N.B. "Artificial Intelligence" [AI] is not used, in whole or in part, in the preparation of the summaries of the judicial and quasi-judicial decisions posted on this Law Blog.

September 30, 2013

Filing an application with the court to have a local public official removed from his or her public office

Filing an application with the Appellate Division to have a local public official removed from his or her public office
2013 NY Slip Op 06141, Appellate Division, Fourth Department

Public Officers Law §36 permits a “citizen resident” of a town, village, improvement district or fire district to file an application seeking the removal of an officer of the jurisdiction, other than a justice of the peace, for alleged “… misconduct, maladministration, malfeasance or malversation in office” with the Appellate Division of Supreme Court.* The term maladministration is used to describe one's performing official duties corruptly or inefficiently, the term malfeasance refers to performing one's official duties inadequately or poorly, and the term malversation refers to the misuse of public or other funds while holding public office.

A member of the Town Council [Member A] initiated a proceeding in the Appellate Division pursuant to Public Officers Law §36 seeking the removal of another member of the Town Council [Member B] from office for alleged “wrongdoing.” Member A’s petition alleged instances of conflicts of interest and self-dealing on the part of Member B, an attorney with a legal practice in the Town.** 

1. Member A alleged that Member B filed a Notice of Claim against the town on behalf of a legal client after taking office, that Member B was the subject of a complaint of harassment filed by a town employee and that Member B “repeatedly [filing] frivolous actions" against the Town.

The Appellate Division held the Member B “conclusively refuted” all of Member A’s allegations, and that Member A failed to present evidence to the contrary sufficient to raise a triable issue of fact.
2. Member A alleged that Member B had "repeatedly appeared" in the Town's Justice Court on behalf of his clients..

Member B, said the court, “conclusively refuted that allegation” by submitting an affidavit by a Town Justice who affirmed that Member B had not appeared in the Town's Justice Court "after taking his elected position." Member A, said the court, “failed to present any evidence to the contrary.”

3. Member A alleged that Member B circulated an email to a Town employee facing disciplinary charges.

The Appellate Division held that here was no indication that the e-mail constituted "confidential correspondence" that Member B should not have sent to that Town employee.

Accordingly, the Appellate Division dismissed Member A’s petition.

* §36 requires that the officer be notified of the fact that an application seeking his or her removal, together with a copy of the allegations, to be served on the official at least eight days prior to the filing of the application with the court.

** In Jones v Filkins, 238 AD2d 954, the Appellate Division indicated that removal of an individual from public office is appropriate in situations involving “self-dealing, corrupt activities, conflict of interest, moral turpitude, intentional wrongdoing or violation of a public trust

The decision is posted on the Internet at:

September 28, 2013

Selected reports and information published by New York State's Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli during the week ending September 28, 2013

Selected reports and information published by New York State's Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli during the week ending September 28, 2013
Click on text highlighted in color to access the full report

Statement of New York State Comptroller Thomas P. Dinapoli on EXXONMOBIL decision to offer benefits to same-sex married couples in the United States

This is a very positive step for the LGBT community and a vindication of years of efforts by shareholders and activists across the country. This policy would not have been possible without President Obama’s leadership in directing federal agencies to establish the “Place of Celebration” standard for recognition of same-sex marriages. He took a stand for human rights and the belief that everyone deserves equal treatment.

Corporate discrimination in any form is simply not good business. On behalf of those who have supported the New York State Common Retirement Fund’s shareholder resolutions on this issue over these past four years, I am gratified that ExxonMobil, one of the largest corporations in the world and one of the [NYS Employees’ Retirement] Fund’s largest holdings, will treat its employees with the dignity, equality and respect that they deserve.

DiNapoli: MTA Budget Outlook Improves

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is on stronger financial footing than seven months ago with $1.9 billion in unanticipated resources now expected to be available over the course of the financial plan period, yet it still plans to raise fares and tolls by 15 percent over a three–year period, according to an analysisof the MTA’s financial plan released Friday by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. The MTA plans to use the bulk of the unanticipated resources to improve service and maintenance, reduce the size of projected budget gaps and help fund the next capital program.

A.G. Schneiderman Announces Arrest of Former Nonprofit Director For Involvement in Scheme to Steal More Than $5 Million

New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced Tuesday the arrest of William Rapfogel, former Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty (“Met Council”), on felony charges of grand larceny, money laundering, criminal tax fraud, and conspiracy, among others. The Attorney General’s complaint charges Rapfogel with conspiring with others to inflate the rate of insurance policies paid by Met Council while pocketing the difference in cost, amounting to more than $5 million stolen from the organization over roughly 20 years. Rapfogel received payments on a regular basis in envelopes of cash and in the form of checks for personal expenses, such as payment for a home contractor.

DiNapoli: More Counties, Towns, Cities Identified in Fiscal Stress

Fourteen local governments, including Rockland, Suffolk, Nassau and Erie counties, have been designated as fiscally stressed in the latest update of State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli’s Fiscal Stress Monitoring System. The update was issued in conjunction with a reporthighlighting the similarities among localities listed in fiscal stress.

DiNapoli: Audit Uncovers $55,000 in Suspicious Spending at West Seneca Fire District

Officials with the West Seneca Fire District #6 spent nearly $55,000 in public funds for personal meals, travel expenses, expensive jewelry and internet and cable service, according to an audit and investigation by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. The case was referred to Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita. Based on the Comptroller’s audit, Sedita’s office charged district treasurer Diane Nowicki with petit larceny. She appeared in Orchard Park town court on Sept. 26 where she pleaded guilty.

Statement of State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli on Qualcomm leading CPA–Zicklin Index of Corporate Political Spending Disclosure

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli Wednesday applauded Qualcomm Inc. for achieving a top ranking in the 2013 CPA–Zicklin Index of Corporate Political Accountability and Disclosure. This new recognition comes after the New York State Common Retirement Fund and Qualcomm reached an agreement for the company to disclose how shareholder funds are used for political purposes.

Comptroller DiNapoli Releases School Audits

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced his office completed audits of:

Comptroller DiNapoli Releases Municipal Audits

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced his office completed audits of

 the Town of Wheatfield.

September 27, 2013

Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption update

Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption update

The first Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption hearing, held on September 17th, 2013 in New York City, heard testimony focusing on federal and state criminal laws and the adequacy of existing state laws, rules and regulations involving misconduct by public officials.

