Contributors New York Municipalities Blog

Editorial Team

Chris is a member of the Harris Beach Management Committee.   Public Finance Chris has served as bond counsel, transaction counsel, initial purchasers counsel, underwriters counsel, bank counsel, liquidity provider counsel and borrower counsel for a variety of tax-exempt and taxable bond financings...
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Karlee’s legal practice focuses on counseling and representing employers in all aspects of labor and employment law, including federal and state labor laws, Affordable Care Act compliance, federal and state discrimination laws, the National Labor Relations Act, the New York State Labor and Civil S...
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Tahesha defends clients in mass tort, class action and products liability litigation.  Tahesha is an experienced trial attorney who brings analytical, investigative, organizational and advocacy skills to prepare for the defense of a broad spectrum of clients.  Prior to joining Harris Beach, Tahesh...
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Howard practices in all aspects of labor, education and school law including litigation, contract negotiations, dispute resolution, special education, administrative hearings, research and counsel on legal policy, educational programs and budgetary issues.  He provides guidance to education stakeho...
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Certified by the National Development Council as an Economic Development Finance Professional, Roberta’s experience in public and private economic development includes grant writing and incentive identification, regulatory compliance services, commercial banking, finance, economic development stra...
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Pat represents a host of real estate developers, investors and commercial lending institutions, focusing on commercial real estate acquisitions, sales, leasing and finance. He also represents lenders and borrowers in corporate finance transactions, as well as municipalities and local government agen...
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Dave focuses on municipal finance law, state and local agency finance law, and industrial development.  He represents industrial development agencies on straight-lease transactions and taxable and tax-exempt bond financings.  He also represents municipalities in connection with general obligation ...
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Contributors

Lauren drafts documents and conducts research related to environmental litigation in the areas of land use and zoning, State Environmental Quality Review Act and other federal and state environmental statutes and regulations.  In the commercial real estate area, she reviews documents, such as lease...
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Jim advises employers on all areas of labor and employment law and defends employers in a wide range of employment litigation and administrative agency matters.  He assists in representing employers in federal courts and before the New York State Division of Human Rights and the New York State Comm...
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Keith represents a wide range of corporations in real estate matters, from complicated commercial disputes to issues related to zoning and land use regulations. He counsels on real estate development, liability avoidance and litigation, as well as compliance with federal and state environmental laws...
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Shannon helps both public and private sector employers manage conflicts within the workplace.  She provides experience in negotiating collective bargaining agreements for units affiliated with SAANYS, NYSUT, CSEA and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters; managing grievances from initial respo...
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Vince focuses his practice on handling appeals and related matters in the New York Court of Appeals and all appellate divisions of the state as well as the Second Circuit.  He has lectured extensively in New York and nationally on appellate practice.  Vince is also a certified federal court mediat...
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Jackie's practice focuses on defending medical device and pharmaceutical companies in tort litigation.  She has experience defending pain pump manufactures, industry trade groups, biologic manufacturers, and pharmaceutical companies against a variety of claims, including negligence, strict product ...
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Mike focuses on the purchase and sale, financing and leasing of commercial real estate, including the negotiation, reviewing and drafting of commercial purchase and sale agreements, leases, mortgage loan documents and other real estate related agreements.  He counsels financial institutions on comm...
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Dave is director of facilities for Harris Beach and director of HB Cornerstone LLC, a non-legal consulting subsidiary of the firm. As director of facilities for Harris Beach, Dave is responsible for building management, operations and capital projects for the firm’s owned and leased properties....
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Emily represents hospitals, health care providers, nursing homes, assisted living facilities and adult care homes.  She focuses on clinical operations, patient rights, risk management, medical staff privileges, medical ethics, professional discipline, EMTALA, HIPAA/HITECH compliance and related pri...
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Rachel represents Industrial Development Agencies and Local Development Corporations across New York state in connection with straight-lease, tax-exempt and taxable bond financings for 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organizations, small manufacturing companies, multi-family housing projects and other qual...
