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 People in the News


People In The News - Women's History Month Laura Curran

Laura Curran -Nassau County Executive 

Laura Curran was sworn into office as Nassau County Executive on Monday, January 1, 2018. She is the 9th County Executive in County history, and the first woman elected to the office. Immediately prior, she served as a member of the Nassau County Legislature from 2014-2017. 

County Executive Curran, who represents more than 1.3 million residents, has said her priorities are reestablishing faith and trust at the highest levels of government, working with local municipalities to foster economic development and regional projects that support and enhance the use of mass transit, and the restoration of order to a county budget process that historically yields deficits.

Government Reform
Within 30 days of taking office County Executive Curran issued an executive order barring any member of her staff, including department heads, commissioners, and deputies, from holding a position of authority in a political party or committee. Under the same order, all appointees are prohibited from contributing to the County Executive’s campaign committee.

The New York State Association of Counties calls the order as “the first of its kind among New York State county executives.”

A short time later, County Executive Curran issued a zero-tolerance executive order for gift-giving among vendors and county employees.

This order applies to county employees who participate in the contracting and procurement process and prohibits vendors, their representative, or representative association from giving gifts of any value, including meals, holiday gifts, holiday baskets, gift cards, tickets to golf

outings, tickets to sporting events, currency of any kind, or anything of value to either to a Nassau County employee, or a member of their family.

Contracting & Procurement
As part of a broader contracting reform package, Curran also introduced several administrative measures to establish ethical standards and transparency within the contracting process itself.

The program, Ethical Standards in Contracting, is overseen by the Deputy County Executive for Compliance and includes annual mandated compliance training to be required of all contracting officers. The reforms end a prior policy of having only one person at the executive level approve contracts going through the system.

These measures, taken together, serve as another level of checks and balances on a county contracting and procurement process that oversees more than $1.3 billion in annual contracts.

Additionally, Curran initiated reform at the Nassau University Medical Center that, to date, has resulted in more than $2.34 million in savings. The reforms included the elimination of several discretionary contracts and appointed positions reported as “positions held by people with…connections.”

The eliminated expenditures include but are not limited to: a $250,000 marketing contract; five attorney positions with salaries totaling more than $869,000; and the elimination of a Vice President position with a salary of $300,000.

The resultant savings are expected to be used toward the hiring of 37 clinical positions necessary for healthcare operations.

Economic Development
On January 29, 2018, County Executive Curran joined Governor Andrew Cuomo in announcing the return of hockey to the Nassau Coliseum, coupled with a New York State funded $6 million investment in the Coliseum’s ice and media and broadcast infrastructure.

As a result, the Islanders agreed to play 12 games at the Coliseum during the regular season, and 48 games over the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 seasons.

Meanwhile, construction on the transformational redevelopment of Belmont Park, including an NHL-ready sports and entertainment arena, is anticipated to commence in 2019, and New York State has already announced public hearings. The New York Islanders are expected to play their first regular season game at Belmont Park during the 2021-2022 season.

Property Assessment
County Executive Curran began a comprehensive programming offensive to review and correct the broken assessment system. Immediately upon taking office, County Executive Curran’s appointed a Tax Assessment Task Force that is working hard to add key data points that were previously left out and then to use the results for a re-assessment for the tentative tax roll to be issued in January 2019.

This will result in updated fair market values for the 2019 tentative tax roll based on what the market shows. Curran is also acting to create a more customer service-oriented assessment model – and has proposed restoring much needed funding in 2019 to the assessment department.

In doing so, her administration will make available employees who can explain fair market values and show residents how to find comparable sales in their neighborhoods.

County Executive Curran began her career as a reporter at the NY Daily News and the NY Post. She specialized in in-depth features, often writing about Long Island. She was an adjunct professor of journalism at SUNY Purchase. 

She started in public service as a Trustee on the Baldwin Board of Education from 2011-2014, serving as president in her final year. 

She earned her B.A. in Liberal Arts at Sarah Lawrence College, and lives in Baldwin with her husband and their three daughters, Claire, Julie, and Molly.


People In The News - Women's History Month Madeline Singas

Madeline Singas - Elected in 2015, District Attorney Singas serves as the chief law enforcement official serving Nassau County’s 1.3 million residents. She manages a staff of more than 350 attorneys, investigators, and support staff prosecuting and investigating approximately 30,000 criminal cases annually. Singas became the first Greek-American and the second woman to become the top law enforcement official of Nassau County. She was elected in November of that year and took office for a four-year term in January 2016.

On March 27, 2018, Singas announced the establishment of the Nassau County School & Community Safety Task Force to enhance the security of schools, colleges, places of worship, and public buildings. The Task Force is chaired by Deputy Executive Assistant District Attorney for Community Relations, Joyce Smith. Among the Task Force’s goals is to “prepare a training curriculum for educators and mental health practitioners regarding the health and safety exceptions to … privacy laws such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) and the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), [which] are frequently cited by medical professionals and school officials as obstacles to information-sharing regarding potential threats.”.

As District Attorney, Madeline has focused efforts on combating drug and gun trafficking, violent gangs and sexual assaults. Using innovative investigative strategies, collaborative partnerships and intelligence based prosecution models, she has effectively dismantled narcotics and gang enterprises within Nassau County and beyond its borders. She has dedicated unprecedented resources to battle the epidemic of heroin and opiate abuse plaguing Nassau County, prioritizing education to prevent addiction and treatment for those abusing drugs. In addition, she is committed to aggressively investigating and combating government corruption to protect taxpayers from those who abuse the public trust.