A 3 ½  hour video of the hearing is posted on U-tube at:

The second Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption hearing, held on September 24, 2013, in Albany, New York, heard testimony focusing on campaign finance, outside income of state elected officials and political party housekeeping accounts.
A 2 ½ hour video of the hearing, is posted on U-tube at: 

Excessed employees in Japan are assigned to “the chasing-out room”

Excessed employees in Japan are assigned to “the chasing-out room”
Source: Adjunct Law Prof Blog; http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/adjunctprofs/Reproduced with permission. Copyright © 2013, Mitchell H. Rubinstein, Esq., Adjunct Professor of Law, New York Law School, All rights reserved.

“Sony, [the] employer of [the] individual for 32 years, consigned him to a room because [it] can’t get rid of him. Sony had eliminated his position at the Sony Sendai Technology Center, which in better times produced magnetic tapes for videos and cassettes. But the individual, now age 51, refused to take an early retirement offer from Sony in late 2010 — his prerogative under Japanese labor law.

“So there he sits in what is called the “chasing-out room.” He spends his days there, with about 40 other holdouts.”

The full text of the article is posted on the Internet at: http://nyti.ms/14UNtAQ 


The Layoff, Preferred List and Reinstatement Manual - a 645 page e-book reviewing the relevant New York State laws, rules and regulations, and selected court and administrative decisions. For more information click on http://booklocker.com/books/5216.html

The employer is required rebut the statutory presumption that the applicant for accidental disability retirement benefits suffered a World Trade Center-related post-traumatic stress disorder with competent medical evidence

The employer is required rebut the statutory presumption that the applicant for accidental disability retirement benefits suffered a World Trade Center-related  post-traumatic stress disorder with competent medical evidence
Ginther v Kelly, 2013 NY Slip Op 05967, Appellate Division, First Department

§13-252.1 of New York City’s Administrative Code, was amended by adding a new provision, §13-252.1[1], the so-called “World Trade Center Law.” This amendment established a rebuttable presumption that "any condition or impairment of health . . . caused by a qualifying World Trade Center condition" as defined in the Retirement and Social Security Law, "shall be presumptive evidence that it was incurred in the performance and discharge of duty and the natural and proximate result of an accident . . . unless the contrary be proved by competent evidence."

Mary Gintherfiled a petition pursuant to CPLR Article 78 challenging the New York City Police Commissioner’s denying her application for World Trade Center accidental disability retirement benefits. Supreme Court dismissed Ginther’s petition and she appealed.

The Appellate Division unanimously reversed the lower court’s ruling “on the law” and annulled the Commissioner’s decision, remitting the matter to the Police Board of Trustees for recomputation of the appropriate level of benefits to be awarded to Ginther.

The Appellate Division said that the Kelly respondents “failed to meet their burden of providing competent evidence rebutting [Ginther’s] medical evidence that she suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and depression following her service as a police officer at the World Trade Center site from September 12, 2001 until November 28, 2001.

Citing Samadjopoulos v New York City Employee’s Retirement System, 104 AD3d 268,* the Appellate Division explained that while “the Medical Board is empowered to resolve conflicting evidence, it may not ignore medical evidence and speculate as to other causes of disabling medical conditions in order to rebut the statutory presumption.”

According to the decision, the Medical Board had rejected the conclusion of Ginther’s doctors based on her delay in seeking diagnosis and treatment for her medical condition, and concluded, instead, that Ginther had suffered from a personality disorder. However, said the Appellate Division, the Medical Board did not cite any credible or competent medical evidence support of its diagnosis.

Further, said the court, the Medical Board failed to provide credible evidence or research concerning the onset of a personality disorder in middle age, a conclusion disputed by Ginther's doctor.

* The Samadjopoulos decision is posted on the Internet at http://www.nycourts.gov/reporter/3dseries/2013/2013_01901.htm

The Ginther decision is posted on the Internet at:

September 26, 2013

The Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board is bound by the disciplinary hearing officer's "factual findings” and his conclusion that the employee had been insubordinate in determining if the individual’s behavior constituted disqualifying misconduct

The Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board is bound by the disciplinary hearing officer's "factual findings” and his conclusion that the employee had been insubordinate in determining if the individual’s behavior constituted disqualifying misconduct
2013 NY Slip Op 05942, Appellate Division, Third Department

A school custodian [Employee] was served with disciplinary charges pursuant to Civil Service Law §75 alleging that he was guilty of misconduct, incompetence and insubordination. The disciplinary hearing officer found Employee guilty of charges of misconduct and insubordination involving numerous incidents, including Employee’s sleeping while on duty and Employee’s “using vacation days” without giving proper notice or obtaining authorization to do so.

The hearing officer also determined that Employee was guilty of misconduct and insubordination with respect to his behavior after being served with the initial disciplinary charges and specifications brought against him by “verbally abusing his supervisor and failing to immediately leave the premises after being directed to do so.”*

Noting that Employee had violated an earlier "last chance" agreement specifying that dismissal was appropriate if he engaged in any future misconduct, the hearing officer recommended that Employee be terminated from his position.

The appointing authority adopted the hearing officer’s findings and recommendation and dismissed Employee from his position.

Employee applied for unemployment insurance benefits. The Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board determined that Employee's behavior “did not rise to the level of disqualifying misconduct" and awarded him unemployment insurance benefits.The employer appealed the Board’s decision.

The Appellate Division reversed the Board’s ruling, explaining that although the Board was free to make "independent additional factual findings" and draw its own independent conclusion as to whether Employee's behavior rose to the level of disqualifying misconduct for purposes of entitlement to unemployment insurance benefits, it was also bound by the disciplinary hearing officer's "factual findings” with respect to Employee’s conduct and the hearing officer's conclusion that Employee was guilty of insubordination.

As the Board failed to consider whether some of the established instances of misbehavior constituted disqualifying misconduct, and improperly contradicted other factual findings of the disciplinary hearing officer, the Appellate Division remanded the matter to the Board “so that it may reconsider” its ruling consistent with the court’s decision.

* Presumably the initial disciplinary charges served on Employee were amended or supplemented to reflect these additional allegations of misconduct.

The decision is posted on the Internet at:

September 25, 2013

The appointing authority may disregard a resignation submitted by the employee when disciplinary charges have been, or are about to be, filed against the individual

The appointing authority may disregard a resignation submitted by the employee when disciplinary charges have been, or are about to be, filed against the individual
OATH Index No. 2041/13

The New York City Human Resources Administration initiated disciplinary action against an employee alleging the employee was AWOL based on the individual's long-term absence from work. The employee’s absence from work resulted from the individual’s incarceration and conviction of a crime.

