing, and communications at Canalside and the Outer Harbor at Buffalo’s waterfront as well as managing grants and community development programs throughout the Western New York region.  Before that, Jill held positions in the private sector serving as a marketing research project manager and as a project specialist, conducting research and analysis and making recommendations to both management and clients to drive both internal and external goals.  Jill earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and a Master of Business Administration degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo. 

William Crowley, PIO -- [email protected]

Bill Crowley has served as the Public Information Officer for the New York State Liquor Authority for over a decade, where he oversees the agency's public communications. Prior to joining the SLA, Bill held positions at the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board, the Executive Chamber, the New York State Senate, and with the New York State Department of Labor. Bill is a U.S. Navy veteran and a graduate of Cornell University in Ithaca, NY.