Former Yonkers IG launches city judge campaign

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Former Yonkers Inspector General Philip Zisman announced his campaign for Yonkers city judge yesterday.

Zisman, a Democrat, left his post in City Hall earlier this year after about 13 years and a yearlong effort by Mayor Phil Amicone to replace him. Yonkers’ current inspector general is Dan Schorr.

Here’s the text of Zisman’s announcement.

PHIL ZISMAN ANNOUNCES CAMPAIGN FOR YONKERS CITY COURT JUDGE

Zisman, the former Inspector General of Yonkers, pledges to bring integrity to the Courts.

Yonkers, New York – May 24, 2010. Phil Zisman, the former Inspector General for the City of Yonkers, announced today that he is running for Yonkers City Court Judge. Zisman, a Democrat, stated that his work as a trial lawyer, and his 18-years of service to the people of Yonkers as Inspector General, City Corporation Counsel and Deputy Corporation Counsel make him a highly qualified candidate for judge.

“As judge, I will bring a deep commitment to justice, and promise that everyone that comes before me will be treated with respect and afforded a fair hearing.” Zisman said. “I have dedicated myself to serving the people of Yonkers, and worked hard to foster integrity and accountability in government. I will bring this same commitment and dedication to the Court.”

Zisman was the City’s first Inspector General. He worked to bring accountability and transparency to both Yonkers City government and the Yonkers Public Schools. Some of his most important work documented abuse of overtime, the improper use of take-home vehicles and city gasoline, the cronyism of a former superintendent of schools, and cheating on standardized tests to inflate student test scores.

The Journal News described Zisman as having worked for more than a decade “on the side of taxpayers, helping to uncover financial waste and malfeasance” in City government and the School District.

Before establishing the Inspector General’s office, Zisman was the City’s

Corporation Counsel, and managed an office of 20 lawyers and support staff. He was responsible for all legal matters in City government. His areas of practice included land use and zoning, municipal taxation, personal injury, contracts, municipal law, civil service law, employment law, civil rights, and municipal finance.

Prior to his 18-year career in Yonkers, Zisman was a senior trial lawyer for the City of New York. He served as lead attorney in dozens of jury trials in both federal and state courts and also conducted many administrative hearings.

Mr. Zisman is currently an adjunct professor at John Jay College at West Point where he teaches public employment and constitutional law. He is also a member of the New York Bar Association’s Committee on Government Ethics. He has recently completed a chapter of a book to be published by the Bar Association entitled: Inspectors General in Small and Mid-sized Municipalities: A Practical Approach.

Mr. Zisman lives with his wife Emily, his daughters Olivia and Jane, and dog Violet, on the east side of Yonkers. He has been active in the YMCA of Yonkers and the Yonkers Jewish Council. He graduated magna cum laude from American University, Washington College of Law in 1986, where he was a member of the Law Review. He earned his BA, cum laude, from Rutgers University in 1978.

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