The employee resigned soon after the disciplinary hearing was held and asked that the OATH Administrative Law Judge to refrain from issuing a decision.*

ALJ Joan R. Salzman ruled that the employer has the right to request a determination on the merits of the charges “for the legitimate purpose of assessing future public employment under Civil Service Law.”

Judge Salzman found the employee guilty of misconduct but made no penalty recommendation in consideration of the individual’s resignation. 

* 4 NYCRR 5.3(b), which applies to employees in the classified service of the State and public authorities, public benefit corporations and other agencies for which the Civil Service Law is administered by the State Department of Civil Service, provides, in pertinent part, “when charges of incompetency or misconduct have been or are about to be filed against an employee, the appointing authority may elect to disregard a resignation filed by such employee and to prosecute such charges and, in the event that such employee is found guilty of such charges and dismissed from the service, his [or her] termination shall be recorded as a dismissal rather than as a resignation.. A number of local civil service commissions have adopted a similar rule applicable to employees appointed by public entities subject to its jurisdiction.

The decision is posted on the Internet at:

September 24, 2013

Benefits available to State employees and employees of a political subdivision of the State ordered to military service

Benefits available to State employees and employees of a political subdivision of the State ordered to military service
§§242 and 243 of New York State’s Military Law

Ronald Miller, Esq., in an item posted in CCH’s Blog Employment Law Daily,* reports that a “city was denied summary judgment against an employee’s claim that it refused to reemploy her as a building custodian following her return from active duty with the National Guard (Sanderson v City of Farmington Hills, EDMich, September 17, 2013).”

Mr. Miller commented that: “A federal district court in Michigan rejected the city’s contention that the employee’s failure to report to work as requested, or to submit an application for reemployment, precluded her claim. Moreover, the court determined that the requirement of 38 USC Sec. 4311, that an employee show discrimination based on military service, was not triggered because she was never reemployed.”

§§242 and 243 of New York State’s Military Law grants certain rights to public officers and employees ordered to military duty.

§242 sets out the rights of public officers and employees absent on military duty as members of the organized militia or of reserve forces or reserve components of the armed forces of the United States. §243 addresses the rights of a public officer or employee while on ordered military service and his or her rights to reinstatement following his or her release from such ordered military service.

Essentially every public officer or employee is entitled to absent himself or herself for ordered military service** and is deemed to have a leave of absence from his or her duties or service as such public officer or employee while engaged in the performance of ordered military duty and while going to and returning from such duty.

As to reinstatement to his or her position, §243.2, in pertinent part, provides “Such public employee shall be reinstated to his position as soon as possible provided he [or she] makes application for such reinstatement within ninety days after the termination of his [or her] military duty, or at any time during his [or her] terminal leave. Thereafter, he [or she] may be so reinstated, at any time after such ninety-day period and within one year after the termination of his [or her] military duty, in the discretion of the appointing officer or body.”

§§242 and 243 also provide other benefits to officers and employees absent on military leave such as "pay for military duty;" the ability to elect to contribute to his or her pension or retirement system while on military duty; protecting his or her status on an eligible list, crediting military service towards completing probationary service requirements and rights related to placement on special military lists and military "reemployment lists" under certain circumstances.
* The full text of Mr. Miller’s item is posted on the Internet at:

** N.B. §243.1(b) requires police officers to obtain the prior consent of their public employer before absenting themselves from their position for military service in order to be eligible for certain benefits.

September 23, 2013

CPLR Article 78 expresses a preference that state courts, rather than federal courts, decide a federal litigant’s “state-law statutory-construction” claim

CPLR Article 78 expresses a preference that state courts, rather than federal courts, decide a federal litigant’s “state-law statutory-construction” claim
Carver v. Nassau County Interim Finance, CA2, Docket Nos. 13-0801, 13-0840

James Carver, Gary Learned, and Thomas R. Willdigg, as presidents of the their respective employee organizations representing certain employees in Nassau County police collective bargaining units [Police Union], challenged a wage freeze imposed by the Nassau County Interim Finance Authority [NIFA].* Police Union alleged that the freeze violated the Contracts Clause, Article I, Section 10 of the Constitution of the United States and NIFA’s power to impose a wage freeze pursuant to §3669 of the New York Public Authorities Law had expired.

The district court granted summary judgment to Police Union based solely on the statutory Interpretation of its State law claim. NIFA appealed and the Circuit Court of Appeals held that the district court, in granting summary judgment to Police Union on its state law claim without reaching the constitutional question, abused its discretion in exercising pendent jurisdiction over the statutory construction claim. It vacated the lower court’s ruling and remanded the matter with instructions to the district court to dismiss Police Union’s statutory construction claim..

On January 26, 2011, NIFA imposed a control period. After Nassau County unsuccessfully challenged the imposition of the control period in an Article 78 proceeding, County of Nassau v. Nassau County Interim Finance Authority, 33 Misc. 3d 227, NIFA passed two resolutions freezing wages for all County employees on March 24, 2011.

The wage freeze forced the County to breach the terms of the collective bargaining agreements it had entered into with the various County police unions. On April 1, 2011, Police Union commenced this action in federal court, alleging that the wage freeze violated the Contracts Clause, Article I, Section 10 of the Constitution. Police Union later amended its complaint to add a second claim that NIFA lacked the authority under state law to order a wage freeze after the conclusion of the interim finance period.

The district court did not reach Police Union’s “Constitutional claim,” holding that the statutory question was “most appropriate for summary disposition.”

The Circuit Court, noting that district courts have supplemental jurisdiction over pendent state law claims “that are so related to claims in the action within such original jurisdiction that they form part of the same case or controversy under Article III of the United States Constitution,” 28 U.S.C. §1367(a) said that it was reviewing the district court’s decision to assert supplemental jurisdiction over a state law claim under an abuse-of-discretion standard.

As this case “… concededly presents an unresolved question of state law and is also one in which there are exceptional circumstances which provide compelling reasons for declining jurisdiction,” the Circuit Court held that “the construction of the provision of the NIFA Act at issue raises an unresolved issue of state law – the interpretation of a poorly drawn statute – that should be resolved by the New York state courts because the manner in which the statute is construed implicates significant state interests.”

The court explained that as it had previously ruled, “[w]here a pendent state claim turns on novel or unresolved questions of state law, especially where those questions concern the state’s interest in the administration of its government, principles of federalism and comity may dictate that these questions be left for decision by the state courts,” citing Seabrook v. Jacobson, 153 F.3d 70, 72 (2d Cir. 1998).

