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Wilbur F. Breslin Center for Real Estate Studies

Office of the New York State Comptroller
Local Government Leadership Institute

Beyond the Fiscal Crisis: How to Build Partnerships and Leverage Opportunities

June 11, 2009

See Photos

Wilbur F. Breslin Center for Real Estate Studies and the National Center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra University, in partnership with New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, launched the Local Government Leadership Institute. The Institute will be a series of regional seminars designed to combine practical advice and discussion of local government issues with effective leadership and management training. The Institute's goal is to inform and challenge local government leaders through constructive engagement on regional issues. By bringing together local officials across various classes of government, it seeks to raise awareness and understanding of common issues, elicit practical ideas and advice, and increase dialogue and collaboration across boundaries. At the same time, the Institute will reinforce key leadership principles throughout each program - skills that can help officials navigate today’s increasingly difficult fiscal environment.  The day started with a keynote address by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. In addition, the Honorable Anthony Williams, former Mayor of the District of Columbia, served as the keynote speaker at the lunch.  Mayor Williams is a dynamic speaker who brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in managing adverse fiscal conditions on the local level.  The 2009 Institute focused on the following topics:

Municipal Shared Services: How Do I Know if Entering into a Shared Service Agreement
Will be Cost Effective?

In this session, panelists discussed the reasons why they entered into inter-municipal agreements with other governmental entities. Panelists discussed the process, the problems and the actual savings achieved.

  • The Honorable Thomas Suozzi, Nassau County Executive, Chairman of the New York State Commission on Property Tax Relief – Lead Panelist
  • Dorothy Johnson, Senior Managing Consultant, The PFM Group (Public Financial Management)
  • John Cameron, Founder and Managing Partner, Cameron Engineering, Chairman of the Long Island Regional Planning Commission
  • Ronald Friedman, Superintendent, Great Neck Public Schools and President, Nassau Council of School Superintendents
  • Gary Bixhorn, Chief Operating Officer, Eastern Suffolk BOCES

Panelists: Panel Moderator:

  • The Honorable Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez, New York State Secretary of State

Comprehensive and Capital Planning for Local Governments and School Districts:
Strategically Planning for the Future

Local officials are responsible for providing and maintaining capital assets and infrastructure within their jurisdiction. In order to fulfill this responsibility, local officials need to develop a long-term capital plan to manage their capital assets adequately and efficiently. The plan should be linked to periodic needs assessment (what do we need) and the budgetary process (what can we afford). This session focused on the necessary steps to strategically develop and maintain a capital plan in accordance with the municipality’s comprehensive plan. In addition, strategies and leadership skills were discussed for maintaining comprehensive and capital plans as functional documents.


  • William Johnson, Superintendent, Rockville Centre School District and former President, New York State Council of School Superintendents
  • Dr. Evelyn Blose Holman, Superintendent, Bay Shore School District
  • The Honorable George Starkie, Mayor, Village of Farmingdale
  • The Honorable Steve Bellone, Supervisor, Town of Babylon
  • The Honorable Richard V. Guardino, Jr., Former Supervisor of the Town of Hempstead and Executive Dean of the Wilbur F. Breslin Center for Real Estate Studies

Panel Moderator:

  • Mark Pattison, Executive Deputy Comptroller, Office of the New York State Comptroller

Thinking Regionally, Acting Locally: How to Develop and Leverage Public and Private
Partnerships to Accomplish Economic Goals

Municipalities need to work with the private sector to promote economic development during these difficult fiscal times and link economic development to a comprehensive plan. Discussions focused on the essential components in building successful public and private partnerships. The discussion also examined the importance of interpersonal networking and methods of addressing regional problems through economic development. The panelists included individuals who could present case studies on examples of successful partnerships.


These panelists focused on how Long Island was able to retain Canon, U.S.A. Inc.’s global headquarters.
Canon Headquarters – Case Study

  • The Honorable Steve Levy, Suffolk County Executive - Lead Panelist
  • Howard M. Stein, Esq., Certilman Balin Adler & Hyman

The following panelists focused on the development of multi-family and affordable housing both on Long Island and in other regions:

Multifamily Housing

  • Joseph Torg, Managing Director, Trammel Crow Residential
  • Matthew Whalen, Vice President, Development, AvalonBay Communities
  • The Honorable Edward Ambrosino, Councilman, Town of Hempstead
  • The Honorable Jonathan Kaiman, Supervisor, Town of North Hempstead

Panel Moderator:

  • Michael E. White, Esq., Executive Director, Long Island Regional Planning Council
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