5 December 2000

Mr. Thomas F. Egan, Chairman
Board of Trustees
State University of New York
Central Administration
State University Plaza
Albany, New York 12246

DearMr. Egan:

The University Trustees have been hearing from Terry O'Neill, an Albany attorney with long experience in criminal justice policy making in New York. I am writing to introduce him in the capacity in which I have known him. Mr. O'Neill has been my Counsel for the past three years. I have known him since I hired him out of law school in 1984. I took a chance on him then and have never regretted having done so.

In 1986 Mr. O'Neill left my employ to serve in New York state government in a variety of increasingly challenging capacities in the field of criminal justice. For years, he was on the cutting edge of New York's response to issues of police misconduct, municipal liability, the crack epidemic, drug trafficking and police/community relations. It was typical of his hands-on approach to problem-solving that he worked for two years in the field to normalize relations between the Mohawk Indian Tribe and the State Police after a period of communal conflict. He is a very bright and insightful individual who brings initiative, drive and focus to every project he undertakes. He was a key player in the 1993 campaign to create the Gray Rider monument at the State Police Academy. His communication and public relations skills are second to none. I have encountered no one with so broad an experience in the workings of state government. Mr. O'Neill is also internationally networked with top law enforcement officials, academics and crime victim advocates and has worked very effectively with our Legislative Black and Hispanic Caucus on issues of concern to our community.

Mr. O'Neill's knowledge of the legislative process combined with his eye for a timely idea and excellent team-building skills has made him the driving force in numerous successful campaigns to win passage of new laws improving police training, standards and service, protecting children and the elderly from crime, enhancing security on college campuses and raising significant new resources for public safety. At his urging, I sponsored New York's landmark Spinal Cord Injury Research Board legislation of 1998. Mr. O'Neill's personal efforts in steering the bill through the Legislature led to the extraordinary result of having this legislation -- adding $8.5 million a year for research leading to a cure for paralysis -- become law a mere four months after it was introduced. I consider it the crowning achievement of my three decades in public office.

I am aware of and endorse the proposal he has placed before the Chancellor and the Trustees. In my experience, he is the man to make this happen for SUNY if you give him a chance to do it.

Assistant Speaker
New York State Assembly

tyger jumping through hoop

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