James L. Larocca of Sag Harbor, a former dean of Southampton College, recently retired as commissioner of the New York State Public Service Commission, a position he had held for the past five years.
Mr. Larocca, 70, retired on July 31 but not before holding a variety of cabinet level positions during his long tenure in state government, serving under five different governors over two decades. During his career, he has served as director of Federal Affairs, commissioner of the State Energy Office and the State Department of Transportation, chairman of the State Energy Research and Development Authority, trustee of the New York Power Authority and chairman of the Long Island Power Authority.
In addition, he served on a wide variety of state boards and commissions, including the commissions on Bias-Related Violence, Constitutional Revision and Coastal Erosion.
“I would like to acknowledge and thank Commissioner Larocca for his dedication and professionalism, and for the keen insights he shared with the commission and staff during his four-and-a-half-years as commissioner,” Commission of Public Services Chairman Garry Brown said in a prepared release.
Mr. Larocca’s private career included serving as president of the Long Island Association, the region’s largest business and civic organization, and serving as a distinguished professor in public policy at Long Island University. Mr. Larocca also held the Keyspan Distinguished Chair in Public Policy at Southampton College, now Stony Brook Southampton, and served as dean of the college during the 2001-02 academic year.
Mr. Larocca, who enthusiastically called himself the “oldest undiscovered playwright in the free world,” said he plans to pursue his love of writing during retirement. His play, “Penang,” was presented off-Broadway in 2009. He has also won two awards for his work: the Playwrights First Award (1997) and the Midtown International Theatre Festival Award for Best Drama (2008).
When asked how he feels about retirement, Mr. Larocca responded: “I don’t know much about it—I’ll have to call you and let you know.”