Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein, P.C. Mourns Loss of Thomas F. Hartnett

Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein, P.C. Mourns Loss of Thomas F. Hartnett

August 31, 2012
Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein, P.C. Mourns Loss of Thomas F. Hartnett
It is with great sadness that Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein, P.C. announces that Thomas F. Hartnett, Co-Chair of the firm’s Government Relations practice and a member of the firm’s Labor practice, passed away on August 28, 2012 at the age of 67.
“Tom waged a courageous battle against his illness with grace and dignity. He was a true professional in every sense of the word, and his friendship and wise counsel will be tremendously missed by our firm,” said Lois Carter Schlissel, Managing Attorney of Meyer Suozzi. “We have lost a colleague who was a brilliant attorney and a dedicated public servant.”

Harold Ickes, Co-Chair of the firm’s Labor and Government Relations practice groups, stated, “We have lost a wonderful and wise colleague, who, for many of us, was an extraordinary, loyal and discrete friend. Tom’s wide experience, his great good sense and judgment, his sensibilities, provided a long view and stability that are hard to come by. He will be greatly missed and long remembered. Our collective hearts go out to Nancy, Tom’s glue, to his sons and daughter, and to Nancy’s daughters.”

“As a friend and law partner of Tom for over two decades, I loved and admired him as a human being and professional “accomplisher,”” said Richard Winsten, Co-Chair of the firm’s Government Relations practice. “I marveled at his skill in bringing labor and management together for mutual benefit.”
Mr. Hartnett became Of Counsel to the firm in 1991. Prior to joining Meyer Suozzi, Mr. Hartnett was New York State’s Commissioner of Labor from 1987 until 1991, serving as the chief executive officer of the Department of Labor. He was Governor Mario M. Cuomo’s chief advisor on all labor issues.
While serving as New York State Commissioner of Labor, Mr. Hartnett reformed New York State child labor laws, restructured the Labor Department, increased the New York State Minimum Wage and Unemployment Insurance benefit and instituted the Governor’s Excelsior Awards program to recognize total quality management in the state.
Mr. Hartnett served as director of the Governor’s Office of Employee Relations from 1983 until 1987. As the state’s chief labor negotiator, he conducted collective negotiations with public employee unions representing over 200,000 state workers in twelve bargaining units. He negotiated health insurance benefits for more than 400,000 state and local government employees, introducing various innovations in cost containment. During his tenure, Mr. Hartnett designed and successfully negotiated implementation of the state’s first major restructuring of its health insurance program.
Mr. Hartnett held the position of Deputy Director for Contract Negotiations and Administration for the Office of Employee Relations and also served as permanent neutral arbitrator for the New York City Transit Authority and the Transport Workers’ Union. Before entering the government sector, he held management positions in personnel and labor relations for the New York Telephone Company, and was a union representative for the Communications Workers of America, AFL-CIO.
Born in the Bronx, Mr. Hartnett graduated from Fairleigh Dickinson University in 1972 and received his law degree from Seton Hall University in 1976.
He is survived by his wife Nancy Hodes and his three sons Jeffrey Hartnett (Seema Hartnett), Christopher Hartnett and Matthew Hartnett, his daughter Tricia Hartnett (Leon Spath) and stepdaughters Amanda Hodes and Liz Hodes. He is also survived by three granddaughters, Madelyn Spath, and Priya and Shayley Hartnett. Funeral services will be held on Saturday, September 1, 2012 at 11:00 a.m. at the Parish of Mater Christi, Albany, New York.
Founded in 1960 by the late John F. English, the firm of Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein, P.C. includes among its members Joseph A. Suozzi, former Appellate Division Justice; John V. N. Klein, former Suffolk County Executive; Basil A. Paterson, former New York Secretary of State; and Harold Ickes, former White House Deputy Chief of Staff.  Over the course of 50 years, the firm has earned a reputation for integrity, creativity and professionalism and has set a standard of excellence in the practice of law.  With offices in Albany, Garden City, Manhattan and Washington, D.C., the firm provides legal advice in diverse practice areas to individuals, institutions and corporations.

August 31, 2012

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