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May 15th, 2008

Patterson Nominates Galen D. Kirkland as Human Rights Commissioner



Governor Paterson nominates Galen D. Kirkland as Commissioner of the Division of Human Rights.

Governor David A. Paterson today announced he has nominated Galen D. Kirkland to become the Commissioner of the Division of Human Rights. The Governor also appointed Luis Burgos, Jr., as the First Deputy Commissioner of the Division.

“Galen Kirkland has a strong history of service in New York State,” said Governor Paterson. “In this position, he will continue to be a vital advocate for those in need of a powerful voice. Luis Burgos also comes to the Division of Human Rights with a wealth of invaluable experience. I look forward to working closely with both of them to ensure that every New Yorker has an equal opportunity to enjoy a full and productive life.”

Mr. Kirkland is currently the Assistant Attorney General, Civil Rights Bureau at the New York State Office of the Attorney General (OAG). For two years before his current job, Kirkland served as the Director of Program Development at the OAG. From 1999 to 2005 he served as the First Deputy Director of Policy Development at the OAG. Prior to working at the OAG, Mr. Kirkland was the Executive Director of Advocates for Children of New York, overseeing educational advocacy programs on behalf of students in the New York City public schools. During this time, he also served as a board member of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity and chaired the Committee for Students of African Descent. In addition, Mr. Kirkland has been the Director of Political Development at the Community Service Society of New York.

From 1989 to 1990 Mr. Kirkland was the Executive Director of the New York City Civil Rights Coalition, a multiracial coalition of civil rights, religious, and community organizations, where he formulated responses to bias-related violence and organized multiracial coalitions in certain neighborhoods. He was also appointed by Mayor Dinkins to the New York City Rent Guidelines Board, serving for four years. From 1978 to 1988, Mr. Kirkland worked in Harlem as the Vice President and General Counsel of the West Harlem Community Organization, Inc., where he developed low-income housing and promoted economic development. During this time, Mr. Kirkland served as the President of the Association for Neighborhood Housing Developers, as President of the Task Force on City-Owned Property, and as a member of the Board of Directors of Community Training and Resource Center. Immediately following his graduation from law school, Mr. Kirkland was an associate at Cowan, Liebowitz and Latman in New York City.

Mr. Kirkland serves on the Board of Trustees of Chess in the Schools and on the Board of Directors of Palladia, Inc. Kirkland also founded and serves on the Board of the Harlem Council of Elders.

Mr. Kirkland received his BA from Dartmouth College and his JD from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

As Commissioner of the Division of Human Rights, Mr. Kirkland’s salary is set at $109,800. This appointment requires Senate confirmation.

Mr. Burgos is currently a Deputy Commissioner with the New York City Department of Correction (NYCDOC), where he focuses on equal employment opportunity issues, and assists in the development of training for supervisors, managers and personnel. During his tenure at NYCDOC he developed a computerized case management system to create efficiency and accountability, and decreased the caseload by approximately seventy (70) percent. Prior to joining the NYCDOC, Mr. Burgos was employed by the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) from 1986 to 1994 in various positions. He served as the Chief Administrator of the Impartial Hearing Office for the NYCHA from 1993 to 1994, and created the office’s Procedure Manual for attorneys and hearing officers and increased the number of scheduled hearings. Mr. Burgos also served as the Director of the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity from 1990 to 1993, and as Deputy Inspector General from 1986 to 1990. He assisted in rebuilding the Inspector General’s Office and was part of the team that created an Investigative Manual for staff on the procedures and protocols to conduct investigations. Mr. Burgos was also an Assistant District Attorney in the Queens County District Attorney’s Office.

Mr. Burgos received his BBA from Pace University and his JD from Columbia Law School, where he was the Staff Editor of the Columbia Human Rights Law Review. Mr. Burgos is a Colonel in the United States Army Reserve.

As First Deputy Commissioner, Mr. Burgos will receive a salary of $146,000. This appointment does not require Senate confirmation.

2 / 5 (1 Votes)

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Reader Response
  • Nelson Armstrong
  • May 22nd, 2008 Question: Why does the First Deputy Commissioner have a salary so much higher than the Commissioner?

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