Friday, 06 July 2012 00:00
Since 2004, North Hempstead Town Attorney Richard Finkel has managed the town’s legal affairs, astutely representing the municipality in a variety of capacities from negotiating collective bargaining agreements to successfully suing Nassau County to repay more than $1 million in community college enrollment charge-backs.
Come July, however, Finkel, the town’s lead counsel and a fixture at every town board meeting, will be practicing in the private sector when he joins the Garden City offices of Bond, Schoeneck & King, PLLC as Senior Counsel. His practice will focus on labor and employment, municipal law, and land use and zoning.
“Richard Finkel is an individual with the strength of character, integrity, administrative ability and legal skill to command the respect and admiration of all who have worked with him in any professional capacity,” said Supervisor Jon Kaiman. “We in the Town of North Hempstead have been fortunate to have had him at the helm of our town attorney’s office for over eight years where he helped us navigate through difficult and challenging issues time and again. I am sure that he will have great success wherever he goes.”
During his eight-year tenure, Finkel has not only managed the day-to-day legal affairs of the Town, litigating land use and zoning cases, as well as negligence cases all the way up to the state’s highest court, but set precedent. Finkel was the originator of a case that ultimately prevented the county from imposing upon Town taxpayers $1.2 million in costs attributable to student enrollment at the Fashion Institute of Technology, much of it attributable to students enrolled in that school’s baccalaureate and masters degree programs.
Though town and city residents across Nassau County benefited from the decision, North Hempstead was the first and only municipality to take on the issue. The victory has inspired other townships and counties across the state to stand up against the imposition of these costs, and it is has been the driving force behind proposed legislative changes aimed at shielding town and city taxpayers from the imposition of these costs in the future.
“I really can’t think of another job where I could have been presented with such a variety of challenges or had the opportunity to assist in bringing about so much positive change,” Finkel said. “That’s what this administration has been all about, and I am happy I was able to contribute.”
Finkel holds a B.S. degree in Journalism from Syracuse University and a law degree from Hofstra University School of Law. He lives in New Hyde Park with wife Gabrielle, son Travis and daughter Camryn.
In addition to negotiating three collective bargaining agreements with the town’s unionized work force and mediating disputes between labor and management, he assisted in the pioneering re-implementation of flow control in the town. He also served on a solid waste procurement committee, which recommended a vendor that will save the town hundreds of thousands of dollars in waste disposal costs over the course of the contract.
Calling Finkel “a dedicated advocate for the Town,” Deputy Town Attorney Linda Zuech said, “his intelligence, wit and professionalism will be sorely missed.”