Saturday, February 6, 2010

Jeffrey R. Fenster Picked By Gov. Patterson for NY State Workers' Compensation Board

During the first week of January New York Gov. David A. Paterson (who as I write, internet rumor has it, is about to be the subject of a major sex scandal)--appointed one, Jeffrey R. Fenster, a 29 year old lawyer as the Workers' Compensation board’s Executive Director, the agency’s highest-paid official and the person charged with running the daily operations of New York's Workers' Compensation system. Director Fenster worked briefly as a litigation associate (entry level) at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan in Manhattan, but who has no management or workers’ compensation experience.

Mr. Fenster's appointment left many who work in the workers' compensation system stupified.   This according to the New York Times article on the gubernatorial selection.  Uh, like no kidding! 

How embarassing for Mr. Fenster, it's almost like getting an Alaskan Judgeship through Todd Palin, not that that would ever happen.
In my years as a lawyer I had many opportunities to wonder about what a late-friend in the business called the "lucky sperm" club his witty synonym for cronyism.   For some reason, the state bureaucracies were overrun with people who had no apparent qualification for the positions they held in the state systems.   Often a lucky few would turn out to be pretty bright and decent, while others would prove to be purely evil dolts. 

David Patterson, who became Governor in the wake of  former Governor Elliot Spitzer's prostitution scandal, was himself a product of New York's crony system.  Patterson's father was a famous Harlem power broker--unfortunately for New Yorkers Governor Patterson has proven spectacularly inept.  The appointment of a 29 year old, entry level lawyer to a high paid and powerful job administering the State of New York's workers'' compesnation system is an absurd and offensive abuse of power by Patterson. 

When the Blonde Super Lawyer first opened her law firm devoted to defending Employers in workers' compensaton matters, she and her partner hired a young law student who was the son of one of the long time "connected" workers' compensaton lawyers in OurState.  After he graduated from law school he politely declined a job offer and became an executive level administrator in OurState workeer's compensation system.  Within a matter of a couple of years the former legal intern knew far more than many of us who had been laboring away at the daily grind for years--I suppose this legal dynamo developed his expertise from the all the brain waves that ebbed and flowed around him.  It proved to me that you really don't have to represent someone with a vested interest in a legal outcome to develop far more valuable legal insight just from breathing the air in OurState capitol.

1 comment:

  1. Hello,
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