John Feerick Resigns from Commission on Public Integrity
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 12, 2009
ALBANY — John Feerick has informed Governor Paterson that he is resigning as Chair of the Commission on Public Integrity effective February 12. Mr. Feerick said, “It is very difficult for me to make this decision but my health and energy have declined and I no longer believe that I can give my responsibilities the attention they require.”
Mr. Feerick, the former Dean of Fordham Law School, is a professor at Fordham Law School and founding director of the Feerick Center for Social Justice, the naming of which was a major academic initiative of the law school in its 100th anniversary year in 2005–06. He expects to continue teaching at Fordham Law and devoting himself to its Center on Social Justice, which contributes to the public interest, most especially the economically disadvantaged.
“It has been a special privilege for me to come to know the men and women of the Commission's staff and to serve with the Commission members, who give enormous uncompensated volunteer time to the people of the State. I feel proud of all that has been accomplished by the Commission in its many areas of responsibility, as reflected in its reports and daily work, and how it has done its work in a dispassionate and non-partisan manner,” Feerick said.
Mr. Feerick was appointed to chair the New York State Ethics Commission on April 16, 2007. He went on to become the first chair of the Commission on Public Integrity when it began on September 22, 2007 by merging the Ethics Commission and the New York Temporary State Commission on Lobbying.
Commissioner James P. King, who chaired the lobbying commission at the time of the merger and who has served on the Commission on Public Integrity since its inception, praised Mr. Feerick's leadership. “Before I ever met John, I admired him for his outstanding work as head of the Commission on Government Integrity in the 1980s. The independence and integrity that he demonstrated then led many to call him 'the gold standard' in matters of government oversight. He now has an even firmer hold on that title.”
Commissioner King also said, “In addition, John's personal commitment to staff members and commissioners alike helped to forge the two Commissions quickly into a unified and effective monitor of Albany government. He was the perfect person to bring this about.”
Commissioner John T. Mitchell said, “John Feerick has led the most non-partisan organization I have ever served on or seen, and the people of New York benefitted from that during the tumultuous Troopergate investigation. I know, because I was one of the members of the working group that worked closely with Commission staff on that investigation. John Feerick has an uncompromising allegiance to fairness and truth, to determining all of the relevant facts and applying the law without fear or favor. I cherish his friendship and I will miss him greatly.”
Commissioner Loretta E. Lynch, said, “John Feerick is the consummate public servant, dedicated to doing the right thing without regard to public pressure or efforts to derail him. His commitment is and always has been to the public good, rather than personal promotion. He led this new Commission with laser like focus, dignity, and an unfailing grace under pressure. An inspiration to all of us on the Commission, we are all the better for having served with him.”
Rev. Joseph M. McShane, S.J., President of Fordham University, said, “John is rightly recognized as the most honest and upright man in the state. We were not surprised that he was selected to head the Commission and neither are we surprised that he served it with such distinction and devotion for the last 20 months. We know, therefore, that he has fulfilled the mandate he received from the Governor and we are honored and delighted that he is coming home.”
Mr. Feerick has been recognized for his extensive work in the field of ethics reform, receiving honors and recognitions from various groups, including Common Cause, The League of Women Voters, New York Lawyers for Public Interest, Citizens Union and the Federal Bar Council. His contributions to the legal profession have been recognized with the highest awards from the New York State Bar Association, the Association of the Bar of the City of New York (of which Mr. Feerick is a past President), and the New York County Lawyers' Association.
Mr. Feerick has worked on a volunteer basis to serve ordinary citizens and government throughout his long professional career. He chaired the New York State Commission to Promote Public Confidence in Judicial Elections and served as a court-appointed Judicial Referee in the case of Campaign for Fiscal Equity v. New York State. From 1987 to 1990, he chaired the State Commission on Government Integrity that helped with the adoption of the 1987 Ethics in Government Act. Mr. Feerick played a key role on behalf of the American Bar Association with respect to the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which was adopted in 1967. Mr. Feerick and former U.S. Attorney General Herbert Brownell jointly received a special commendation from the ABA for their roles in the amendment's adoption. Mr. Feerick played an important role on the Judicial Elections Commission, many of whose recommendations are now part of the law of New York State. He served as one of three court-appointed special masters in New York City whose work on family homelessness from 2003-05 resulted in a major reform of the entire system and contributed significantly to the recently announced settlement of long-standing, complex litigation between New York City and the Legal Aid Society.
Mr. Feerick received his B.S. from Fordham College and his J.D. from Fordham Law School.
The others on the thirteen-member Commission on Public Integrity are: Daniel R. Alonso, former Chief of the Criminal Division in the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York; Virginia M. Apuzzo, who was Assistant to President Clinton for Management and Administration; John M. Brickman, former Executive Director of the New York City Board of Correction; Andrew G. Celli, Jr., former Chief of the Civil Rights Bureau in the Office of the New York State Attorney General and a member of the Lobbying Commission; Richard D. Emery, who also serves as a member of the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct; Daniel J. French, former United States Attorney for the Northern District of New York; Robert J. Giuffra, Jr., who served on the Ethics Commission and as a law clerk for the Chief Justice of the United States; David L. Gruenberg, formerly counsel to New York State Senators Joseph Bruno and Roy Goodman and Senior Counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee; Hon. James P. King, a former New York State Court of Claims Judge, Judge Advocate General of the United States Marines, member of the New York State Assembly and General Counsel to the New York Department of State; Hon. Howard A. Levine, a former Court of Appeals Judge; Loretta E. Lynch, former United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; and John T. Mitchell, former President of the Albany County Bar Association.
The text of Mr. Feerick's letter is attached.