Although the defendants argued that jurisdiction over this pendent state law claim should be denied because of the special statutory procedure that New York law – CPLR Article 78 – provides for adjudicating claims that a body or officer has acted in a manner not authorized by state law the Circuit Court said that it “need not decide, however, whether Article 78 can, on its own, deprive a federal court of jurisdiction over claims brought under that provision, as some district court cases have held….” For present purposes, said the court, it is sufficient to recognize that Article 78 reflects a state preference for a state mode of procedure that “is designed to facilitate a summary disposition of the issues presented . . . and has been described as a fast and cheap way to implement a right that is as plenary as an action, culminating in a judgment, but is brought on with the ease, speed and inexpensiveness of a mere motion.”

The Circuit Court said that on remand “the district court should dismiss the state-law claim, but retain jurisdiction over [Police Union’s] federal constitutional claim. Should Police Union decide to pursue its state-law statutory-construction or other related claims in state court, the district court may decide, within its discretion, to stay the federal action until the state-court litigation has completed because the state courts’ resolution of the state claim may obviate the need to resolve the federal constitutional question.

* The Nassau Interim Finance Authority is a public benefit corporation created by the New York State Legislature in June 2000 in response to the growing financial crisis facing Nassau County.

The decision is posted on the Internet at:

The Commissioner of Education does not provide an “advisory opinion” in adjudicating an appeal filed pursuant §310 of the Education Law

The Commissioner of Education does not provide an “advisory opinion” in adjudicating an appeal filed pursuant §310 of the Education Law
Decisions of the Commissioner of Education, Decision No. 16,551

In this appeal the educator alleged that the school district had assigned her to a tenure area without her consent.

Citing Appeal of Vuoto, 44 Ed Dept Rep 251, [Decision No. 15,163], the Commissioner dismissed the educator's complaint explaining that essentially the educator sought an advisory opinion concerning her seniority status and that such “relief that is unavailable in an Education Law §310 appeal.”

However, said the Commissioner, his dismissal of the educator’s appeal was “without prejudice to any future application for similar relief should [the educator] hereafter become actually aggrieved within the purview of Education Law §310.”

The decision is posted on the Internet at:

September 22, 2013

Summaries of selected reports and information published by New York State's Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli

Summaries of selected reports and information published by New York State's Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli
New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli issued the following audit reports during the week ending September 21, 2013. Click on text highlighted in bold to access the full report.

An initial issued in September 2010, examined whether selected home health care providers properly used Medicaid funds for the recruitment, training and retention (RTR) of direct care staff and whether DOH was effectively overseeing this funding. Auditors were unable to fully account for providers' use of RTR funds because the funds were comingled with other funds. In a follow-up report, auditors found DOH had not implemented the four recommendations made in the initial report and further actions are still needed.

The New York State Health Insurance Program provides health insurance coverage to active and retired state, participating local government and school district employees and their dependents. The Empire Plan is the primary health benefits plan for the Program. The state Department of Civil Service contracts with United HealthCare to process medical claims for services provided to Empire Plan members. In an initial audit, auditors estimated United overpaid as much as $6,487,932 to providers who billed at a higher paying code than the service actually merited. In a follow-up, auditors found United completed a major project to review claim payments for evaluation and management services. As a result, United recovered more than $1 million in overpayments.

An initial audit report issued in September 2010 examined whether DOH effectively recovered accounts receivable when Medicaid overpaid providers. For the period Jan. 1, 2006 through Feb. 18, 2010, auditors found DOH needed to act more effectively to collect about $37 million of accounts receivable. Auditors also found DOH needed to act more promptly to recover amounts repaid to the federal government for receivables that eventually became uncollectible and, therefore, were written-off. In a follow-up, auditors found DOH and the Office of the Medicaid Inspector General have made progress in correcting the problems identified in the initial report. All four prior audit recommendations have been partially implemented.

The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs issues licenses and permits for certain businesses operating and collects associated fees. For the fiscal year ended June 30, 2013 the department collected $8.1 million in license fees, $10 million in franchise fees, and fines totaling $14.3 million. Auditors found that the methods used to identify unlicensed businesses were not sufficient, and that some businesses continued operating many years after their licenses expired. The department could likely generate additional revenue if it used better methods to identify businesses that operate without a required license. In a follow-up, auditors found department officials have made significant progress in addressing the matters identified in the initial report as all five prior audit recommendations have been implemented.

The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation operates 11 acute care hospitals, four skilled nursing facilities, six large diagnostic and treatment centers, and more than 70 community health or school-based clinics. HHC provides non-emergency transportation to patients who require it for healthcare-related services. In an initial report, auditors identified a number of weaknesses in the system, including a lack of documentation for physician authorization of patient transportation and instances where trips were not billed at the correct rates. Auditors also found that three of the 14 drivers working for one of the providers had criminal histories. In a follow-up, auditors found HHC officials have made progress in addressing the problems identified in the initial report. Of the seven prior audit recommendations, six recommendations have been implemented.

At the time of the audit, the university had 36 electronic devices ready for disposal through the Office of General Services’ surplus unit. Seven of the computer hard drives still contained data, even though University at Albany had provided OGS with certifications indicating all information had been removed.
Two of these hard drives contained personal, private or sensitive information including social security numbers, dates of birth, home addresses and financial information. One of these two hard drives also contained potentially inappropriate photographs that could be considered offensive for the work place.
The other five hard drives also contained retrievable data that included resumes, personal vacation photos, research information and student term papers. One of the seven hard drives was taken from a laptop computer, which should have required more stringent security controls and been encrypted.

DOCCS employed an average of about 250 inmates and 50 State employees to operate its farming operations. As part of the 2009-2010 state budget process, DOCCS was directed to close these farm operations to generate cost savings. While auditors could not precisely determine the nature and extent of all the equipment and livestock on hand at the time of the farm closures in 2009, they did identify more than 3,300 farm equipment items and almost 300 head of cattle that had been publicly sold or transferred to other state agencies. These transactions generated almost $570,000 of one-time revenues. DOCCS has also leased a significant portion of its former farm land via public bidding and is earning approximately $125,000 annually from this effort.

As part of a statewide initiative to determine whether the use of travel money by selected government employees was appropriate, auditors selected seven Binghamton employees for audit with travel expenditures totaling $839,204, but were only able to audit the expenses incurred for these seven employees from June 14, 2009 and March 31, 2011 totaling $548,262 because the university, as allowed by state record retention policies, had purged documentation prior to June 14, 2009. Most of the travel expenses examined were appropriate. However, university officials failed to ensure that lodging expenses were within allowable rates in 24 instances allowing a total of $2,258 to be spent in excess of federal per diem lodging rates. University officials also allowed employees to pay back $36,880 of unused travel advances in installments long after the ten day accounting and reconciliation requirement.

