The New York State Senate confirmed 24 appointees to key boards today, including members to the Empire State Plaza Art Commission, Correctional Medical Review Board, Citizen’s Policy and Complaint Review, Board of Trustees of the State University of New York, Small Business Advisory Board, New York State Bridge Authority, State Banking Board, Buffalo and Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority, Rochester-Genesee Regional Transportation Authority, Battery Park City Authority and Stewart Airport Commission.
Cynthia B. Altman; Member, Empire State Plaza Art Commission
For nearly three decades Ms. Altman has served the Rockefeller family and Rockefeller associations as a curator and curatorial consultant. An expert on the history of the Rockefeller family, she has contributed to publications like Kykuit: The Rockefeller Family Home and A Passion for Asia: The Rockefeller Legacy. Additionally, she has taught or lectured at places such as Vassar College, Brooklyn College, and the Rockefeller University, and also served as a consultant to the National Trust for Historic Preservation on curatorial matters relating to the opening of Philip Johnson’s Glass House. Ms. Altman received her B.A. from Middlebury College, and M.A. from Columbia University.
Allison Bishop; Member, Correction Medical Review Board
An attorney with the New York Stock Exchange since 1996, Ms. Bishop currently works for NYSE Euronext, Inc. as the Chief Compliance Officer. Before coming into her current role, she served as Managing Director of the Risk Assessment Unit from 2004 to 2007, Enforcement Director of the Division of Enforcement from 1999 to 2004, and Trial Counsel, Division of Enforcement from 1996 to 1999. She began her career in law as Assistant District Attorney in the New York County District Attorney’s Office in the mid-1990s. Ms. Bishop received her B.S. from Northeastern University and J.D. from Hofstra University School of Law.
Marjorie A. Blieka, M.D.; Member, Correctional Medical Review Board
Before becoming a doctor specializing in psychiatry, Ms. Blieka served Nassau County as a police officer for 13 years. She studied medicine while performing her duties as a police officer and worked her way up from being an intern at Hillside Hospital, North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, to being the Senior Chief Resident in Psychiatry. Currently, she is a member of the Nassau County Child Fatality Review Team and Attending Psychiatrist of the Family and Children’s Association Assertive Community Treatment Team in Hempstead, NY. Ms. Blieka received her B.S. from SUNY Stony Brook, and her M.D. from SUNY Health Science Center at Brooklyn.
Thomas K. Cross; Member, Citizen’s Policy and Complaint Review
A state employee for 30 years, Mr. Cross began his career as a Probation Officer for the Dutchess County Probation Department, and then spent the next 26 years with the New York State Division For Youth/Office of Children and Family Services. During this time, he worked as a Youth Parole Officer, Youth Service Team Supervisor, Intake Supervisor and Sr. Youth Division Counselor. Mr. Cross also led an active community life and served in the United States Army, graduating from Rider College in Trenton, New Jersey.
Bruce Howard David, M.D.; Member, Correction Medical Review Board
Mr. David is currently the Director of Forensic Psychiatry at Nassau University Medical Center. Prior to his current position, he was the Assistant Commissioner for Correctional Health Services for the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Director of Mental Health for New York City Correctional Health Services. He has also been a member of several service organizations, including the Institutional Review Board, the Commissioner’s Clinical Sub-Cabinet and the Forensic Institutional Review Board. Mr. David received his B.S. from Fordham University, his M.D. from Southeastern College of Osteopathic Medicine, and his J.D. from New York Law School.
Ronald G. Ehrenberg; Member, Board of Trustees of the State University of New York
Since 1975 Mr. Ehrenberg has been a member of the faculty at Cornell University since 1975, and is currently the Irving M. Ives Professor of Industrial and Labor Relations and Economics. Extremely well published in his field, he has authored more than 120 papers and over 21 books, and was the founding editor of Research in Labor Economics. Mr. Ehrenberg served as Cornell’s Vice President for Academic Programs from 1995 to 1998, and has been a consultant to faculty and administrative groups and trustees at almost 20 other colleges and universities. Mr. Ehrenberg received his B.A. from Harpur College at SUNY Binghamton and his M.A./Ph.D. from Northwestern University.