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Prior to joining Harris Beach, Chris served in the City of Yonkers Office of the Corporation Counsel where he represented the city in a wide range of state and federal civil defense litigation as well as various land use and environmental matters.  He also handled a number of special assignments, i...
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Susan represents K-12 school districts in general education, special education, fiscal accountability, student discipline, residency, open government, and policy matters.  She works directly with special education administrators to help them craft procedurally and substantively appropriate IEPs.  ...
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Terry is a former presidentially appointed United States Attorney for the Western District of New York and co-leader of the firms Government Compliance and Investigations Practice Group.  He represents businesses across industries in both civil and criminal government investigations which include c...
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Bill advises businesses and organizations on energy related matters, strategic planning initiatives regarding economic development, state and federal regulatory affairs, and policy decisions.  He also advises clients on local, state and federal governmental affairs. Bill is noted for his experienc...
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John represents a broad array of clients in contractual disputes, valuation proceedings, intellectual property matters, civil rights claims and personal injury cases.  He has extensive pretrial experience that includes taking and defending depositions, drafting and arguing dispositive motions and o...
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Marybeth focuses on federal and state tax law, with an emphasis on tax-exempt financings.  She has served as tax counsel, bond counsel, and borrower’s counsel for tax-exempt bond financings undertaken by local issuers, such as local development corporations, industrial development agencies, munic...
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Aaron focuses on representing organizations, governments, and individuals in business and commercial disputes involving allegations of contractual breaches or tortious misconduct.  He practices in both the state and federal courts in New York. Throughout his last year in law school, Aaron gained si...
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Tom serves as an attorney leader on economic development and public finance projects involving all phases of a commercial and residential development from site plan applications to final approvals.  He represents developers and municipalities in litigation involving such matters as land use and zon...
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Douglas has a diverse statewide practice focusing on labor and employment law, particularly representing school districts in a wide range of issues, including general education matters, labor and human resources.  Douglas serves as general counsel, special counsel and public sector labor counsel to...
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Drawing on her many years of serving on the bench of the New York State Court of Appeals, the Appellate Division, Third Department and the State Supreme Court, Judge Graffeo is involved in appeals, commercial litigation in federal and state courts, and represents clients in government compliance mat...
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Shawn focuses on municipal, commercial and corporate law.  He represents clients in private and public financing transactions, with special emphasis on various types of commercial and real estate related transactions involving industrial development agencies, urban renewal agencies, local developme...
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Gene works predominantly on matters involving environmental regulatory compliance and permitting issues, providing focused counsel on a wide range of matters requiring interaction and familiarity with complex environmental regulations and the regulators responsible for their implementation. Gene has...
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Wendy focuses her practice on bankruptcies, reorganizations, workouts and insolvency matters. She regularly counsels banking and commercial lending institutions on how to protect their rights and maximize their recovery both inside and outside of bankruptcy.  Clients include secured and unsecured c...
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Tracie advises public and private sector employers providing counsel to management and their boards on all aspects of board governance, employment relationships and employee practices and policies.  Her practice focuses on providing solutions to potential problems before matters become issues or la...
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Bill’s practice is focused on the employer side of labor and employment law. He advises both public and private employers in labor relations matters, including collective bargaining negotiations, labor arbitrations, and proceedings before the National Labor Relations Board and New York State Publi...
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John focuses his practice on commercial real estate, civil litigation, environmental and municipal law, including zoning, development, land use and reviews under the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA).  John also counsels clients concerning title insurance claims, real estate t...
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Anthony helps executive teams manage economic development projects from concept through completion and compliance thereafter.  He works on structuring private-public partnership transactions and advises on a wide range of industries including manufacturers and real estate development projects. He a...
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Frank focuses on local land use and zoning matters, commercial litigation, litigation of Article 78 petitions filed by and against municipalities, and the representation of lenders in commercial transactions.  He also provides counsel on financial regulatory compliance and insurance litigation....
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Anne’s practice is focused on representing and counseling school districts and employers across the state.  She works directly with clients on a variety of special education, general education, and labor and employment matters.  Anne represents schools districts at special education due process ...