Auditors examined the travel costs of one employee whose travel costs totaled $115,797. They found that while the travel expenses for the employee were supported, they need to be further reviewed to determine whether Internal Revenue Service "tax home" rules may apply and may result in taxable income.  In addition, Judicial Travel Rules were sometimes not complied with.

The village is incurring higher costs than necessary for goods and services. Auditors found purchases were not formally bid or awarded by the village board, quotes were not always obtained, and village officials did not determine if they received the correct state or county contract pricing.

The town supervisor did not maintain accurate and complete accounting records to properly document assets, liabilities, fund balances, results of operations, or prepare accurate reports that would allow the board to adequately monitor the town’s financial operations. As a result, town officials lacked assurance that fund balance was available to fund budgeted appropriations.

The town board repeatedly adopted budgets with inaccurate revenue and expenditure estimates, which led to the accumulation of significant surplus funds. In addition, the town’s procurement policy does not require the solicitation of written proposals or quotes for the acquisition of professional services. In 2011 and 2012 the town paid $314,781 to seven professional service providers without soliciting competition.

While the district does have adequate financial policies, it does not have certain financial procedures in place. For example, the district treasurer submits a budget-to-actual financial report to the board only at the end of the fiscal year and has not filed the required annual financial report with the Office of State Comptroller since the 2008. In addition, the board contracts with an independent auditor to perform an annual audit of the treasurer’s records; however, the last completed audit was performed in 2010.

The village board has consistently adopted budgets with unrealistic estimates of revenues, expenditures and the amount of fund balance to be used to fund operations. From 2007 through 2012, the board appropriated $3.73 million in fund balance for the general and sewer funds, but did not use $2.9 million of this amount. Consequently, the village accumulated $833,139 of unexpended surplus funds in the general fund and $522,373 in the sewer fund.

Town of White Creek – Board Oversight of Financial Activities (Washington County)
The town supervisor did not adequately oversee and monitor the work of the budget officer who served as the town’s bookkeeper and maintained the town’s accounting records. Due to the poor condition of the town’s financial records and reports, the town board was unable to determine the town’s true financial condition or effectively monitor financial operations.

September 21, 2013

Moreland Commission To Hold Public Hearing In Capital Region September 24th 2013

Moreland Commission To Hold Public Hearing In Capital Region September 24th 2013
Source: The Moreland Commission

The Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption will hold its second public hearing on Tuesday, September 24, 2013 at the Empire State Plaza in Albany. Each hearing covers specific subject areas --  Tuesday’s hearing will focus on campaign finance, outside income of state elected officials and political party housekeeping accounts.

The hearing will be held from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m., at Empire State Plaza Concourse, Albany, Meeting Room 6. Please note that this is a change in location in order to permit greater attendance. Doors open at 5 p.m.

A webcast for remote viewing is planned. Please contact Michelle Duffy, (212) 417-5965 or e-mail Ms. Duffy at michelle.duffy@moreland.ny.govfor additional information .

Scheduled speakers include:

Brian Paul, Research and Policy Manager, Common Cause New York;

Bill Mahoney, Research Coordinator, New York Public Interest Research Group;

Karen Scharff, Executive Director, and Jessica Wisneski, Legislative Campaigns Director, Citizen Action of New York; and

Dick Dadey, Executive Director and Rachael Fauss, Research and Policy Manager, Citizen Union

Persons wishing to present relevant testimony to the Commission or attend the hearing must submit their request online no later than 12:00 pm on Monday, September 23, 2013. Testimony must limited to campaign finance, outside income of state elected officials or political party housekeeping accounts. Submission is a two-step process:

1. Completion of the online application at www.publiccorruption.moreland.ny.gov and

2. Submission of a copy of prepared testimony to the Moreland Commission using the Commission's e-mail address: comments@moreland.ny.gov  

The Commission advises that it will attempt to schedule as many participants as possible, but the 9:00pm hearing conclusion may require that those wishing to provide oral testimony provide written testimony only. All written testimony that is submitted will be included in the record of the proceedings.

Those choosing to provide oral testimony must:

1. Limit their oral testimony to three minutes;

2. Testify only on the topics related to campaign finance, outside income of state elected officials or political party housekeeping accounts; and

3. Submit written testimony related to the specified topics to the Commission no later than noon on Monday, September 23, 2013.

September 20, 2013

Disciplinary charges alleging AWOL, neglect of duty and insubordination served on employee for leaving work to attend a baseball game

Disciplinary charges alleging AWOL, neglect of duty and insubordination served on employee for leaving work to attend a baseball game
OATH Index No. 1618/13

A Yankee baseball game had been “rained out” the night before and rescheduled for the following afternoon. The employee, “an avid Yankee fan,” asked his supervisor for permission to take the afternoon off to go to the game. Explaining that she was “short-staffed,” the supervisor denied the employee’s request. When the employee said that he would go anyway, the supervisor said that if he did he would be reported as being absent without leave [AWOL].

True to his word, the employee attended the baseball game and true to her word, the supervisor reported that the employee was AWOL. The employee was subsequently served with disciplinary charges alleging AWOL, neglect of duty,” and insubordination.

At the OATH disciplinary hearing the employee testified that he planned to attend all Yankee home games “even if his leave applications are denied” because he had a season ticket and it's something that “I always do all the time.” According to the decision, the employee went to his first Yankee game at age ten and testified that since June 1975 he had attended every Yankee game played in New York City and had told his superior that “he intends to continue his streak, even if he is unable to get leave to attend a home game.”

OATH Administrative Law Judge Faye Lewis found the employee guilty of “neglect of duty” and being AWOL. She recommended that the employee be terminated from his position. Judge Lewis said that while “[c]learly [the employee] was driven, perhaps even obsessed, by his desire to continue this streak … this does not constitute a defense to leaving work after his leave request was denied.”

The decision also notes that this was not the first such incident. Previously the employee had served disciplinary charges for similar misconduct, found guilty and suspended without pay for 60-days and given “a final warning.”

As to the charge that the employee had been insubordinate, the ALJ found that it was not clear that the employee “was given a direct order to remain at work,” and thus the charge of insubordination was not proven and should be dismissed. In order to sustain a charge of insubordination, Judge Lewis explained, there must be proof “that a clear and unambiguous order was communicated to an employee and that the employee willfully failed to obey.”

