NEW PALTZ – Dr. Gerald Benjamin, associate vice president for regional engagement and director of the Benjamin Center for Public Policy Initiatives at SUNY New Paltz, has announced his plan to enter a phased retirement following a more than 50-year career at the college.
His retirement will take effect on June 30.
Effective February 14, Benjamin will step down as director of the Benjamin Center. During the spring months, he will support the transition to new leadership, complete several center projects and teach a course in state government.
Once retired, Benjamin will be affiliated with the center as a researcher and be available to reach courses periodically.
College President Dr. Donald Christian called Benjamin “the foremost scholar and expert on local and state government in New York and is held in high esteem by his faculty and administrative colleagues, state and local government officials, other scholars, and thousands of students who have taken his courses.”
Dr. KT Tobin, class of 1992, associate director of the Benjamin Center will success Benjamin as its director. She is currently responsible for designing, managing and producing center projects focused on regional issues and concerns.
Benjamin joined the New Paltz faculty as an associate professor of political science in 1968 and was appointed to his current post in 2008.
Benjamin’s career has included roles beyond academia. Formerly director of the Center for the New York State and Local Governments Study at SUNY’s Rockefeller Institute of Government in Albany while on leave from New Paltz from 1993 to 1995, he served as research director of the Temporary State Commission on Constitutional Revision appointed by then-Governor Mario Cuomo.
Prior to that he served as principal research advisor to a New York City Charter Revision Commission that achieved the most extensive structural changes in the city’s government in recent history.
From 2004 to 2006, he was appointed chairman of the Ulster County Charter Commission. The commission’s work resulted in approval by voters of the county’s first charter.
In 2007, Benjamin was appointed by then-Governor Eliot Spitzer to the State Commission on Local Government Efficiency and Competitiveness that in 2008 proposed reforms in local governments in the state.
Between 1981 and 1993, he was an elected member of the Ulster County Legislature serving as its chairman from 1991-1993.