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John is the managing partner of the firm’s Capital District Offices in Albany and Saratoga Springs.  He advises clients on various legal and regulatory issues. For example, as part of the Energy Team, John successfully represented the owners of nuclear and coal-fired electric generating facilitie...
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Todd serves as bond counsel to municipal governments, local development corporations and public authorities, and represents underwriters in public finance transactions. During his career, he has served as bond counsel to the cities of Albany, Batavia, Buffalo, Dunkirk, Long Beach, Newburgh, Rocheste...
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Justin focuses on municipal law, state and local finance law, industrial development, tax incentive programs, commercial real estate and corporate compliance.  He counsels public benefit corporations, local development corporations and municipalities regarding large commercial development and infra...
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Dan represents employers in class action and other complex litigation, including cases under the FLSA, Title VII, ADA, ADEA and the New York Labor and Human Rights Laws.  In over twenty years of practice, Dan has obtained summary judgment for clients in numerous civil rights, wage and hour and empl...
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Bob serves as the managing partner of the Buffalo office.  He focuses on commercial real estate development, and municipal, industrial development and environmental law.  Bob represents real estate developers, municipal entities, and companies in financing, leasing, and other matters related to re...
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Mike utilizes his diverse background and extensive government experience to advise clients and help them meet their strategic challenges.  His primary practice focus is on matters relating to economic development, energy, cybersecurity, the food and beverage industry, government regulatory complian...
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Andrew is an experienced trial attorney who focuses on complex torts and toxic tort litigation, products liability and general commercial litigation.  He has litigated and tried cases in defense of municipalities and product manufacturers in courtrooms across New York state.  He represents the Cit...
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Frank provides all aspects of environmental and land use legal services to corporations, developers and municipalities throughout the state of New York on SEQRA and permit-related matters for a variety of real estate development projects, including those with Brownfield and significant land use aspe...
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Mitch counsels clients in highly regulated industries, assisting them in the navigation of New York state’s complex regulatory structures, defending against government investigations, and the procurement of licenses in highly competitive processes.  His experience includes successful representati...
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Joe focuses his legal practice on environmental regulatory counseling and litigation as well as land use counseling and litigation. He also handles related commercial matters.  He has substantial experience representing companies and municipalities in hazardous waste site clean-up actions, includin...
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Laura works with many of the firm’s school district and municipal clients.  She returned to private practice at Harris Beach in 2000 after leaving the firm in 1997 to serve as general counsel for the Brighton Central School District.  During her three years as general counsel to the district sh...
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Jaime practices with the Mass Torts and Industry Wide Litigation Practice Group, the Medical and Life Sciences Industry Team, and the Cybersecurity Team. Her practice focuses on the defense of complex product liability, commercial and toxic tort disputes, with particular emphasis on high-exposure ca...
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Steve actively defends retailers and property owners in their general liability claims relating to automobile accidents and premises liability due to defective sidewalks, staircases, snow and ice, collapsed ceilings, elevator malfunctions, breaches of security and the like, resulting in serious inju...
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Brian focuses on bankruptcy, bankruptcy litigation, workouts and insolvency matters. Brian develops pre-litigation strategy and drafts initial pleadings.  He handles all phases of discovery, including drafting and responding to discovery, taking party and non-party dispositions, and preparing and a...
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Bob focuses on state and local economic development incentives and tax dispute resolution, as well as matters related to corporate governance ethics, FOIL, Open Meetings Law and procurement issues, and Public Authority Accountability Act compliance.  Bob serves as general counsel to public and priv...
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Mr. Sawyko is counsel to the firm and practices in the Commercial Real Estate Practice Group and serves on the Real Estate Developers, and Health Care Industry Teams. He is involved in all aspects of the purchase, sale and financing of property, and has extensive experience in condominium and home ...
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Karl focuses on providing legal counsel and strategic advice to clients that operate in highly regulated environments having an active government oversight component.  He assists clients along a broad spectrum of sectors, including in the fields of gaming, college athletics and health care, and adv...
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Laura focuses on protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights and clients’ development of their technology. She has litigated numerous patent infringement suits involving medical devices, electronic components and imaging technology.  Laura also prosecutes patents in the chemical fi...