The appointing authority adopted Judge Lewis’ recommendation and terminated the employee.

The decision is posted on the Internet at:

September 19, 2013

Governor Cuomo announces 2013-2015 Class of Empire State Fellows

Governor Cuomo announces 2013-2015 Class of Empire State Fellows
Source: Office of the Governor

On September 19, 2013 Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the members of the 2013-2015 class of Empire State Fellows.

The Empire State Fellows Program is one of the three parts of Governor Cuomo’s New NY Leaders Initiative, which is designed to renew the connection between the public and private sectors and prepare a new generation of leaders to serve in state government. The Excelsior Service Fellowship Program brings highly-talented recent graduates to serve throughout the state government, and the New NY Leaders Internship Program offers hundreds of college students an opportunity to work in state government.

The 21 experienced professionals from diverse backgrounds were selected through a highly-competitive process that analyzed the unique skills they bring to government, as well as their leadership potential, commitment to public service, and creativity.

Each Empire Fellow will work closely with senior administration officials and participate in the policy-making process while also engaging in educational and professional development programs, including completion of a unique, interactive curriculum developed specifically for the Empire State Fellows Program by the Rockefeller Institute at SUNY Albany in consultation with Cabinet-level officials.

The Program began with a class of nine 2012-2014 Empire Fellows who enhanced the diversity of New York government and brought unique and needed talent to the administration. The new class will also play important roles in the Governor’s key initiatives, including the New York State Office for New Americans, the Regional Economic Development Councils, Market NY, Casino Gaming, and the Local Government Restructuring Board.

A number of the newly-announced class will be placed in the Governor’s Executive Chamber, while others will be placed in state agencies to work with key advisers to the Governor.

The 2013-2015 Class of Empire State Fellows

Jalila Aissi

Jalila Aissi comes to the Empire State Fellows Program from a role as an Attorney with Cleantech Law Partners, where she advised startups, not-for-profits and other companies in the renewable energy sector. She also managed a large government grant and contract portfolio for the Wildlife Conservation Society, a leading global conservation organization. Ms. Aissi previously led projects for the Net Impact Service Corps and sat on the Grants Committee of the NYC Venture Philanthropy Fund. She also served on the Energy Committee of the NYC Bar Association and completed the Cleantech-Execs Program at NYU Polytechnic Institute. Ms. Aissi earned her Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from UCLA and her law degree from University of San Diego School of Law. She has been admitted to the state bars of California and New York. Placement: Executive Chamber.

Allison K. Auldridge

Allison Auldridge comes to the Empire State Fellows Program from a role as a Policy Associate for Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE). In that role, Ms. Auldridge was responsible for helping extend critical financial protections to same-sex older adults in New York, develop strategic partnerships with diverse aging, HIV and LGBT organizations, represent SAGE on state and regional advisory boards, and oversee SAGE’s national “Spousal Impoverishment Protections” Medicaid Initiative. Prior to her work with SAGE, Ms. Auldridge spent over four years as a communications and marketing professional, first with the Madison Park Development Corporation in Boston, and later with the Brooklyn Historical Society. Ms. Auldridge received her Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from Smith College and her Master’s of Science in Urban Policy Management from the New School. Placement: Empire State Development Corporation.

Adam Bushey

Captain Adam Bushey comes to the Empire State Fellows Program from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) where he served as a Democracy Specialist for the Center of Excellence for Democracy, Human Rights and Governance. Captain Bushey started at USAID in 2007, after he was selected for the Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) program, the federal government’s premier leadership development program for advanced degree candidates. At USAID Captain Bushey was responsible for assisting developing countries in strengthening their governance systems to better recognize and protect the rights of their citizens by providing technical expertise in governance and the rule of law. In addition, Captain Bushey is a Judge Advocate General (JAG) for the New York State Army National Guard. In 2010, he was promoted to Captain while serving in Afghanistan, where he was awarded the U.S. Bronze Star for meritorious service during his ten-month deployment. In Afghanistan, Captain Bushey worked to establish a functional judicial system and build the capacity of the Afghan government. In 2011, Captain Bushey formed his own business with the civic purpose of bettering the neighborhoods of Syracuse by restoring dilapidated vintage homes.  Captain Bushey graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Political Science from Le Moyne College and earned his law degree with Honors from the State University of New York at Buffalo Placement: Executive Chamber.

Sidra Chaudhary

Sidra Chaudhary joins the Empire State Fellows Program from a position as the Program Director for the Liberty Partnerships Program (“LPP”) at the State University of New York at Albany. In this role, Ms. Chaudhary was responsible for the acquisition and financial oversight of a 1.75 million dollar grant from the State Education Department, all program operations and development, and program evaluation. As director, Ms. Chaudhary created and implemented strategies designed to help close the achievement gap for underprivileged youth at risk for dropping out from middle school and high school. Before joining the LPP, Ms. Chaudhary worked in various human service organizations including the Young Adult Institute in Queens, NY, the Girls Incorporated of the Greater Capital Region, and Clearview Center, Inc. in Albany, NY. Ms. Chaudhary received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the State University of New York at Purchase and her Masters in Social Welfare from the State University of New York at Albany. She is currently a board member of the Juvenile Court Accountability Board with the Albany County Probation Department. Placement: Executive Chamber.

Nora Cronin

Nora Cronin joins the Empire State Fellows Program after a career as a Senior Assistant District Attorney for the Brooklyn District Attorney. As a criminal prosecutor, Ms. Cronin gained extensive trial experience in both felony and misdemeanor trials, and engaged in post-verdict appellate issues, grand jury investigations, and motion practice. Ms. Cronin has also consulted with the American Bar Association’s Rule of Law Initiative in Panama, where she instructed attorneys and police on investigative and trial techniques. Before beginning her career as an attorney, Ms. Cronin was a Staff Writer for the Long Island Press, where she covered issues on politics and the environment. Ms. Cronin received her Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs and Philosophy cum laude from Mary Washington College located in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and her law degree from St. Johns University School of Law. Nora speaks and writes Spanish. Placement: Executive Chamber.

