NYCLU Executive Director Norman Siegel Steps Down to Run for Public Office

Affiliate: ACLU of New York
February 26, 2001 12:00 am

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NEW YORK–After more than 15 years as the high-profile Executive Director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, Norman Siegel announced today that he has resigned in order to run for Public Advocate of the City of New York.

During Siegel’s tenure, the NYCLU became the leading organization in the fight against police abuse. The NYCLU’s campaign for a more effective Civilian Complaint Review Board recently resulted in the Mayor’s agreement to adopt such a plan. Across the state, police forces are undertaking reform in areas of recruitment, training and discipline because of the efforts of the NYCLU.

“On behalf of the Board of Directors and staff of the NYCLU I want to say that we will miss you,” said NYCLU Board President Steven J. Hyman in a letter accepting Siegel’s resignation. “Because of your leadership during the past 15 and a half years, I believe that today the NYCLU is a stronger and more effective advocate in the defense of civil liberties across the state and in this city.”

Siegel was named Executive Director in 1985, when the organization was in troubled condition. Today, Hyman said, it is financially strong and has a growing and dedicated staff.

Donna Lieberman, who will act as Interim Executive Director pending the appointment of a new Executive Director, praised Siegel’s leadership and guidance. “The legacy Norman Siegel leaves behind ensures that the NYCLU will remain the pre-eminent defender of civil liberties in New York State.”

Under Siegel’s leadership, the NYCLU represented a wide variety of clients including Joyce Brown (Billy Boggs), the United Yellow Cab Drivers Association, Housing Works, the Latino Officers Association, the Ku Klux Klan and the “35 and older” NYPD candidates.

Throughout New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s Administration, Siegel led the NYCLU in its ongoing effort to prevent the systematic denial of First Amendment rights. Since 1994, the NYCLU has been involved in an unprecedented number of cases against the Guiliani Administration in which it has prevailed 23 out of 27 times, with one case is still to be decided.

The organization also filed friend-of-the-court briefs in major First Amendment cases including the Brooklyn Museum’s “Sensation” exhibit and free speech battles involving New York Magazine, Time Warner Cable, the Million Youth March, the Ancient Order of the Hibernians and the Transit Workers’ Union.

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