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N.Y. State Comptroller Alan Hevesi to Deliver UAlbany's Annual Burton Lecture

Contact: Michael Parker(518) 437-4980

ALBANY, N.Y. (May 12, 2003) --The Hon. Alan Hevesi, Comptroller, State of New York, will deliver the Nelson A. Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy's 19th annual John E. Burton Lecture on Thursday, May 13 at 4 p.m., Milne Hall, Room 200, on the University’s downtown campus. Hevesi was elected to Comptroller in 2002. As the chief fiscal officer, Hevesi is primarily responsible for governmental and financial oversight and pension fund management, as well as auditing the spending practices of the State, which includes 1,600 cities, counties, towns and villages across New York. Hevesi is also the sole trustee of the State and Local Retirement System, and as such is responsible for investing the $100 billion pension fund.

Before becoming State Comptroller, Hevesi served two terms beginning in 1993 as New York City Comptroller. Hevesi protected the city's drinking water through blocking a proposed sale of the city's water system and demanding substantial improvements in a $2.2 billion watershed agreement. He also monitored the agreement to ensure water purity, and is currently opposing a project that risks the city's key reservoir.
Also during Mr. Hevesi’s tenure, the city's pension funds grew from $49 billion to more than $80 billion; placing the funds among the top 25 percent in earnings and the bottom 25 percent in expenses.

Hevesi also spent 22 years in the State Assembly, where he authored 108 laws and established himself as a champion for affordable health care, education reform and the rights of people with disabilities. Hevesi was also a member of the Queens College faculty from 1967 through 1993, and later an adjunct professor at Fordham Law School and Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs.

After Hevesi's lecture, the following award recipients will be honored:

  • John A. Johnson, Commissioner, NYS office of Children & Family Services (School of Social Welfare Distinguished Public Service Awards
  • William F. Pelgrin, Director, NYS Cyber Security and Critical Infrastructure Coordination (School of Information Science & Policy Distinguished Public Service Awards)
  • Dennis Whalen, Executive Deputy Commissioner, NYS Department of Health (Nelson A. Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy Distinguished Public Service Award)
  • Lieutenant John F. Finn (posthumously) Albany Police Department (School of Criminal Justice Distinguished Public Service Award)

Johnson was appointed as the first Commissioner of the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) when the agency came into existence on January 8, 1998. Previously, Johnson served as director of the New York State Division for Youth. He has also served as executive director of the Office for University Preparatory Programs at the State University of New York at Buffalo and as special assistant for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), where he developed and assisted in the implementation of HUD's original Anti-Drug and Resident Initiatives Action Plans. As and educator at both the elementary and junior high school levels, and as former commissioner of Erie County Department of Youth Services, Johnson has a unique and special insight into children and youth issues and concerns. Johnson has volunteered on numerous boards of community organizations, including the United Negro College Fund, the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County, Erie County Community College Academy and the NYS Housing Trust Fund Board.

As Director of the New York State Office of Cyber Security and Critical Infrastructure Coordination (CSCIC), Pelgrin is responsible for leading and coordinating New York State's efforts regarding cyber and critical infrastructure readiness and resilience. Under Director Pelgrin’s leadership, the CSCIC has established a 7x24 Cyber Security Center; deployed intrusion detection architecture for critical segments of the State’s network and computing infrastructure; conducted risk assessments for State agencies; and released three statewide cyber security polices on cyber alert level protocols, incident reporting and baseline cyber security requirements. CSCIC is responsible for leading and coordinating geographic information technologies, and is the GIS single point-of-contact in State-declared emergencies. As part of his duties, Pelgrin also chairs the New York State Public/Private Sector Cyber Security Workgroup, which is charged with helping to ensure New York's cyber readiness, including developing standards of preparedness and methods to inventory and assess critical infrastructure assets contained within industry sectors. Pelgrin has more than twenty years of experience in New York State government, holding a variety of executive leadership positions in a number of agencies.

Whalen was appointed Executive Deputy Commissioner for the State Department of Health on November 13, 1996. In his position as the State’s top deputy for health, he oversees the Department’s entire range of programmatic and operational functions. From November 1998 to June 1999 he also served as the Acting State Health Commissioner. Whalen previously served the Department of Health as the Director of the Office of Health Systems Management, and the Executive Deputy Director of the AIDS Institute. He also served in several policymaking positions at the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, including Deputy Commissioner for Program Services.

The Burton Lecture is named for John E. Burton, who served as New York’s budget director under Governor Thomas E. Dewey from 1943 to 1950. Burton, who was credited with modernizing the state’s budget process, was a key member of the special committee that recommended the creation of the State University of New York System. He also chaired the committee that created the first public administration degree-granting program at UAlbany. Sponsors are UAlbany’s Nelson A. Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy and the schools of Criminal Justice, Information Science & Policy and Social Welfare.

Ranked among the top-10 Public Affairs programs in the nation, the Nelson A. Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy's core mission is to discover, communicate, and apply knowledge about politics, governance, public policy, and public management. The college directly helps public managers, policymakers, and others deal effectively with the challenges they face, making democracy stronger and governments more effective around the world.


The University at Albany's broad mission of excellence in undergraduate and graduate education, research and public service engages 17,000 diverse students in nine degree-granting schools and colleges. For more information about this internationally ranked institution, visit <www.albany.edu>. For UAlbany's extensive roster of faculty experts, visit www.albany.edu/news/experts.htm.