(Updated) The rumors and speculation over state Sen. Andrew McDonald’s future were extinguished Thursday when Gov.-elect Dan Malloy announced that McDonald will serve as his chief legal counsel.

McDonald, who won a fifth term in November, is a litigation partner with Stamford-based Pullman and Comley and co-chairman of the legislature’s Judiciary Committee. He’s also a longtime confident of Malloy. McDonald served as Malloy’s corporation counsel when Malloy was mayor of Stamford.

Outgoing state Sen. Jonathan Harris of West Hartford said McDonald is “an excellent choice” and has “an incredible legal mind.”

But beyond his legal credentials, Harris said McDonald understands public policy and the legislature. “It’s also nice to see that the administration will have a good relationship built on trust,” Harris said Thursday. “It’s that trust amongst the members of the administration that will give people confidence in their dealings with them.”

Malloy also tapped his campaign strategist Roy Occhiogrosso to serve as a senior advisor.

“Roy and Andrew have provided me professional guidance on a number of issues throughout the years, and their acceptance of these offers will allow me to rely on a senior leadership team in my office ripe with experience inside and outside of state government, cognizant of the great challenges that lie ahead for us, and uniquely prepared to deal with them effectively and efficiently,” said Malloy. “Roy and Andrew will really help set the tone for the kind of office I am looking forward to having come January 5, in terms of what I’d like to accomplish, how I’d like to accomplish it, and accessibility to the public and the media in Connecticut.”

Occhiogrosso will leave Global Strategies group where he has been a partner since 2003. And while a special election will be needed to fill McDonald’s seat, Tanya Meck, who briefly managed Susan Bysiewicz’s gubernatorial campaign before taking a job in the communications department of Northeast Utilities, has been hired by Global Strategies to take over some of the projects Occhiogrosso leaves behind.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled for our friend and partner Roy and his appointment to join the administration of our longtime client, Governor-elect Dan Malloy,” Global Strategy Group CEO Jon Silvan said Thursday. “At the same time, we are fortunate to be able to bring on someone with Tanya’s breadth of experience and capabilities to continue the growth of our Connecticut practice.  GSG and Roy built this practice from the ground up over the last seven years, and he will always be a part of the GSG family. Tanya has a sterling reputation, with experience that matches our clients’ needs. She will play an important part in the success and long term growth of the firm.”