The daughter of Greek immigrants, Madeline grew up in Astoria. She is a graduate of the Bronx High School of Science, Barnard College, Columbia University, and Fordham University Law School. She lives in Manhasset with her husband and teenage twins.


People In The News - Women's History Month Betty Ford

Betty Ford: A Champion for Breast Cancer Awareness

 Reprint from National Archives Museum

Photograph of First Lady Betty Ford speaking with reporters outside the Guttman Institute for Early Detection of Breast Cancer in New York City, November 7, 1975

Photograph of First Lady Betty Ford speaking with reporters outside the Guttman Institute for Early Detection of Breast Cancer in New York City, November 7, 1975April 6, 2018 - April 4, 2019, at the National Archives Museum in Washington, D.C., the public can view rarely seen objects, documents, and photographs that highlight Betty Ford’s courage and candor when speaking publicly about her own personal battle with breast cancer. Breaking with social conventions of the time, she reassured women already suffering from similar ordeals and purposefully raised public awareness of screening and treatment options that ultimately saved the lives of countless Americans.

The display includes:

  • Letters and cards from children and adults sharing words of encouragement and their own personal battles with cancer
  • Speech cards from Betty Ford’s American Cancer Society speech with her own handwritten edits
  • Letter to Betty Ford from Gerald Ford and their children (facsimile)
  • Award Betty Ford received from the National Association of Practical Nurse Education and Service honoring Betty Ford for her “outstanding courage and for furthering public understanding regarding the importance of early detection and treatment as a means of combating cancer.”
  • A selection of photographs

People In The News - Women's History Month Judge Fern Fisher

Judge Fern Fisher is the Special Assistant for Social Justice Initiatives to the Dean of the Maurice A. Deane School of Law and a Visiting Associate Professor. Until July of 2017, she was Deputy Chief Administrative Judge for New York City Courts and also served as the Director of the New York State Courts Access to Justice Program.

Judge Fern Fisher (photo Brooklyn Daily Eagle)Judge Fisher’s career started in the Civil Court as a Legal Services attorney practicing in Manhattan Housing Court. She served as Deputy Director of Harlem Legal Services, Inc. and as an Assistant Attorney General of the New York State Department of Law. For four years, she provided pro bono legal services to Harlem-based community organizations as a project director of the National Conference of Black Lawyers. In 1989, she was appointed Judge of the Housing Part of the Civil Court, and later, in 1990, was elected to the Civil Court where she served as Deputy Supervising Judge. Judge Fisher was elected in 1993 to the Supreme Court of the State of New York. After serving in both the City and the Matrimonial Parts of Supreme Court, in December 1996 she was appointed Administrative Judge of the Civil Court where she served until March 2009

Judge Fisher contributed the Views from the Bench in the Thomson-West practice guide, “Residential Landlord-Tenant Law in New York” for twenty one years. She served as the host of a series of television shows on housing issues for Crosswalk’s, a public service cable show. She has been a frequent lecturer at the New York State Judicial Institute and has taught at CUNY Law School and Touro Law School. Judge Fisher is a founding member of the Metropolitan Black Bar Association, a member and past Board member of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, and the New York County Lawyers Association. Judge Fisher also served as the Chair of the Housing Court (Judges) Disciplinary Committee and Chair of the Anti-Bias Committee of the New York County Supreme Court. Judge Fisher served as an expert on courts of lower jurisdiction for the Yale Law School China Law Center during two workshops in China devoted to exploring improvements to the Chinese judicial system. In 2006, Harvard Law School awarded her the Gary Bellow Public Service Award. In 2008, she was appointed to the American Bar Association Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services. She is the recipient of many other awards too numerous to list here. Judge Fisher has also written extensively on issues relating to access to justice. 

Judge Fisher received her B.A. summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa in 1975 from Howard University and received her J.D. in 1978 from Harvard Law School.

Judge Fisher will be honored by the Suffolk County Women’s Bar Association on Tuesday, March 26, 2019 at the Stonebridge Country Club, Smithtown.


People In The News - Women's History Month Mathematician Karen Uhlenbeck

Mathematician Karen Uhlenbeck has become the first woman to win the Abel prize, sometimes called the Nobel prize of mathematics. She has been awarded the 6 million Norwegian kroner ($700,000) prize for her work in the fields of gauge theory and geometric analysis, which have been credited with far-reaching impact in both mathematics and physics.

Uhlenbeck has always blazed a trail for women in mathematics. Her plenary lecture at the 1990’s International Congress of Mathematicians was the first delivered by a woman since Emmy Noether in 1932.

When she was awarded the American Mathematical Society’s Steele Prize for Seminal Contribution to Research in 2007, she blamed the culture of the mathematical community for the small number of women in leadership positions. In a self-deprecating summation of her award-winning work, she said “changing the culture is a momentous task in comparison to the other minor accomplishments I have mentioned”.

First awarded in 2003, the Abel Prize is presented by the King of Norway to a mathematician who has made extraordinary contributions to the field. Previous winners include Andrew Wiles for his proof of Fermat’s last theorem, and Nobel-prizewinning game theorist John Nash, who was made famous by the movie A Beautiful Mind. Read article at New Scientist