Johnathan D. Farkas; Member, Empire State Plaza Art Commission
For the past 20 years Mr. Farkas has acted as an Investment Counselor and since 1982 has served as President of Live Oak Realty. Prior to his current position, Mr. Farkas worked his way up through Alexander’s Inc. to become Director and Vice President of the company. From 1987 to 1989 he was appointed to a government position as government sector representative on the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s National Manufactured Home Advisory Council. He was also a member of the Empire State Plaza Art Commission from 1985 to 2005. Mr. Farkas received his B.A. from New York University.
Louis Grachos; Member, Empire State Plaza Art Commission
As Director and Curator from 1996 to 2003, Mr. Grachos led SITE Sante Fe to national and international prominence before being named to his current position as Director at the Albright-Know Art Gallery. He has a long career in art, acting as Direct, Assistant Director, or Curator at the Queens Museum of Art, Center for Fine Arts and Museum of Contemporary Art. He has had his hand in countless exhibits, sat on many art competition panels, given lectures and published several essays. Mr. Grachos received his B.A. from the University of Toronto and completed the Museum Studies Graduate Program at the Center for Museum Studies at John F. Kennedy University.
Stanley E. Grayson; Member, Small Business Advisory Board
Mr. Grayson joined the investment-banking firm of M.R. Beal and Company as its Chief Operating Officer in 2002 and in 2004 was named President and COO. Before coming to M.R. Beal and Company, he was a Vice President at Goldman Sachs and Co. and Managing Director and Manager of the Public Finance Department of Prudential Securities Incorporated. Prior to his investment banking career, Mr. Grayson served as Deputy Mayor for Finance and Economic Development for the City of New York and New York City Finance Commissioner. Mr. Grayson received his B.A. from the College of the Holy Cross and his J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School.
William J. Grinker; Member, Small Business Advisory Board
Mr. Grinker recently retired as President and Chairman of the Board of Seedco Financial Services, Inc., a Community Development Financial Institution he created as a wholly owned subsidiary of Seedco, a community development intermediary he founded in 1986. He had a distinguished career in public service as he served as the Administrator/Commissioner of the New York City Human Resources and as a Commissioner on the New York City Planning Commission. Mr. Grinker completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison and received his J.D. from Harvard Law School.
Roger P. Higgins; Member, New York State Bridge Authority
Since 1987, Mr. Higgins has been a Dutchess County Legislator and since 2008 the Chairman of the Dutchess County Legislature and ex-officio member of all legislative committees, including Dutchess County Economic Development Corporation. Prior to his political career, he served as a high school guidance counselor at Roy C. Ketcham Senior High School for 25 years, and was the Director of Guidance from 1995 to 2005. Mr. Higgins received his B.A. from SUNY Brockport and his M.Ed. from Springfield College.
J. Theodore Hilscher, Esq.; Member, Citizen’s Policy and Complaint Review
Mr. Hilscher, Esq. has been in private practice with Hilscher and Hilscher, Attorneys at Law, since 1991. Prior to joining the firm, he was Assistant District Attorney in Greene County, Catskill, New York for 11 years, on the Catskill Village Board of Trustees for 3 years, Assistant Country Attorney (Greene County) for 3 years, and Municipal Attorney for the town of Greenville, 7 years, and village of Catskill, 2 years. Since 2004 he has served as an assistant professor of History, Constitutional Law and State and Local Government at Columbia-Greene Community College. Since 1998, he has been a member of the Citizens Policy and Complaint Review Council, New York State Commission of Correction. Mr. Hilscher, Esq. received his B.A. from Fordham University, his M.A. from SUNY Albany and his J.D. from Albany Law School.
