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The Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government

Monday, September 26, 2016
Upcoming Forums and Events

Upcoming Forums and Events

Constitutional Convention 2017: The Judiciary and Justice

New York County Lawyers' Association, 14 Vesey Street, New York, NY
Thursday, September 22, 2016
6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Co-Sponsored by Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government of SUNY, New York County Lawyers' Association, the Government Law Center at Albany Law School, the Benjamin Center for Public Policy Initiatives at SUNY New Paltz, the League of Women Voters of New York State, New York Law School, and the Siena Research Institute

To register, please go to and click on "CLE" located on the left-hand side.

On November 7, 2017, voters who go into voting booths throughout New York State will consider this question, as automatically required by the constitution every 20 years: "Shall there be a convention to revise the constitution and amend the same?" Only in nine instances in New York State history have we convened such a convention. On four occasions, we adopted a new constitution, fundamentally altering how government in Albany works.

Among the potential topics of interest to be discussed in any convention and, accordingly, in this program, are the judiciary and criminal justice. Specifically, the program will consider the following: 1) why the judiciary has been a significant focus of almost every convention since the mid-1800s; 2) significant reforms that were adopted in 1962 and 1977 that established the current system under which we operate; 3) the work on the judiciary that many feel needs to be done, as echoed by the sentiments of many chief judges since Charles Breitel; and 4) an overview of the issues that are raised with the judiciary.

Keynoting this program is former New York Court of Appeals Judge Albert Rosenblatt, a seven year veteran of New York's Court of Appeals, the state's highest court. Prior to this service, Judge Rosenblatt was chief administrative judge of the state of New York from 1987 to 1989, a justice of the Supreme Court, Appellate Division from 1989 to 1998 and a justice of the New York State Supreme Court from 1981 to 1987. As New York State's chief administrative judge from 1987 to 1989, Judge Rosenblatt had responsibility for the day-to-day administrative management of New York State's Court System. He also served as Dutchess County Court judge from 1975 to 1981 after two terms as Dutchess County district attorney from 1969 to 1975. He currently serves as of counsel for McCabe & Mack LLP, a law firm headquartered in Poughkeepsie.

Additional panelists include:

  • Gerald Benjamin is the associate vice president for regional engagement and director of the Benjamin Center for Public Policy Initiatives at SUNY New Paltz. He previously served as chair of the Department of Political Science and dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the college. Professor Benjamin is also former director of New York State and Local Studies at the Rockefeller Institute of Government. From 1993-95, he served as research director for the NYS Constitution Revision Commission; was co-editor with Hank Dullea of the Commission's papers, published as Decision '97 by the Rockefeller Institute (1997); and is co-editor (with Peter Galie and Christopher Bopst) of the forthcoming volume New York's Broken Constitution: The Governance Crisis and the Path to Renewed Greatness (SUNY Press, 2016).
  • Christopher Bopst is chief legal and financial officer of Sam-Son Logistics, Inc. in Buffalo; co-author (with Peter Galie) of The New York State Constitution, 2d ed. (Oxford University Press, 2012); and, as earlier stated, is contributor and co-author of New York's Broken Constitution: The Governance Crisis and the Path to Renewed Greatness. Mr. Bopst has, additionally, co-authored (with Peter Galie) five articles that have been published in the Albany Law Review about the New York Constitution or New York constitutional history and has been involved in efforts to educate high school students statewide about the New York State Constitution.
  • Richard Brodsky is a senior fellow at Demos and NYU Wagner. He previously served 14 terms in the New York State Assembly, where he chaired the Committee on Environmental Conservation and the Committee on Corporations, Authorities, and Commissions. During his tenure as a member of the Legislature, Assemblyman Brodsky was active in numerous constitutional reform issues and authored an amendment to the New York State Constitution.
This event is open to the public, but registration is required. Attorneys licensed in New York or New Jersey may receive two credit hours of CLE for attending.

Enhancing Governance Through Research: The Role of Research and Analysis in Storm Recovery and Resiliency Planning

Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) Reeves Great Hall Conference Center, Corner of 7th Avenue and 28th Street, New York, NY
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
9:00 – 11:30 a.m.
Co-Sponsored by The Governor's Office of Storm Recovery (GOSR) and the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government

RSVP today by contacting or call (518) 443-5258.

This program will explore the advantages of establishing partnerships between academic institutions and government agencies in improving the effectiveness of government action and documenting the lessons learned. Speakers will provide insight into the use of academic-public partnership experiences that can be utilized within other government agencies.

The keynote remarks by Lisa Bova-Hiatt, executive director of the Governor's Office of Storm Recovery, will outline GOSR's mandate and its progress in recovery after Superstorm Sandy. She will also detail some best practices developed by GOSR and the role of the Rockefeller Institute’s data analysis in the development of these best practices.

Ms. Bova-Hiatt's remarks will be followed by two panel discussions led by Dr. Swati Desai, senior fellow at the Rockefeller Institute, and Dr. Simon McDonnell, director of research and strategic analysis at GOSR, with experts including:

  • Thomas Birkland, William T. Kretzer Professor of Public Policy in the Department of Public Administration, and associate dean for research and engagement at the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, North Carolina State University;
  • Jane Brogan, director of policy at GOSR;
  • Ingrid Gould Ellen, Paulette Goddard Professor of Urban Policy and Planning, director of the Urban Planning Program, and faculty director of the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy, New York University; visiting professor of Urban Planning at MIT School of Architecture & Urban Planning;
  • Holly Leicht, regional U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development representative for New York and New Jersey;
  • Rachel Meltzer, assistant professor of urban policy analysis and management at The New School;
  • Gavin Smith, professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and director at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Coastal Resilience Center of Excellence; and
  • Dennis Wenger, former director of infrastructure systems management and extreme events at the National Science Foundation, and advisory committee member at the National Hazards Center (invited).
The partnership between the GOSR and the Rockefeller Institute began in May 2014, approximately one year after GOSR was established, and 18 months after Superstorm Sandy hit New York State. The goal of the partnership was to provide assistance to GOSR with research and technical analyses, develop operational analyses, and document GOSR's successful practices and the challenges that it faced along the way, all while providing periodical reporting to the federal government.

A continental breakfast will be available at 8:30 a.m. The event is free and open to the public. Public officials – Reserved parking will be available for a limited number of official vehicles during the program. Should you need parking assistance, please alert us at the time of registration and we will provide all necessary information.)