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Howard’s consulting services focus on working with boards of education and superintendents to assist in developing quality governance models. His services include leading board retreats and self-assessment initiatives, mentoring superintendents, district organization and facilities studies, person...
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Marnie works with school districts in all areas of education law, including matters involving student discipline, residency, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), and the use (and misuse) of social media.  She addresses Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) requests, advises clients re...
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Peter counsels employers in both the public and private sectors. He represents school districts and other municipal clients in all areas of employee relations, including negotiations, improper practice proceedings, representation matters, student and employee discipline, teacher tenure and certifica...
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Jim has been the CEO of Harris Beach since 2005. He has overseen the expansion of the firm into a leading regional law firm with nationally recognized practices and consulting subsidiaries, achieving fifty percent revenue growth during that time and thirty percent growth in the number of attorneys a...
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Josh represents employers in administrative proceedings before the New York State Division of Human Rights, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board.  He has developed a burgeoning practice advising public and private employers on Affordable Care Act ...
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Joan provides legal and strategic advice to clients that find themselves under scrutiny by government regulators and law enforcement agencies. She regularly serves as counsel in government inquiries.  For example, she was engaged as counsel in Governor Cuomo’s Moreland Commission investigations....
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Mike focuses on municipal finance, commercial real estate matters, and mergers and acquisitions. Prior to joining Harris Beach, Mike was in private practice in Rochester, New York where he served as counsel to a variety of organizations, including the Rochester-Genesee Regional Transit Authority, Mo...
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Ed represents clients in both the public and private sector, focusing his legal practice on providing counsel to employers in all areas of labor and employee relations.  His work includes defending employment discrimination claims and Department of Labor matters of all types, along with representin...
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Sara counsels public and private sector employers regarding all aspects of labor and employment law, including workplace investigations, federal and state anti-discrimination laws, wage and hour classification issues, the Family and Medical Leave Act and other leave laws, disability accommodation ma...
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Brad is an experienced trial attorney defending clients in mass tort, products liability and commercial litigation.  Prior to joining Harris Beach, he served as an Assistant Corporation Counsel in the Tort Division of the New York City Law Department, where he represented the city in a variety of p...
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Jeff focuses primarily on representing public school districts in special education matters, including impartial due process hearings, appeals to the Office of State Review, and federal and state court actions.  He also counsels school districts on their duties and responsibilities under the Indivi...
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Steve’s practice in the energy industry focuses on electric generation and transmission line siting, municipal electric utilities, state and federal permitting, hydroelectric relicensing, utility rate cases, condemnation, and mergers and acquisitions.  He represents developers, independent power ...
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Pietra negotiates and drafts a broad range of corporate and transactional documents, including business contracts, software license agreements, consulting agreements and nondisclosure agreements. Pietra represents clients in federal and New York state tax disputes from the audit level through the ap...
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Guest Contributors

Stephen is Executive Director/General Counsel of the New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC). In this capacity, he is responsible for the overall direction of the Association, including coordinating and prioritizing agendas to assure a cohesive, coherent legal and legislative strategy on beha...
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Jessica Bacher is the Executive Director of the Land Use Law Center. Established in 1993, the Land Use Law Center is dedicated to fostering the development of sustainable communities and regions through the promotion of innovative land use strategies and dispute resolution techniques. As the Executi...
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Peter is Executive Director of the New York State Conference of Mayors and Municipal Officials (NYCOM), a membership association representing more than 590 city and village governments. NYCOM has been in existence since 1910. Peter has been employed by NYCOM since 1985, having previously served as L...
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Mr. Breslin served as Albany County Executive from January 1, 1995 to December 31, 2011. During his 16 years in office, he was committed to providing essential services to the people of Albany County, while increasing the efficiency and reducing the size and cost of county government. Through sound ...
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Ms. Brooks has earned a reputation as a dedicated and effective leader since she was sworn in as Monroe County’s fifth County Executive in January 2004. The first woman to hold this position, she was re-elected to a second term in 2007 by an historic 74 percent of the vote. Maggie is well-known in...
