CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Jason Pizatella has once again moved up the ranks in Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's administration.Pizatella was appointed Tomblin's deputy chief of staff Wednesday. Most recently, he worked as acting cabinet secretary for the state Department of Revenue. Former House speaker Bob Kiss now holds the revenue secretary post.For more than a year, Pizatella, 31, has served as Tomblin's legislative director, meeting with state lawmakers and tracking the governor's legislative agenda and other bills. He'll continue those duties in his new job."I'll still be the legislative liaison so to speak," Pizatella said Wednesday. "I'll still be in charge of the legislative program. I believe our staff has developed a good working relationship with the Legislature."
The deputy chief of staff position was vacant for more than seven months. Former deputy chief Erica Mani departed in November, after taking an executive position with the American Red Cross' West Virginia chapter.Pizatella, who now reports directly to Tomblin's chief of staff, Charles Lorensen, formerly worked as a lawyer with the Senate finance committee and government organization committee."He has a keen understanding of how government works," said Tomblin, a longtime state senator from Logan County before being elected governor.Pizatella previously served as deputy state tax commissioner under former Gov. Joe Manchin, and worked for former Gov. Bob Wise's office during special legislative sessions.Before becoming a state employee, Pizatella was an attorney with the Charleston law firm Spillman, Thomas and Battle, representing public utilities with matters before the state Public Service Commission. Pizatella, who grew up in Fairmont, graduated from West Virginia University's law school in 2007.Pizatella made $81,648 last year. His new job pays about $106,000 annually.Reach Eric Eyre at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-4869.