Dec. 4, 2008

Peter J. Kiernan '68 appointed counsel to NY governor

New York Gov. David A. Paterson has appointed Cornell Law School alumnus Peter J. Kiernan '68 to serve as counsel to the governor.

The governor cited Kiernan's "breadth of experience and sage advice" among the qualifications he brings to the post.

"Mr. Kiernan's wide experience in public financial matters will prove helpful in advising the governor during the present difficult economic climate in New York state," said Stewart J. Schwab, the Allan R. Tessler Dean of Cornell Law School.

As chief counsel, Kiernan becomes a top adviser to Paterson and one of the most powerful figures in the executive chamber, which faces an unprecedented budget deficit this year. The counsel's office plays a critical role in the executive branch of New York state government, vetting potential bills, among other duties.

During the New York City fiscal crisis of the mid-1970s, Kiernan served as counsel to the deputy mayor for finance of the City of New York. During this time Kiernan authored what is known as the Shinn Committee Pension Reform legislation, which completely restructured New York City's five actuarially funded pension systems.

In 1978, Kiernan was appointed chief counsel to the New York State Senate Minority. Later, as a Littauer fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, he wrote an analysis of the New York City fiscal crisis, which was published by Harvard.

In 1984, Kiernan was retained by the administration of then-governor Mario Cuomo to coordinate the proposed Westway State Park Project. In 2003, he authored the Report of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York on the New York City Charter Revision Commission and its controversial proposal to eliminate partisan elections in New York City. Most recently he worked in the public-finance department of the law firm Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge LLP.

In addition to his Cornell law degree, Kiernan is a graduate of John Carroll University and the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. He is currently a student at Cornell's Johnson School, expecting to graduate with his MBA in 2009.

This story is adapted from an article on the Cornell Law School news site.