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Katko selects Syracuse Police Sgt. Tom Connellan as district director

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Congressman-elect John Katko (R–Camillus) has chosen Syracuse Police Sergeant Tom Connellan as the district director to lead his local staff.

Connellan, the public-information officer for the Syracuse Police Department, will leave his position as a sergeant and detective after 25 years of service.

Katko’s choice of Connellan and other members of his leadership team was part of a news release his office issued on Monday.

In addition to Connellan, Brad Gentile will serve as Katko’s chief of staff.

Gentile most recently was deputy chief of staff and legislative director for U.S. Representative Chris Gibson (R–Kinderhook), who serves a district that encompasses the Catskill Mountains and surrounding areas.

Prior to his position with Rep. Gibson, Gentile served as a legislative assistant in the office of John Boehner, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. Gentile, a native of Westchester County, is a graduate of the University of Dayton.

Katko has also selected Terre Dennis as his director of constituent services, who will act as a liaison between district residents and federal agencies.

Dennis has worked in a similar role for former Rep. James Walsh (R–Syracuse), Rep. Daniel Maffei (D–DeWitt), and most recently as the regional director in the Cortland office of Rep. Richard Hanna (R–Barneveld), according to Katko’s office.

 The staff will also include Justin Sayles, who will serve as deputy district director. Sayles most recently served as project coordinator in the office of Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney.

Sayles, a graduate of Christian Brothers Academy and SUNY Albany, served as special initiatives director during Katko’s campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives.

In addition, Katko selected Erin O’Connor as his communications director and counsel. She had served as the spokesperson for the Katko campaign before his election.

She has previously served as assistant communications director for New York State Senator John DeFrancisco (R–Syracuse). While attending law school, O’Connor served as a law clerk and legal extern for SUNY Upstate Medical University, former New York State Supreme Court Justice John Cherundolo, and two law firms, which the news release did not name.

O’Connor is a Syracuse native and graduate of Le Moyne College and Syracuse University College of Law.

“I have pledged to have an open door policy, to provide exceptional constituent service, to understand local issues, and to advance the needs of Central New York in Washington,” Katko said in the news release. “That starts with a strong team. These individuals bring knowledge, experience, and passion for serving the people of the 24th Congressional District. I am confident that this dedicated team of individuals will excel in their new roles and I am excited to work alongside them to provide strong leadership for Central New York in Congress.”

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