Carlos Cuevas

Carlos Cuevas comes to the Empire State Fellows Program after completing his term as the Executive Fellow at the Urban Health Plan (UHP), a federally qualified community health center network located in the South Bronx. As the Executive Fellow, Mr. Cuevas reported directly to the President & CEO on a variety of financial, policy and operational matters. At UHP, Mr. Cuevas developed a financial reporting system to help department managers better track spending and spot trends in visit volume and supply utilization. Additionally, Mr. Cuevas conducted research projects for UHP senior management on Integrated Delivery Systems to help the organization develop strategic plans to adjust to the changing care delivery models and incentives system. During his health care career, Mr. Cuevas has also worked with other health care organizations, including: The Military Health System of the United States Department of Defense, the William F. Ryan Community Health Network, the Greater New York Hospital Association and the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation. Prior to his career in health care, Mr. Cuevas worked as an analyst at a hedge fund in midtown Manhattan. Mr. Cuevas is currently pursuing his Doctorate in Public Health with a concentration in Health Policy and Comparative Effectiveness and Outcomes Research (COER) from SUNY Albany. A native New Yorker, Mr. Cuevas was born in the Bronx and earned a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Economics, a Master in Public Administration (M.P.A.), and a Master in Public Health (M.P.H.), from Columbia University. Placement: Executive Chamber.

Raymond Cummings, Jr.

Raymond Cummings, Jr. joins the Empire State Fellows Program from a role as the Interim Associate Superintendent of Curriculum and Staff Development for the Archdiocese of New York. Mr. Cummings was responsible for overseeing matters related to the Archdiocesan curriculum, providing schools with leadership and training in the use of cooperative problem-solving techniques, and in the understanding and implementation of the New York State Common Core Learning Standards. Mr. Cummings also engaged in strategic planning to identify and develop system-wide plans/programs for instructional interventions and professional development. In addition to his work with the Archdiocese, Mr. Cummings has taught courses as an adjunct professor at Fordham University and Teachers College, Columbia University. Mr. Cummings also spent four years as a middle school Language Arts teacher in Miami. Mr. Cummings earned his Bachelor of Arts in English and American Literature from Harvard University, his Masters in Education from the University of Florida, and his Doctorate in Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. Mr. Cummings feels that his experience in the Empire State Fellows Program will allow him to strengthen his knowledge, skills, and dispositions to continue to serve the educators, children, and families of the state of New York. Placement: Executive Chamber.

Ana Doroghazi

Anna Doroghazi joins the Empire State Fellows Program from a role as the Director of Public Policy and Communication for Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services (CONNSACS), the coalition of Connecticut's nine sexual assault crisis services programs. While there, Ms. Doroghazi led successful efforts to update the state's stalking statutes and improve laws related to sexual violence and people with disabilities. She also managed the organization’s media and communications strategies and served on several statewide workgroups related to victim services. Prior to her work at CONNSACS, Ms. Doroghazi interned with Freedom from Torture in London, England, and worked as a domestic violence victim advocate in Michigan. Ms. Doroghazi received her Bachelor of Arts in European Studies and Spanish magna cum laude from Hillsdale College, and her Master’s of Science in Human Rights from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Placement: Executive Chamber.

Tanisha Dyall

Tanisha Dyall comes to the Empire State Fellows Program with an international development and public policy background. Her work so far has focused on policies that address the root causes of socioeconomic challenges that stunt global development. In her most recent role as Senior Associate for National Membership Programs at the United Nations Foundation, Ms. Dyall was involved in designing and implementing programs that supported the success of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals. Ms. Dyall also mobilized 120+ grassroots Chapters across the U.S., and build a strong U.S.-UN relationship by developing relationships with UN agencies such as the United Nations Development Program, UN Women and the United Nations Department of Public Information. Ms. Dyall also worked with the U.S. Department of State to educate the American public about U.S.-UN policy. Ms. Dyall earned her Bachelor of Arts in Government and Politics, her Masters of Arts in International Relations, and a Graduate Certificate in International Law from St. Johns University. Placement: Executive Chamber.

Alexandra Greene

Alexandra Greene comes to the Empire State Fellows Program from a role as Legal Associate at the Office of Labor and Employee Relations within the Newark Public Schools (“NPS”). In that position, Ms. Greene was responsible for addressing legal and policy issues pertaining to a variety of matters such as new school initiatives, federally funded grants, as well as the negotiation of and compliance with collective bargaining agreements between NPS and eight labor unions. Ms. Greene assisted in the creation of district-wide policies to address emerging needs and maximize human capital. Ms. Greene earned her Bachelor of Arts in Human Development (Educational Psychology) from Boston College, Juris Doctor from the University of Connecticut School of Law, and is currently working towards a Masters of Arts in Sociology and Education at Columbia University. Placement: Executive Chamber.

Imran Khan

Imran Khan has served as a policy fellow with the U.S. Department of Energy and as an Education Pioneers fellow in Houston, his hometown. In 2009, he founded Develop U, a non-profit organization aimed at community development, urban renewal, and neighborhood revitalization in South Dallas. During the summer of 2010, Mr. Kahn worked as an AmeriCorps VISTA member, teaming up with PepsiCo and CitySquare to deliver food as part of a student nutrition and summer enrichment program for underserved communities in Dallas. Prior to this, Mr. Kahn taught high school science in Dallas area public schools and worked at 3M as a materials scientist. His professional interests include anti-poverty programs, community development, and resource access through the use of effective social policy and government operations. Mr. Kahn received his Bachelors of Science in biochemistry from Texas A&M University, Masters in Education from Southern Methodist University, and Masters in Public Policy from the University of Virginia’s Batten School. Placement: Executive Chamber.

Richard Lecky

Richard Lecky joins the Empire State Fellows Program from a role as the Director of Regulatory Compliance for the Institute for Family Health, where he worked to ensure compliance with federal and state rules and regulations. Prior to joining the Institute for Family Health, Mr. Lecky was a real estate attorney with the law firm of Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP, and a Real Estate Appraiser & Research Analyst at Cushman & Wakefield. Mr. Lecky has also dedicated substantial time volunteering with the National African American Drug Policy Coalition, Inc., which is committed to reforms in healthcare and criminal law that promote a public health approach to substance abuse. Mr. Lecky received his Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration and his law degree from Howard University. Placement: Executive Chamber.

Ana Liss

Ana Liss has a background in economic development, fiscal policy, public budgeting, local government ethics, and journalism. Ms. Liss comes to the Empire State Fellows Program from a role as a Business Development Associate at the Greater Rochester Enterprise, where she managed a regional business retention and expansion program and performed labor market research. Previously, Ms. Liss was a Research Associate for the Center for Government Research, where she traversed New York State assisting local governments interested in consolidation. Ms. Liss also worked for WETM 18 News Today and 13 WHAM News as an on-air television reporter, producer and anchor, focused on political, economic, and social events in upstate New York. Ms..Liss graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from Ithaca College and earned her Masters of Public Administration from the University of Pennsylvania Fels Institute. Placement: Executive Chamber.

