Syracuse, NY – Kristen Smith is stepping down as Syracuse’s top lawyer and will be replaced by an attorney with three decades of practice in public finance, economic development incentives, municipal law and bankruptcy law.
Mayor Ben Walsh announced Monday that Smith is leaving city government after four years as a corporation attorney and will return to private practice.
He named Susan Katzoff, a member of the Syracuse Bousquet Holstein law firm, to replace Smith. Katzoff has served since 2007 as an external adviser to the Syracuse Industrial Development Agency, the city agency that provides tax breaks and other incentives for city economic development projects.
Katzoff received her law degree from St. John’s University School of Law in 1991. She has represented several public and quasi-public entities and municipalities, including industrial development agencies, local development corporations and authorities ports in public finance transactions across New York.
“Sue Katzoff is widely respected in Syracuse and throughout New York State for her expertise in local government and economic development,” Walsh said in a statement. “Our residents and the city government will be well served by Sue. She brings the passion for our city and the abilities to perform the duties of a corporate lawyer.
Katzoff will lead the law department, which handles litigation, legislative drafting, contracts, real estate transactions, collections and other legal matters for the city. She will receive a salary of $108,000.
Walsh said Katzoff would maintain an “attorney” affiliation with Bousquet Holstein. “Of counsel” is a term used by law firms to describe lawyers who are not active members of the firm but are available for occasional consultation.
Walsh said Smith was returning to Bond Schoeneck & King, the Syracuse-based firm where she was a partner before joining his administration. Smith took over from Frank Price when he resigned as a corporate lawyer in 2018, just a month and a half after taking office.
“While I am sad to see her go, I am grateful to Kristen for the time she spent serving the people of Syracuse and for the many contributions she made to our community during her tenure,” said Mayor Walsh.
Walsh said Smith implemented significant staffing, organizational and performance improvements to the city’s Legal Department and improved the responsiveness and efficiency of Freedom Act requests. of information.
He said she also played a key role in strengthening the city’s approach to housing protection and code enforcement and led the Legal Department’s enactment of the ordinance. reduction in the city’s lead. During his tenure, the city seized the former Syracuse Development Center property on the West Side for unpaid taxes.
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