The Empire State Pride Agenda has named Ross Levi as its new executive director. Levi has been with ESPA for ten years and since 2006 had been its director of public policy and education. Levi replaces Alan Van Capelle, who departed in February to be chief of staff for NYC Comptroller John Liu. Some have pointed to the failure of ESPA to push through the New York Senate’s marriage equality bill as part of the reason that Van Capelle resigned.
Levi’s appointment comes after weeks of ugly not-quite behind the scenes dissent about the position’s original front-runner, Brian Ellner, an aide to Michael Bloomberg. (Oh, the emails I’ve gotten.) Allen Roskoff, the head of the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, threatened to cut all ties between his group and ESPA were Ellner to get the job. Ellner had all but been publicly named for the position and had even contacted top state politicians to say he looked forward to working with them, but withdrew his candidacy one day before the announcement was to be made.