Wilbur “Bill” Klatsky; Member, State Banking Board
Before retirement, Mr. Klatsky served as CEO of the Community Development Corporation of Long Island, Inc. from 1991-2009, as well as CEO of CDCLI Funding Corporation from 2006-2009. Also, in 2006 he graduated from the Achieving Excellence in Community Development Program at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, a prestigious and highly selective training program for CEOs and senior level staff in community organizations. Prior to joining CDCLI, Mr. Klatsky developed commercial and residential real estate programs in multiple states including acquisition, financing, build out and management. Mr. Klatsky received his B.S. from Columbia University and has a Master’s Pending from Columbia University.
P. Nicholas Kouridas; Member, State Banking Board
Mr. Kouridas has nearly three decades of experience as counsel to several banking groups, including Deputy General Counsel at American International Group, Inc., Managing Counsel/General Counsel at the American Express Company and Vice President and Senior Associate Counsel at the Chase Manhattan Bank, N.A. He has also been a Lecturer-in-Law at the Columbia University School of Law since 1994. Mr. Kouridas is a member of several organizations, including the New York State Department of Banking, Manhattanville College Board of Trustees, Columbia Journal of Transnational Law Board of Directors and Honorary Vice President of the American Branch of the International Law Association. Mr. Kouridas received his B.A. from Princeton University and his J.D. from Columbia University School of Law.
Elizabeth S. Kujawski; Member, Empire State Plaza Art Commission
Ms. Kujawski has been an art professional for nearly 40 years and runs Elizabeth Szancer Kujawski Art Advisors. Before her current position, she served as Assistant Director at SKT Galleries, Inc., Assistant Curator of the Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller Collection and Information Assistant at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Since 1996 she has held several positions, including President of the Board, with the International Association for Professional Art Advisors, and has also been a Member of the International Center for Photography, New York, Exhibitions Committee since 2001. Ms. Kujawski received her B.A. from Douglass College, Rutgers University and her M.A. from Queens College.
Valerie Lancaster-Beal; Member, Board of Trustees of the City University of New York
Ms. Lancaster Beal currently works in the Financial Advisory Group for the investment banking firm M.R. Beal and Company and is Senior Vice President of the firm. Before joining the Financial Advisory Group, she served as the firm’s Financial Officer. Prior to her positions with the firm, she was Senior Officer for Citicorp Investment Bank and Drexel Burnham Lambert. She currently serves on the Board of Regents for Georgetown University and the Board of Trustees for the Berkeley Carroll School of Brooklyn, where she served as Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee. Mr. Lancaster-Beal received her B.A. from Georgetown University and M.B.A. from the Wharton Graduate School of Business of the University of Pennsylvania.
Christine Miles; Member, Empire State Plaza Art Commission
Since 1986, Ms. Miles has served as Director at the Albany Institute of History and Art and has nearly 40 years of experience in the field. Some of the positions she held over the years include Director at the Fraunces Tavern Museum, Research/Project Director at The American Institute of Architects Foundation and Curatorial Assistant at the Museum of the City of New York. She has served on many boards over the years, including the Capital District Business Review Advisory Board, President of the Gallery Association of New York State, Board of Directors of the University at Albany Foundation and Member of the Empire State Plaza Art Commission from 1986 to 1990. Ms. Miles received her B.A. from Boston University and her M.A. from George Washington University.
Deborah Ronnen; Member, Empire State Plaza Art Commission
Ms. Ronnen, a long-time community activist for the arts in Rochester and currently retired, served as Law Clerk for the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct from 1985 to 1993. Before her work as Law Clerk, she was the founder and director of the Jerusalem Mediation Center in Jerusalem, Israel, which sought to find an alternative to litigation for neighborhood conflict resolution. Ms. Ronnen has spent time working for various non-profit organizations, including The Buffalo Fine Arts Academy, the Rochester Contemporary Art Center and Garth Fagan Dance, where she served on the Board of Trustees from 1985 to 2000. Ms. Ronnen received her B.A. in Philosophy from Boston University and LL.B. (J.D. equivalent) from Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel.