Shaymaa Mousa

Shaymaa Mousa brings experience as a doctor, medical researcher, and public health policy Ms lisslyst to the Empire State Fellows Program. Ms. Mousa worked as a medical intern at Cairo University Hospitals, where she moved through rotations in Internal Medicine, General Surgery, Pediatrics, Emergency Medicine, and Anesthesiology. Subsequently, Ms. Mousa conducted medical research at Pharmaceutical Research Institute at Albany College of Pharmacy. Ms. Mousa received her Degree in Medicine from the University of Cairo and her Master’s in Public Health from John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Ms. Mousa speaks fluent Arabic and basic French. Placement: New York State Department of Health.

Laura Valeria Gonzalez Murphy

Laura Valeria Gonzalez Murphy joins the Empire State Fellows Program from a role as an Assistant Research Professor of Political Science at the State University of New York at Albany. During her tenure at the University, Ms. Gonzalez Murphy co-directed implementation of a project titled “The International Context of Immigration Reform: US, Mexico and Beyond,” which involved researching and comparing immigration policies and reform in the United States and Mexico. Ms. Gonzalez Murphy has also published a book and numerous articles on topics including Mexican migration to the United States, Mexican immigration policy, and boarder security. Previously, Ms. Gonzalez Murphy spent seven years working for the New York State Office of Rural Affairs, where she focused on farm worker services. Ms. Gonzalez Murphy earned her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science summa cum laude from Elmira University, her Master’s of Science in Urban Planning and Environmental Studies from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and her PhD in Comparative Politics/International Relations at the State University of New York at Albany. Ms. Gonzalez Murphy is fluent in Spanish. Placement: New York State Department of State.

Christopher Ortiz

Christopher Ortiz comes to the Empire State Fellows Program from a role as an Associate Attorney at the New York law office of Kaye Scholer LLP, where he focused on antitrust, general commercial and real estate litigation matters. During his tenure at the firm, Mr. Ortiz maintained a robust pro bonopractice representing immigrants seeking asylum in the United States and defending the City of New York in tort litigation. Outside of Kaye Scholer, Mr. Ortiz led the New York Democratic Lawyers Council, a voting rights affiliate of the New York State Democratic Party, as Secretary and a Committee Co-Chair in the organization, where he recruited and organized Election Day poll-monitors and advocated for measures to increase voter-participation. Mr. Ortiz graduated Summa Cum Laude with his Bachelor of Arts in Government and Politics from St. Johns University and earned his law degree at Cornell Law School. He also served as an editor of the Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy. Placement: Executive Chamber.

Rajiv Shah

Rajiv Shah joins the Empire State Fellows Program from a role as a Volunteer Assistant Attorney General, where his caseload ranged from statewide environmental crimes, including cases involving air and water pollution, solid and hazardous waste and endangered species, to auto insurance fraud and other white collar crimes. Previously, Mr. Shah served as a judicial clerk for the Kings County Civil Court and as a judicial intern for the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. Before becoming an attorney, Mr. Shah worked as a scientist first at the Stroud Water Research Center's Microbiology Laboratory, and later at Dr. Nathaniel Heintz's Neuroscience Laboratory at the Rockefeller University. Mr. Shah received his Bachelor of Arts in Biology and Environmental Science from the University of Pennsylvania and his law degree from Fordham University. Placement: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

Jahnhoy Smith

Jahnhoy Smith comes to the Empire State Fellows Program from a role as an Operations Manager at New York City Health & Hospital Corp/Metro Plus Health Plan. In that role, Mr. Smith was responsible for overseeing the operational and policy issues related to Government sponsored health programs, namely Medicare and Medicaid. Mr. Smith managed Medicare Operations and business strategies to meet planned objectives and external business partners to ensure that the Medicare program performance was consistent with the corporation’s business and regulatory requirements. Mr. Smith received his Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration from the City University of New York-Brooklyn College, and his Master of Business Administration in Healthcare Management from Baruch College/Mount Sinai Medical School. Placement: New York State Division of Budget.

Trey Joseph Wadsworth

Trey Joseph Wadsworth joins the Empire State Fellows Program from a role as a Transportation Planner for Sustainability at the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. In that role, Mr. Wadsworth functioned as the Project Manager for a strategic multimodal plan, weMove Massachusetts, which is a data driven capital investment prioritization methodology and MAP-21 compliant state long-range transportation plan. Mr. Wadsworth was also the principal designer of the performance management framework for MassDOT’s progressive GreenDOT Policy Implementation Plan that utilizes state-of-the-practice performance management techniques, and was the author of MassDOT’s bold statewide mode shift goal, using a pioneering measure specifically chosen to minimize the use of limited staff and financial resources for future performance management. Mr. Wadsworth earned a Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies from Concordia University in Montreal, and both a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and a Masters of Regional Planning from the State University of New York at Albany. Placement: Executive Chamber.

Peter W. Walke

Peter W. Walke comes to the Empire State Fellows Program from a role as a Naval Intelligence Officer, having risen to the rank of Lieutenant. Mr. Walke deployed twice in support of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. In his final posting at NORAD -Unites States Northern Command, Mr. Walke was regularly required to distill potential threat indications and decide whether they represented an imminent danger to the United States and Canada. For example, when North Korea launched ballistic missiles, within seconds, Mr. Walke was required to assess whether or not it was a threat. He was also called upon to decide whether a commercial airliner that had lost communications represented a September 11th-style threat and needed to be shot down. During his nine years in the military, Mr. Walke also developed budgets for new organizations, managed civilian and military direct reports, contributed to the initial operating capability of United States Africa Command, and wrote policies governing the entire United States European Command targeting enterprise. Mr. Walke received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science cum laude from Williams College, and his Masters of Applied Geography from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. Placement: Executive Chamber.

Angela Wu

Angela Wu joins the Empire State Fellows Program after a first career during which she rose to become a Senior Project Manager at the prestigious landscape architecture firm of Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc. In that role, Ms. Wu developed and managed a $12 million budget and coordinated the initial stages of a 300-acre waterfront revitalization project in Toronto, which was recognized by the Clinton Climate Initiative as one of sixteen founding climate positive “Cities for the Future”. Ms. Wu has also worked for the New York City Economic Development Corporation, where she analyzed various development project proposals’ potential impact on and economic contribution to New York City. Ms. Wu graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in History of Art & Architecture from Harvard University and earned both her Master in Business Administration and her Master of Environmental Management from Yale University. Placement: Executive Chamber.

Information regarding the Empire State Fellows Program is available at www.newnyleaders.com.


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