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January 26, 2011

PUBLIC EMPLOYMENT RELATIONS BOARD CHAIR JEROME LEFKOWITZ RECEIVES STATE BAR'S EXCELLENCE IN PUBLIC SERVICE AWARD

Lefkowitz honored for exemplary 52-year legal career including drafting Taylor Law

NEW YORK-Jerome Lefkowitz of Albany, chair of the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB), was honored with the Excellence in Public Service Award from the New York State Bar Association on January 25 during its Annual Meeting at the Hilton New York in Manhattan. The award, sponsored by the State Bar's Committee on Attorneys in Public Service, recognizes individuals in government who demonstrate a "higher calling" through an extraordinary commitment to service, honor and integrity in the public sector. Lefkowitz is one of three individuals receiving the award.

 The committee honored Lefkowitz for his extraordinary 52-year legal career and his lasting legacy that includes his work on drafting the landmark Taylor Law that granted public employees the right to collective bargaining in 1967. He has served as PERB chair since 2007. Today, PERB administers both public and private collective bargaining laws.

"This year's recipients of the Excellence in Public Service Awards have each contributed to advancing the public interest of New Yorkers in different and important ways. Jerome Lefkowitz forever transformed New York's labor landscape by helping write the Taylor Law giving public employees the right to collectively bargain with management," said State Bar President Stephen P. Younger of New York (Patterson, Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP). "The State Bar is proud to recognize all the recipients for their outstanding work. I congratulate Jerome Lefkowitz for receiving this award."

"From his early years working on labor law matters in the private sector to his current outstanding service as chair of the Public Employment Relations Board, Jerome Lefkowitz has had a tremendous impact on the rights of working New Yorkers. Throughout his five decades of public service, he has made many valuable contributions that have greatly benefited both New York taxpayers and employees," said Committee Chair Hon. Peter S. Loomis of Albany (Retired, New York State Department of Transportation). "We are delighted to recognize his exemplary legal career and effectiveness as a public service leader."

A graduate of New York University and Columbia School of Law, Lefkowitz began his career in 1958 as an assistant attorney general, primarily handling private sector labor law appeals. He next served as counsel to the New York State Department of Labor, and later as its Deputy Industrial Commissioner. In those positions, he helped draft various amendments to New York's private sector collective bargaining law and handled other legal issues involving the private sector. It was during this time that Lefkowitz had a lead role in drafting the Taylor Law.

Following enactment of the Taylor Law, Lefkowitz served as deputy chairman to the Public Employment Relations Board for 20 years, where he drafted agency decisions resolving public sector disputes. In 1987, he became deputy counsel to the Civil Service Employees Association, a position he also held for 20 years.

Other recipients of the 2011 Excellence in Public Service Award are Hon. Norman Goodman of New York, county clerk of New York County, and Frederick P. Schaffer of New York, general counsel and senior vice chancellor for legal affairs at the City University of New York.

Founded in 1876, the 77,000-member New York State Bar Association is the official statewide organization of lawyers in New York and the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. The State Bar's programs and activities have continuously served the public and improved the justice system for 135 years.

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