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Mr. Collins served as Erie County Executive from November 6, 2007 to December 31, 2011. A businessman with 35 years of private sector experience, Mr. Collins believes in running county government like a business. His approach to government is simple and straightforward. He calls it the 3 R’s: Refo...
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Ann Marie is President/CEO for Lifespan of Greater Rochester, Inc., our community’s only non-profit agency dedicated solely to enhancing the quality of life for those in the second half of life. Ann Marie has been at Lifespan for over ten years, and before her promotion to her current position, sh...
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Lori has served as corporation counsel to the village of Ossining since February 2011, where she represents the village in all legal matters and counsels the village manager, board of trustees and other village officers and boards....
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Mr. Fafinski served as a Farmington Town Board Member from January 1, 1990 until elected and subsequently appointed early as Town Supervisor in November 1998. He is also the Budget Officer for the Town and Canandaigua Farmington Water District as well as a number of special districts. In addition, h...
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Michele has served as assessor to the City of Peekskill since October 2013. She is responsible for the valuation of all city properties, assessment challenges and exemption administration....
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Jill serves as the New York State Senate’s Director of the Legislative Commission on Rural Resources. This bipartisan Commission is charged with examining the impact of rural resources on the state’s economy, reviewing existing laws and regulations as they relate to rural resources, and assessin...
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Anita served as general counsel to the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) prior to joining Harris Beach as partner in early 2011. In early 2014, she was named general counsel of the New York City Department of City Planning. At ESDC, she served as deputy general counsel from 1989-1995 and a...
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Mark is the Executive Director of Accelerate Long Island, a regional collaboration to accelerate the formation of an innovation-based economy on Long Island. Prior to joining Accelerate Long Island, Mark served as Town Supervisor for the Town of Brookhaven for over three years and served for ten yea...
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Patty formerly served as Chief of Staff to former Rochester City School District Superintendent Bolgen Vargas. Prior to accepting this position in July of 2012, she served as President of Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection. Before joining Hillside, Patty served as Deputy Mayor of the City of Roche...
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Mr. McCoy was elected to be the fourth County Executive in Albany County’s history on November 8, 2011. Dan is currently completing his third term as the County Legislator representing the 10th Legislative District. In 2010, he was elected to serve as Chairman of the County Legislature by a unanim...
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Assemblyman McDonald is serving his second term in the New York State Assembly representing the 108th Assembly District, which consists of parts of Albany, Rensselaer and Saratoga Counties. He previously served as Mayor of Cohoes for 13 years during which time he pursued an aggressive economic devel...
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Richard has worked with the New York City Mayor’s Office of Capital Project Development, and studied planning under Dr. Lee Koppelman, Long Island’s veteran planner. Richard has worked with the New York City Mayor’s Office of Capital Project Development, and studied planning under Dr. Lee Kopp...
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Harvey served as Principal Attorney, New York State Department of Civil Service. He also served as Director of Personnel for the State University System, as Director of Research, Governor’s Office of Employee Relations and Staff Judge Advocate General, New York Guard. He is a co-author of a number...
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Mr. Richards served as Rochester mayor from April 11, 2011 to December 31, 2013. He was sworn in as mayor after a special election decided who would succeed former Mayor Robert J. Duffy, who became Lieutenant Governor. Mr. Richards stepped into the Mayor’s office after serving more than four years...
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ICMA-CM, is city manager and director of public safety, Corning, NY...
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Mr. Tucker served as mayor of the city of Lockport from December 2004 until February 2015. He has overseen the $3 million Main Streetscape and $2 million Canal Street re-development, upcoming Flight of Five restoration, and the Erie Canal Discovery Center. He has worked closely with local Lockport d...
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Justin is a third year law and graduate student (JD, LLM and MPA expected in 2016) focusing on environmental law and public administration at Pace University. He is also a Land Use & Sustainable Development Scholar at the Pace Land Use Law Center, which promotes the development of sustainable commun...
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Don Zoufal, JD, CPP, is an independent advisor for SDI Solutions, LLC, Chicago, Illinois...
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