Cary F. Staller; Member, Small Business Advisory Board
Mr. Staller is President of Staller Associates, Inc., a commercial real estate firm located in Hauppauge, New York. Before arriving at his current position, he worked as an attorney at Hughes, Hubbard and Reed, and then worked in the Real Estate Department at Prudential-Bache Securities. Since 1988, Mr. Staller has served on the Board of Directors of the Staller Center for the Arts at Stony Brook University and is the Secretary and a Member of the Board of the Stony Brook Foundation. He also served as Mayor of the Village of Old Field from 1999 to 2008. Mr. Staller received his undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania and his J.D. from Harvard Law School.
Florian Strassberger; Member, State Banking Board
Since 1998, Mr. Strassberger has served as the Managing Director of DZ Bank AG in Frankfurt, Germany. Prior to joining DZ Bank AG, he worked for Morgan Stanley in both New York and London and was a Team-leader at the German Institute for Economic Research in Berlin. He was a 1989-1990 Fulbright Scholar and currently resides in West Harrison. Mr. Strassberger received his M.A. and M.Sc. from Free University, Berlin and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and his Ph.D. from Free University, Berlin.
Phillip J. Tantillo; Member, Buffalo and Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority (Peace Bridge)
For more than 20 years, Mr. Tantillo has served as Managing Member at Tantillo and Co., LLP, a Certified Public Accounting Firm located in Buffalo, New York. Prior to his time at Tantillo and Co., he worked as Senior Accountant at Solomon and Co., Senior Tax Planner at Uniplan, Inc., and Staff Accountant at Deloitte, Haskins and Sells. He is a past member of the Board of Directors for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the Board of Directors of the Niagara Frontier Builders Association. Mr. Tantillo received his B.S. from Canisius College and C.P.A. License from the University of the State of New York Education Department.
William C. Thompson, Jr.; Member, Battery Park City Authority
Mr. Thompson has a long history of public service, as he served as the Comptroller of New York City from 2002 to 2009, held the position of President of the New York City Board of Education from 1994 to 2001, and was the Deputy Borough President of Brooklyn from 1983 to 1992. Other than public service work, he was Senior Vice President at George K. Baum and Company for 3 years. He currently is Trustee Emeritus at Tufts University, where he also served on the Board of Trustees for 5 years. Mr. Thompson received his B.A. from Tufts University and holds several honorary degrees from other colleges and universities.
Frank Vitagliano, Jr.; Member, Rochester-Genesee Regional Transportation Authority
Mr. Vitagliano has served as Senior Vice President and COO at Tompkins Insurance Agencies, Inc. for more than 30 years and before joining the company in 1977 worked as a Retail Loan Officer at Wyoming County Bank. He is currently very involved in his community as he has held Member, Director and Chairman positions for an array of organizations, including Commissioner and Vice Chairman of the Rochester Genesee Region Transportation Authority, President of Wyoming County Transit Service, Director of Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce (Finance Committee) and Director of Wyoming County Business Center, Inc. Mr. Vitagliano received his A.A.S. from Alfred State College and B.S. from Alfred University.
Christopher A. White; Member, Stewart Airport Commission
For the past decade, Mr. White has worked for U.S. Representative Maurice Hinchey, serving first as Deputy District Representative, and currently as District Representative. Before joining Rep. Hinchey’s staff, he held the title of Environmental Associate at Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Campaign Manager for Lee Kyriacou’s run at State Assembly in 2000, and City Councilman for the City of Beacon, New York. He has served on several boards and committees, including President, Board of Directors, Town and Country Condo Association in New Paltz, New York and Board of Directors, Gardiner Condominium Association. Mr. White received his B.A. from New York University and is a candidate for his M.P.A. at the University of Albany, Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy.